02 May 2007


I suspect that many of my readers are too genteel to have followed the media feeding frenzy over Don Imus getting called out for a racist, sexist slur and consequently losing his job.

I didn't blog it earlier because I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said. It was a spiteful little slur, and it is right that CBS took away the man's big microphone. Though they're a little late—it surfaces as a result of the news that Imus was always a creep. I hope his comeuppance is a lesson to the many other white guys in media playing the same game, though I'm not holding my breath.

But I find that while I don't have much to say, I have a couple of interesting things to link.

Pericles reflects on how Imus can claim that his comments weren't racist.

Never be surprised when old white guys seem to have some incredibly strange definition of racist. To them, the word means someone who wants to take action to harm people of another race, for no reason other than race. If you call them racists, that's what they think you're accusing them of. And they'll be outraged, because they've never lynched anybody. They don't even consciously wish blacks harm.

Not even the nappy-headed ho's. What outrages Imus is that he knows he doesn't hate the Rutgers women's basketball team. How, he wonders, could anyone think that he does? He doesn't even know them.

And he doesn't hate people he doesn't know, just because of their skin color. That would be disgusting, he thinks. That would be racist.

And comedy writer John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey does some subtle analysis of how “humourous” comments like Imus' work, and why this one certainly wasn't funny.
Humorists don't use jokes to establish power. We use jokes to steal power. We use jokes to steal power from the audience. We use jokes to steal power from smarter, better looking people. We use jokes to steal power from powerful men and women, politicians and celebrities.

The power relationship is why you need to be self-effacing—if you're not in a power negative position, you're kind of breaking the contract.
The guy's been a frikkin' cretin for years, and this was really not that different objectively
Anyway, why this comment and why now?

For all these years, Imus stayed, barely, on the right side of the power equation. Always gone after public figures, or his bosses ...

... but then he screwed up. He didn't steal power, he used it. Used it to say just shitty things about people who, in our minds, just didn't deserve it.

He broke the power equation.

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