Imus - Your thoughts

I was kinda surprised that no one has brought this topic up yet. What are your thoughts on the whole Imus incident? Personally, I think its crap.

In case you haven't heard, on his morning show Imus referred to the Rutger's womens basketball team as "nappy headed hos". He said it as a joke. Granted, it was poor taste, but he meant it as a joke none the less. Even if he didn't mean it as a what?

One of the greatest things about this country (if not THE greatest) is the right to free speech. Not "free speech as long as nobody is offended", but free speech. I also find it particularly amusing that Reverend Jesse "Himeytown" Jackson is one of the leaders of the charge against Imus. A great patriot once said "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it!". That's what its all about, to me.

It seems to me that as a society we now determine whether or not words are offensive by who says them, not the words themselves. I once remember a Chris Rock show where he was joking about how many blacks believe the media falsely portrays them as gangsters, to which Chris Rock commented "Its not the media! When I go to the ATM, I'm not lookin over my shoulder for Ted Koppel....I'm checkin' for n****s!" And 1000's of black audience members were howling with laughter at that. I remember laughing out of shock and thinking...Good Lord! If a white comic said that, he'd be crucified. Just like I couldn't imagine a movie being made with say Will Farrell and Adam Sandler putting on blackface and wigs and pretending to be black women and covering all the stereotypes of black women. But White Chicks was a movie. I dont recall Jesse or Al Sharpton picketing that one. I actually didn't see the whole movie but have seen pieces of it, and I thought it was pretty funny.

Words either offend you, or they don't, regardless of who said them. And even if they do offend you, so what? Don't listen to that person. In the case of Imus, if you don't like what he said, turn the channel. But he, and all of us, have the right to free speech. I don't agree with everything Farakahn says (although I do with a lot of it), but I'm not going to start a protest to shut down the Nation of Islam because I don't like what he says. Its his right to do so.

I dunno. I just cant believe that this country is so out of whack that because someone said something that others didnt like (at least, didnt like coming out of the mouth of some old white guy) that he now lost his TV show, has been suspended from radio for 2 weeks and may lose his radio show all together as well.

ROzbeans 17 years ago
Yeah that surprised me. Not what he said, I mean seriously who the fuck cares, but from being suspended for 2 weeks - and then fired. Granted even he said being suspended was a slap on the wrist - I guess someone from MNBC was listening =x

I don't even know who Imus is. He's been on the air for 30 years, all my life, and I had no fucking clue who the red neck with farrah facett hair was on the Today show earlier this week. I think Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are lighting fires, dividing the nation instead of bringing people together. I think the world has no use for men like that - or George Bush but we're not talking about that right now.

If I had been one of the lady basketball players, I would've jokingly replied with an off color white joke and then call it good. It's not fair that Chris Rock can yell NIGGER and not get his teeth kicked in when my husband, who is married to a mixed girl and has a black father in law, would get killed on the spot if he uttered it, even if it was a joke.

It was dumb and MNBC is just catering to NAACP fanatics. It's equality and fairness mixed in with hypocritical posturing.
Verileah 17 years ago
He got fired, not arrested or jailed. You can't say stupid assed things and expect people to like you, nevermind -paying- you. Capitalism at work.
ROzbeans 17 years ago
I don't get why it's SUCH a big deal now. It went from one extreme to the other. Mel Gibson called some female cop sugar tits. When stuff like that happens, I get all excited because you KNOW Law and Order is going to do a parody of it!
Sarah 17 years ago
I'm right there with both of you. Our Bill of Rights says you can say, think, and feel what every you want, so long as it is not suppressing someone else's right to say, think, and feel what they want.

So essentially, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton have taken away Imus' fundamental right as an American. I realize what he said was offensive, and he apologized for it and that should have been the end, but instead we are left with a media frenzied witch hunt powered by two men who have some hell bent desire to play a race card that has long since lost its power and meaning.

Men and women of all race, religion, and creed are given ample opportunity to rise above their circumstances, it is what they do with that opportunity that should be addressed and it should no longer be addressed in terms of race, religion or creed. No one ever talks about the white woman born in the slums next to the black woman, who worked and pushed herself through college, and then climbed the corporate ladder and is now rich and successful, just like the black woman. She is instead considered just another rich white woman. It is disheartening that our country is still so stuck on race and ethnicity.

We get caught up in the wrongs of our fathers and we forget to look forward into the rights of ourselves and so we loose perspective on what is and should be important in America. It is not that Imus used a racial slur as a joke, it is not that Michael Richards lost his mind in a comedy club. We need to get past that sort of crap and take a more active role in the things that do matter, like affordable health care, literacy among all of our children, hiv/aids, getting our troops out of Iraq, environmental health and the thousands of men, women and children that live in poverty in the richest country in the world.

If Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton would address just one of those issues with the ferocity that that address such mistakes as Imus and Richards made, then maybe that particular problem might have a solution.

But that's just this redneck cracker's* point of view.

*read: white girl from the south, ya'll
Vulash 17 years ago
Well verileah makes a good point that you guys are ignoring.

An analogy - if I got hired for a news show to do the weather, and instead stood up there and talked about my dog for an hour then I'm going to get fired.

Ok now that I got tha tout of way - I agree with Roz and Mylec's sentiments. I don't have the energy to go through it and type it all out again. I'll just sum it up by saying i think the world has turned into a whiney butthurt place where people would rather blame other people then take responsibility for their own stupidity occasionally. I believe this type of thing ties right in to the hot coffee lawsuits, columbine, and on and on. I think as a whole America has turned into a big whiney selfish baby.

In other words - I think people are maknig a big deal out of Imis's comments becasue they think they should, not because they were actually offended. Though no one will ever admit that to themselves.
Vulash 17 years ago
This actually goes along with a conversation we were having here the other day. A friend here is working on his masters in special education. Anyway there was some report on the news about something in phx where they are now saying some huge % of people have learning disabilities etc. So basically we have two kinds of people now - smart ones, and those with learning disabilities. Well no shit. I honestly think that parents are so uptight that instead of considering the fact their kid may not be the top of the class, dealing with it, and trying to help them learn better that's it's just easier to make an excuse for them. Similiar to bi-polar and you see people that were semi diagnosed by a semi professional and they think it gives them the right to be a bitch - as opposed to just learning to socialize in a normal manner and treat people with respect. All these are just pet peeves of mine of just how whiney and looking for any reason to explain our faults we can.

I do need a disclaimer that I do believe that some people really do suffer from these disorders, and do need special help. I'm not saying it's an excuse to fail, but special circumstances shoudl be made to assit them, and some of them excel once given that help. I'm talking about the 70% of the others misdiagnosed or self diagnosed. I made that number up.
ROzbeans 17 years ago
Not ignoring what Veri said, I agree with it. He's an idiot. Same thing with Michael Richards and Mel Gibson - they're idiots. Their statements will hurt their careers. /shrug It's like Tarantino - he is a true asshole but still makes interesting movies, same with Mel Gibson.

Imus' job isn't to sit and make racial jokes. It's obviously Chris Rock's. =D
Den 17 years ago
I hadn't thought about bringing it up here, because for one thing it's a pretty hot topic on another forum I visit, and second I think its bullshit as well.

I agree with what Verileah said too do have the freedom to say what you like; however, you then must accept responsibility for whatever the outcome/fallout from it is. Unfortunately the station that fired Imus had begun to lose huge revenues from several advertisers, so what choice do you think they'd make? Hmmm...keep paying someone while making less money for the station, or get rid of the guy and continue making money?

I think that as long as we continue to have a double standard (not seeing anything wrong with some people using certain words, versus not letting others, ie: blacks using the word nigger, and whites not), we're never going to eliminate the problem.

However, personally I've not been offended by any words since I was a little girl. They don't hurt me in the least, and in most cases I can just walk away from them, or at the very least ignore them. Anyone who matters to me isn't going to call me anything that would 'kill' me, and anyone else would probably just cease to exist in my brain, if they were to try.

If more people would do that, instead of jumping up and all over the silly person who uttered the words in the first place, then we could have more time to devote to the real issues in life, that might involve life and death.

So often now days, people act like they're eight years old...time to grow up folks.
Lessa 17 years ago
i think the only comic I like to watch make racial jokes ( not cause theyre racial.. its just funny ) is Carlos Mencia.. cause he doesnt pick one.. he doesnt do it to hurt people.. and he does it to everyone.. including himself. He just plays on stupid stereotypes..

I think the imus thing was rude and uncalled for.. i dont think its funny. But I think his punishment was blown way out of proportion. The insult was more an insult to the women of the team imho.. than some of the players due to their race. ( about a third of the team is white) ( I find the word "ho" more insulting than "nappy haired") And had anyone else said what he did it might not have even been criticized.
Vulash 17 years ago
Yea I shouldnt' have said ignoring - didn't mean it quite like that
Xandare 17 years ago
All that come to mind for me are two things.

Imus is a radio "Personality" not a newsreader. He's paid to mix things up and put personal perspective and spin on the things he says, He is after all an entertainer. He shouldn't be fired for doing what he's supposed to do, he should however have to answer to the people he offends.

If Imus was Black, this would not even have been a back page story, no one would have cared. There are no white Jesse Jacksons or even Al Sharptons, if there were, They'd have Jesse and Al picketing them for being bigots.
Verileah 17 years ago
He shouldn't be fired for doing what he's supposed to do, he should however have to answer to the people he offends.

I like this idea - he should have brought the basketball team on the show. That would have been much more fitting than the easy solution of firing him. It appeals to my idealism, but I still maintain that no one's civil rights were violated here.

I've talked before about the wavering hypocrisy of offense. It is wrought with inconsistency, more fickle than a sophomore in high school...but in this case at least I don't feel it's the government who is responsible, but the American people themselves. And honestly, I think it's a case of good intentions with bad consequences. Is it so terrible that people want to, in general, not go around calling or being called a bitch or a ho? Trouble is I think we're sliding down the rhetorical slippery slope. What's the answer? Asshole comics who do everything in their power to offend? God help us all if our cultural evolution rests in the hands of comedians.
Slovman 17 years ago
There is always going to be that double standard when it comes to speech. I mean, you and your relatives can make fun of your sister, but would it be okay for a stranger to? It doesn't have to be race, or religion, or anything else deemed "hot button," it's just any group who has familiarity with each other is going to be able to say thing about that group that nobody else should.

I don't think Imus's free speech has been impeded. He's not in jail, he has not been silenced in comparison to the millions of other Americans who didn't have a national radio show. He was one of a privileged few who gets to espouse their craziness to a vast audience for large sums of money, and all that's happened is that privilege has been taken away.

That said, I do think the circumstances are a bit wonky here. The people who hired and paid Imus all these years knew who this man was. A significant portion of America knew who this man was. He has undoubtedly said stupider things and offended plenty of other people. It seems he was fired basically for doing the job he was hired to an asshole on the air. And if you're going to stoop to hiring people like that, you can't very well pull yourself out of the muck by firing them.
Kelefane 17 years ago
I think its a how and when kind of thing. How you say it and when you say it. I believe there is a time and place for everything and saying what the guy did on his job on a public station was the wrong place and the wrong time to be saying what he did.
ROzbeans 17 years ago
I think its a how and when kind of thing. How you say it and when you say it. I believe there is a time and place for everything and saying what the guy did on his job on a public station was the wrong place and the wrong time to be saying what he did.

What did he say?
He said you know what.
He said it...the guy with the thing?
In the place, back when.
What an idiot.
Vex 17 years ago
i dunno. its a whole contradiction and its annoying as fuck.

i wish the world ( U.S.? ) would get the fuck over this racism shit. who fucking CARES if the person is black!
Vex 17 years ago
better yet, why does it matter what color the skin is?

i want an answer for that.
Vex 17 years ago
and he deserved to be fired. its not professional to throw around racial slurs.

granted its his opinion that they are nappy headed whatevers, but speech freedom allows that.

i still just dont get.. why the hell we can't progress past judging people by the skin color. it just really boggles my mind. I can't comprehend it. at all. they're all fucking stupid if they think it makes any sort of difference...
Mylec 17 years ago
I agree with Veri in principle, but not in this particular case. In this case, Imus is paid to say off the wall stuff (as other posters have mentioned). I don't listen to him currently, but at a previous job in the 90's he used to be on the radio in the morning in our office. He was the Howard Stern before there was Howard Stern. The one difference is, he never went as far as Stern did, and he actually has a lot of influential and political guests on his show regularly. It was kinda unique as well in that when it came to politics, he didn't take sides. Bob Dole would be a guest one day, and Bill Clinton would be the next.

I really don't see where what he said was THAT severe, especially against the context of what many others say (in particular, many other black entertainers) who face no reprocussions for their words. I have heard him make insulting remarks to many different people, but never before was it an issue. And people on his show give it right back to him, and in the end they are all laughing because it is just messing around.

I'm not trying to come off like an Imus fan boi, because while I always thought he could be entertaining, I never thought he was THAT funny. My issue is with the principle at hand. People need to relax a bit. Sticks and stones, remember? And I agree with Stern's analysis of it when he criticized Imus not for what he said but how he was cowering to everyone afterwards. Stern said that Imus should have just said "Fuck you, it was a joke!". I agree. Someone still needs to explain to my how Jesse Jackson can call for him to be fired when he himself not all that long ago referred to New York as "Himeytown". Hypocracy at its finest. And I haven't been able to stomach Sharpton since that time back in the 90s when the jewish kid ran a red light and ended up going off the street and hitting a young black kid and killing him. He referred to that as a "racial attack". WTF? It was a very unfortunate and sad accident. The kid didn't say "Hmmm, let me drive off the road and hit that black kid!!!". But then in the ensuing riots, a group of black kids shouting "kill the jew!" chased down a different jewish kid and nearly beat him to death. When Sharpton was asked to comment on that, he replied "I'm not sure that was a racial attack". I think it took me 10 minutes to pick my jaw off the floor. What a cock.
Mylec 17 years ago
BTW, I'm glad I started this thread. Good discussion going on here.