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Beast of the Month - May 2007

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Beast of the Month - May 2007 Don Imus,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2007
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Beast of the Month - May 2007
      Don Imus, "Shock Jock" Radio Host

      "I yam an anti-Christ... "
      John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the

      "That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos
      and... That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm gonna tell you that
      now, man, that's some -- woo!"
      Don Imus, showing his clever sense of humor

      Who would have guessed at the start of April Don Imus (The
      Konformist BOTM) would be dumped from radio before Sanjaya or
      Alberto Gonzales got their asses booted from American Idol or the

      (Okay, we'll try to keep the Sanjaya jokes to the minimum. True,
      he's lacks the singing talents of fellow Idol competitor Melinda
      Doolittle, and frankly the male Konformist staff doesn't get what
      all these teenage girls see in the guy - although we appreciate the
      amazing skills of his sexy sister Shyamali, which consists of her
      boobs jiggling in slo-mo during a widely viewed YouTube clip. In
      any case, somehow The Konformist suspects if the American public's
      outrage over Gonzales' blatant disregard for the US Constitution
      matched the hysteria surrounding the Sanjaya backlash, Alberto -
      along with, among others, Rove, Cheney and Bush - would have been
      frog marched out of power and into prison long ago.)

      The fall of Imus was fast and furious, coming just eight days after
      his crudely insulting cracks about the Rutgers female basketball
      team on his April 4 show. That Imus, a rich old white guy, could
      dismiss a group of dedicated young women of mainly African-American
      descent who managed to reach the NCAA championship with racist
      taunts comparing them to prostitutes received a widespread backlash,
      and soon his ass was off the airwaves, his $10 million a year
      contract null and void.

      The reaction by the korporate media to the Imus affair was pretty
      revealing: while none would actually defend what he said, there was
      much lamentation that a nearly four-decade career on airwaves could
      be ruined by a single solitary incident. In this respect, he became
      linked to Mel "Mad Max" Gibson and Michael "Kramer" Richards, a
      trinity of victims to a new political correctness.

      Of course, there's a problem with this viewpoint, starting with the
      sympathetic portrait of victimhood. Imus, like Gibson and Richards
      before him, is responsible for what he said, and has nobody to blame
      for his own words but himself. That said, there was nothing in
      Richards' career before his failed "He's a nigger!" comedic rant to
      suggest a man with any hatred of African-Americans. Gibson, for all
      the controversy surrounding The Passion of the Christ, had likewise
      never revealed any overt hostility to Jews before his drunken anti-
      Semitic ramble. Both Richards and Gibson, to their credit,
      afterwards exhibited clearly sincere regret and shame for what they
      had said. Contrast that with Imus, who seemed more annoyed that he
      now had to feign regret for his inflammatory joke. In a predictably
      self-pitying moment, he declared on his show, "I don't deserve to be
      fired. So, I should be punished and I'm being punished - and not
      insignificantly, by the way." He ended his whine by declaring "I'm
      not whining." Hardly a convincing case of contrition.

      Furthermore, Imus' insult followed a track history of offensive
      behavior by the radio host. Among his "greatest" hits itemized by

      * Referred to African-American journalist Gwen Ifill as "a cleaning

      * Called New York Times sports reporter Bill Rhoden a "quota hire"

      * Referred to tennis player Amelie Mauresmo as "a big old lesbo" on

      * Described Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz a "boner-nosed...
      beanie-wearing Jewboy"

      * Dismissed a disabled colleague as "the cripple"

      * Nicknamed an Indian men's tennis duo as "Gunga Din and Sambo"

      * Declared the New York Knicks to be "chest-thumping pimps"

      * His sometime sidekick Sid Rosenberg called African-American tennis
      star Venus William an "animal" and cracked that she and sister
      Serena would be more likely photographed for National Geographic
      than Playboy

      * Insulted onetime show newsreader Contessa Brewer by calling her a
      pig, a skank and dumber than dirt on air

      * Boasted in a 60 Minutes interview that he picked one of his
      producers to do "nigger jokes" on air

      Even more telling is his nasty "jokes" involving those of Middle
      Eastern descent, which puts his "nappy-headed hos" comment to
      shame. As noted by FAIR and the World Socialist Web Site, he
      regularly refers to Arabs as "rag-heads" and "goat-humping weasels"
      on air. During the funeral of Yasser Arafat, he and others on his
      show referred to the mourning Palestinians as "stinking animals"
      who "eat dirt" and declared the US "ought to drop the bomb right
      there, kill 'em all right now." When a civilian Iranian airliner
      crashed and killed 43 people, Imus charming response: "When I hear
      stories like that, I think who cares." For these comments, he was
      given in December 2004 a P.U.-litzer Prize from FAIR's Norman
      Solomon, yet there was no punishment of Imus for his overtly racist

      Of course, Imus is just one of many: the radio airwaves have long
      been dominated by so-called "shock jocks" who have turned bigotry
      and intolerance into a crude form of mass humor. Ever since Howard
      Stern (and to a lesser extent, Imus) popularized the shock jock
      shtick, numerous others have copied the formula. With the exception
      of Stern, there is little comic talent among them, but they all make
      up for it with shock value. Opie and Anthony had their show
      cancelled by Infinity Broadcasting in 2002 for egging on a couple to
      have sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral. (They moved to XM Satellite
      Radio in 2004.) Mancow has contests where contestants eat kitty
      litter and try to impersonate being a murderer and a carjacker in
      public to frighten onlookers. Bubba the Love Sponge had a pig
      slaughtered with sound effects implying it was being tortured on
      a "Road Kill Barbecue" special, shaved a man's genitals and sprayed
      them with carburetor cleaner, and has an annual "Shit Your Pants
      Contest" where participants try to hold in their feces after being
      given multiple laxative treatments. One similar contest that got
      out of control: in January, there was a water-drinking contest for a
      Nintendo Wii (cleverly titled "Hold your Wee for a Wii") in
      Sacramento by the local Morning Rave show. Though a nurse called
      warning that drinking too much water is hazardous and potentially
      deadly, the shock jocks laughed it off, mocked the contestants' pain
      and offered no medical assistance. The next day, one of the
      contestants was found dead, a victim of water intoxication. (What a
      knee-slapper!) Needless to say, those involved with the stunt were
      fired by the station for their charming prank.

      Imus, along with Stern and the others, claim they are the heirs of
      Lenny Bruce, but any true fan of Bruce knows this is a lie. True,
      Bruce used foul language, gags on racial stereotypes and
      scatological humor in abundance, but his purpose was to challenge
      the public's minds. It is unsurprising to note that for all
      their "shock" value, the jock's politics (unlike the radical Bruce)
      is almost uniformly the ugliest elements of reactionary beliefs.
      Howard Stern has devoted much energy defending the beating of Rodney
      King. In 2005, after Howard Dean declared the Iraq War unwinnable,
      Mancow ranted on Fox News that "Howard Dean is a vile human
      being... this guy is bloodthirsty. He is evil." He would add that
      Dean "ought to be kicked out of America" and "tried for treason."
      Do either of these stances sound like something Lenny Bruce would
      advocate? In essence, the shock jocks take Bruce's shock without
      his deeper purpose, and one has to look at the korporate media's
      embrace of the shock fad as an attempt to neuter the true rebellious
      message of Bruce and his peers.

      Looking at the evidence, it's clear Imus is no Lenny Bruce, nor even
      a Don Rickles, who cleverly used prejudice and hatred as a comic
      tool to made light of it. He isn't even a Mad Mel or Kramer, the
      popularity of both being despite their infamous tirades that have
      tarnished their reputation. Instead, Imus is closer in spirit to
      former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen, making a career
      out of exploiting the ugliest prejudices in society, doing so in a
      way to comfort the prejudices rather than challenge them. And like
      Allen, Imus has now had his Macaca moment.

      Perhaps other moments of accounting are on the horizon. After
      highlighting the "Nappy-headed hos" controversy, the Website
      MediaMatters listed other crude and offensive statements by numerous
      other personalities within the right-wing media. Among them are
      Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Ann Coulter, John Gibson, Rush Limbaugh,
      Bill O'Reilly and Michael "Weiner" Savage. Their comments were at
      least of equal offense. It has also been noted by FAIR and
      MediaMatters, among others, that Imus long has received a free ride
      in the press because many news personalities guest on his show for
      his impressive history of hawking books. Among the guilty: Jonathan
      Alter, Tom Brokaw, Maureen Dowd, Howard Fineman, Jeff Greenfield,
      David Gregory, Howard Kurtz, Tom Oliphant, Clarence Page, Dan
      Rather, David Remnick, Frank Rich, Cokie Roberts, Tim Russert, Bob
      Schieffer and Evan Thomas. But the accounting goes even higher, as
      the following political figures have appeared on the Imus show:
      Richard "Donkey Dick" Cheney, Christopher Dodd, Harold Ford (an
      African-American, no less), John Kerry, Joe Lieberman John McCain
      and Mitt Romney. Note that the list has multiple members of both
      parties, many of which are involved in the 2008 Presidential
      election race. And then there's the billion-dollar accounting
      question: how could giant korporations such as MSNBC and CBS Radio
      back a man for so long with such a sordid history? We at The
      Konformist can't wait for more Macaca to hit the fan.

      In any case, we salute Don Imus as Beast of the Month.
      Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Donnie!!!

      Thanks to FAIR.org, MediaMatter.org and The World Socialist Web Site
      ( WSWS.org ) for reference material used in this article.

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