Monday, April 09, 2007

Imus reveals deeper problem

The outrage over Dom Imus is misplaced. It's no surprise the aging "shock jock" said something off color. Imus' entire career is based on his own stupidity. He's a boorish loser who couldn't hold down a job, then stumbled into radio, almost by default, and found an audience who enjoyed listening to him make an ass of himself. He got on the air and proceeded to see if he could get fired. Everything escalated from there.

Don Imus probably isn't very sincere in his apology. There is a hint of indignation in his explanation when he mentions that there are some groups who can't be made fun of. The implication is that the people who are angry simply can't take a joke. Sadly what isn't resonating with Imus is the fact that he is not funny. He really hasn't been all that funny since he decided to hijack Howard Stern's career after Stern essentially bitch slapped him in the ratings.

It's not even outrageous that Imus hasn't been fired yet. Granted, plenty of people have been shown the door for much less offensive comments, but Imus has been encouraged to push those buttons all along. Nobody called him to the carpet when he was reported as using the dreaded "N" word behind the scenes during 60 Minutes interview. Imus and his cohorts have a long history of making inexcusable comments on the air.

The outrage is that he has an audience. The problem is not that Don Imus is a racist piece of redneck garbage or that he has a cadre of cackling Klansmen inserting insightful commentary into the morning drive. Don Imus has a constitutional right to be a jerk. We all do. It's just sad when people get paid for it.

The reason he has a national radio program is because there are people who happily listen to his show. They love the racist remarks. Howard Stern has an audience that enjoys crude humor and juvenile antics; Don Imus has an audience that appreciates anger and hate.

Imus might think that he turns everything he says into a joke by laughing afterwards, but when you laugh after saying something mean you're just being cruel. Imus appeals to a cruel audience. There's a big difference between being crude and being cruel. Don Imus illustrates what happens when a burned out old drunk tries to distinguish between the two. Howard Stern's mastery of this fine line is why he can buy and sell a clod like Imus.

That's what people should be upset over. Ignorance is a part of daily life. Stupid people are everywhere. We shouldn't be shocked when a couple of bigots get together to share their racial views. What should shock us is that enough people agree with those views to keep a hack like Imus on the air. People like Don Imus should be cleaning out port-a-potties all the while complaining that Zionist conspiracies are the reason they smell like feces. He should be sitting at the corner of a broken down bar with blue hands drinking Natty Lite muttering to himself, not hosting a syndicating radio program.

Don Imus is a jerk. That's not a crime. The fact that a moron like Imus is in the position to cause such a fuss isn't the crime…The fact that Imus is a profitable business venture is. Shame on the people who listen to him.

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