I don't usually post about media-saturated stories. With a crowd of voices shouting out about the Don Imus affair, I am sure that there are others who probably will have made my points before and with greater skill, but I feel like indulging myself.
Assistant Village Idiot is one of the blogs that I read regularly. He posts intelligently about a wide range of topics and usually has some interesting things to say. However, I was disappointed by his post about the Don Imus affair and the weak defense along the lines of "Oh, Imus is just like that. It was just a joke."
Others have come to Imus' defense in the same roundabout way. They usually express the obligatory "that was a bad thing to say" but then proceed to rationalize the behavior, or at least minimize the prospect of serious consequences as a result of Imus' comments. Kathleen Parker's column is simply ridiculous about the subject. She admits that the comments were "repugnant, repulsive and horrible," as Imus has stated, and also racist; and yet, thinks that we should give him another shot.
Even worse, her column on the subject, Don Imus and The Via Dolorosa, compares his trials, indirectly, to Christ's. She mentions Imus' stations of the cross and giving him a shot at resurrection. Please, I could not think of a more inappropriate comparison. Somehow I can't imagine Jesus referring to his female followers as nappy headed 'hos. Whereas Jesus was innocent, Imus can hardly be seen in the same light.
The column focuses mainly on the racial aspects of the comments, but remains silent on the sexism expressed by the comments. If the players weren't black, and he had simply called them "'hos" that would have been just as bad. Women are not "'hos." Isn't it enough that we have to hear uneducated men refer to us in such a disrespectful way when walking past construction sites or hearing it blasted through car speakers as the latest rapper resorts to degrading women? Must we really pay someone a lot of money to voice such crude phrases and give them the technology to voice it across the entire country? At least if some idiot shouts it at you with his buddies hanging around thinking it's funny, it ends there. You don't have to hear it replayed across the news. The whole world doesn't have to take part in your attempted humiliation. (I say attempted, because we should not let the ignorance of other people shame us when they are the ones that should be shamed. )
What has left me spinning is one simple question. Why is anyone defending this guy? Is he really worthy of a defense? (OK...that's actually two questions)
The answer is absolutely not.
Words have power. They are a two-edged sword that can come back to cut you if you do not use them carefully and with the respect they deserve. If you are going to use them, then you should be willing to accept the responsibilities that come with them. Simply apologizing and prostrating yourself before the country in an attempt to save your job is not good enough. I highly doubt that Imus would have ever apologized if his remarks had gone unnoticed. His apology smacks of insincerity, fear of losing his job, and nothing more.
Stop defending him. The more contortions people make to excuse this behavior, the more offensive it becomes. Imus got himself into this mess with his own words; it is up to him clean it up.