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Location: Illinois, United States

Monday, April 09, 2007

Don Imus

Don Imus did something wrong. You could put that sentence in any month during any year over the past forty years and you would likely be correct. Don Imus continually does things and says things that people do not like.

Imus started out in 1968 in Sacramento, California doing on-air pranks. It became so popular, he moved to Cleveland (no joke). From there he moved to WNBC in New York where be became a national star. He began to do stand-up comedy and created a character named Rev. Dr. Billy Sol Hargis, which was a satirical slap at the bible thumpers everywhere.

During the seventies he developed a cocaine problem which got him fired from WNBC. Between drinking and drugs, he was nearly washed up, but his talent kept him going. He returned to New York radio and even developed a syndicated television series which was similar to early David Letterman shows.

During the late eighties, Imus slowly phased out satirical humor for more political talk and humor. His program has been simulcast on MSNBC since 1996. Strangely enough, it was in 1996 that he gave his most famous speech. He spoke before the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington D.C. Bill and Hillary Clinton were in attendance.

Imus took the opportunity to skewer Hillary, who was deeply involved in the Whitewater scandal. Most speakers offer gentle, non-topical humor at these events. Imus went for the Clintons. The audience roared, but the Clintons sat silent.

Imus has been accused through the years of racism, misogyny and homophobia. Whether any of it is true is anyone’s guess. Remember that Imus got his start doing radio pranks. He knows what makes some people laugh and what gets everyone’s attention.

Imus has done some good things. During the nineties, he created the Imus Ranch in New Mexico. The ranch is a charitable organization for children with cancer, as well as siblings of SIDS victims. More recently, he attended the dedication of the Center for the Intrepid, a privately-built rehab center for wounded veterans. Imus helped the Center raise ten million and personally contributed over $300,000 himself.

Last week, Imus did something bad. He and his team used language that was racially charged. It was wrong. They were ignorant statements by people who do not understand the hard feelings such words create. These are not words I use in casual conversation, let alone on radio and cable television.

I like Don Imus. He is funny. He wants to see this world be a better place. He is a “cantankerous old fool” as a former employee once called him. He does not hold his feelings back, even when they are not in line with the rest of the country.

Should Imus resign or be fired? If I were to make a similar comment on the radio, if I had a radio show, I would be fired. Imus should be held to the same level. There is candor and there is hurtful. Once again, Imus has been hurtful and he must atone.

If he does quit or gets fired, two things will happen. Either he will retire to the Imus Ranch and continue with his wife to raise his son and do good work for the children of this world, or he will return on another station and be even bigger and stronger than before.

The second possibility has been his pattern in the past. After bad behavior, he returns to even greater results. The question is not should he quit. Of course, he should quit. The real question for Imus is whether he is ready to quit.

Only Imus knows that.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That serlf-rightous clown has stated forever that his motto is: "We're not happy until you're not happy."
Fete Accompli Donny boy!

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering the NAACP still gave Isaiah Washington an Image award this year after his notorious and repeated use of the word faggot, I'm not so sure Imus should quit or be fired. The double standard when it comes to hate speech is not acceptable.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

That Senator from Arizona, McLaime, McClame, McCant, McBlame, McStain (or whatever his name is) accepted Don Imus' apology and forgives him, so he must be okay.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Alexander Dimm said...

Senator John McCain is a frequent visitor on Imus' show. Considering that he wasn't a basketball player from Rutgers, I'm not certain how he can accept the I-Man's apology.

Maybe in Washington you just accept everyone's apology, but if somebody punches me in the nose, mine is the only apology that means anything.

McCain was better off keeping quiet.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous valupak said...

Who likes Imus, have you ever wondered? I've tried, honestly, to listen to this guy's show several times, and I can't figure out who finds him entertaining at all.

Fire him! He has insulted very good young women, who live as wholesomely as they can to be top-rate athletes. They are certainly no more sexually active than any other young women. And this moron isn't content to couch his racism by simply calling these admirable young women whores, but to add "nappy-headed" to his comment to make his racism specific. Fire him!

7:00 AM  

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