The Don Imus Firestorm

Thursday, April 12, 2007 1:59 AM

It looks like they have knocked Don Imus off his perch, at least on cable TV. All of a sudden, the president of MSNBC wakes up and is shocked, shocked at what Imus has been saying over the public airways on his moring television show. Have not the executives in charge at MSNBC been watching or listening to the Imus show over these many years? Of course they have. Someone should ask  MSNBC why it constructed such a flashy set for the program not long ago. I must confess thinking at the time that the new set was way too fancy for the down-to-earth Imus, too hi-tech, too out-of-character. Yet, Imus did not miss a beat, did not seem out of place. The show took off.

The eclectic guest list of politicians, journalists and assorted celebrities was amazing, almost as amazing as the insults Imus dished out to them--before, during and after their interviews. Why did they take it? Because they knew his remarks were not to be taken seriously, that it was part of the act, part of the show. Moreover, it was refreshing both for them and for the audience to see a grown man making outrageous observations, saying in fact whatever he damn well pleased in public. No doubt the fact that often his observations were right on the money had something to do with it. Now thanks in part to political correctness, we have lost all that.

Of course Imus' juvenile comments about the girl basketball players were stupid, pointless and in poor taste. But those remarks were not made with the intent to hurt anybody's feelings, and were not malicious. This was idiotic locker room humor, among good old boys, acting stupid, which is how men act in a locker room atmosphere. I realize that the show is not a locker room, but the subject matter was sports and Imus is a good old country boy, although he is no longer a boozer.

Besides, he has been making inappropriate comments of one kind or another forever, with no problem. Indeed, this was one of the prime reasons for his success. People found it entertaining. Otherwise, Imus would not have achieved what he achieved. Am I making excuses for him and his boorish remarks? Yes, I am. Like his many important guests, who gave him a pass, I give him a pass. If they can do it, and keep coming back for more, I can do it, too.

Remember, I'm not as smart as they are. For one thing, living in the sheltered world that I do, I had never encountered the word "ho" or "hos". Unlike Imus, I am unfamiliar with rap music and with so-called popular culture. I avoid them. If I hear hip-hop music blaring from the car next to me, while at a stop light, I immediately roll up the window so that my sheltered world is not contaminated. I had to look the word "hos" up in a slang online dictionary to know what the hell Imus was talking about.

Then there was the word "nappy". Again, I'm out of it. I am positive that I have never used that word in conversation or in print. I do not know what precisely "nappy" means. Nor do I care. The issue is, should Imus have been fired for making some stupid, off-the-cuff remarks? The answer is no. His boss could have called him on the carpet and castigated him for being a jackass. Imus could have apologized to the basketball team, donated a hundred thousand dollars to the college in question, and flown commercial for a year instead of chartering a private jet. The idea of being hounded out of an important job by a couple of mountebanks like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton is grotesque. Corporate America, represented by Imus' advertisers, could not take the heat, and bailed out. Political correctness and homogeneity prevail.