I guess I really don't know what to make of the latest flap WFAN's Don Imus finds himself in the middle of. By now, everyone knows that Imus, for reasons known only to him, saw fit to refer to the women of Rutger's basketball team as " nappy headed hos" The resultant firestorm of criticism clearly caught the man off-guard.
And why shouldn't it? Imus says stuff like this ALL OF THE TIME. His shtick is homophobic, misogynistic and racist. Bernard McGuirck, his sidekick and "producer" is even worse. To me, his only saving grace is that he is possibly one of the most insightful commentator on political events in broadcasting. Indeed, I believe it was Maureen Dowd who said that Don Imus had the best "bullshit detector" in the business. He must have it in the shop when he interviewed Mike Huckabee because he pretty much laid off on Huck the two or three times he interviewed him.
Given the fact that referring to black women as "nappy headed hos" is vintage Imus why all of the fuss? And there is a fuss, make no mistake about it. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are calling for his scalp. Sponsors are pulling out and the head of CBS says he ought to be fired. This is new.
The only thing I can think of is that generally when Imus does his thing he is skewering public figures or just speaking generally about people. Here he made a completely unnecessary remark about young women who had done nothing other than compete honorably on the field of play for the greater glory of the State of New Jersey. As far as I can tell, the Rutgers team is predominantly black. The Tennessee team that clobbered them the night before Imus shot his mouth off is about 50-50. Imus didn't say anything derogatory about them.
There is hardly ever any justification for going off on college kids. I think it is nothing more complicated than people just saw the tape and said, " Hey, that ain't fair." The fact that he chose to run down kids that go to school in his backyard didn't help his case any.
Imus is doing what celebrities do at times like this. He is apologizing. He is going off the air for a couple of weeks. He can't go into rehab because he is already a recovering alcoholic. He is going to meet with the Rutgers team and C. Vivian Stringer, their high-pissed coach who is neither nappy nor a ho but is someone I would not like to meet in a dark alley. And I feel the same way about Pat Summit. Some women you do not cross.
Dan Patrick asked good ole Joe Morgan what he thought about all of this. He allowed as how you ought not to ever refer to a woman as a whore and he also said that he longed for the time when "you couldn't talk like that on the radio."
I'm afraid those days are gone forever. But maybe this episode is proof that the public just won't stand fit when an "entertainer" makes fun of certain people. Don Imus may have the best bullshit detector in the business. But he would have been better off with a little bell in his head to warn him that he was screwing up.