It might not mean much on a day in which the New York Times laid into dessicated ventriloquist dummy lookalike/erstwhile shock-person Don Imus. But while the Times‘ David Carr acts like Imus’s decades-old shtick and weird media influence is somehow something new — and neglects to mention that his paper was one of the show’s big advertisers — the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Allesandro is 1) NOT HAVING IT and 2) hip to the fact that “satirical” racism has been the I-Man’s M.O. for decades. If there was any way that a (truly excellent) Nets beat writer’s (truly excellent) blog post could possibly end a hugely successful egomaniac’s career — and there isn’t — this would pretty much be it:
You say the L’affaire Imus has nothing to do with the NBA, but that is hardly the case. For starters, that show proved that there was nothing Jayson Williams wouldn’t do for money. Secondly, it was always mind-boggling to hear members of that show get away with referring to the Knicks as crackheads (and worse), or Patrick Ewing as “Mighty Joe Young,” and that in the end, we actually felt sorry for idiots like John Rocker because they are victims of a double standard.
Somehow, we have accepted Imus’ racist/sexist/homophobic act far too long because he considers himself a satirist, which is a very convenient fallback in times such as these. One problem with that: Satire is supposed to be targeted at those in positions of power and influence, not at bunch of college kids who happen to look different from the vast majority of the Imus audience. We didn’t realize that outside of Limbaugh, that relentlessly promoting theories of racial inferiority, hatred of gays and of women in power, and comforting middle class bigots was a Swiftian pursuit in today’s radio kingdom.
The sad thing is that nothing is going to stop top-tier pundits like Chris Matthews from going on Imus’ show to talk about how icky women politicians are. Nothing is going to make Imus fire the surpassingly cretinous Bernard McGurk, who was his interlocutor in the discussion in question. Outside of the aforementioned Matthews, there is no more outwardly weird and unappealing media fixture than Imus…but as D’Allesandro hints, radio is not exactly like baseball. When John Rocker couldn’t get big league hitters out anymore, he had to go kick it with Kevin Baez and pitch to bloggers. Imus hasn’t gotten anyone out since 1993 or so, but some editor from Newsweek is going to be yukking it up with him about how Hillary Clinton’s really a dude or something similarly satirical sometime soon. When his two-week suspension is over, that is.