Don Imus. What a jerk. Needs psychotherapy. Hate his guts.
It's too bad he's gone. We need him.
He represents attitudes in our society that we'd like to pretend are not there. We must confront the ugliness (both literally and figuratively, in this case).
Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon, writing about Imus being fired, said it best: “I'd rather see him have to confront anger, scorn and ridicule every single day... I'd rather the criticism come at Imus from every angle, indefinitely, rather than have him slink away to private life.”
If the enemy hides, we become complacent, we forget he's there, and we can't defeat him. (See also: Osama bin Laden.)
In 2004, Imus referred to some publishers as “thieving Jews.” Then he apologized for using a term that was “redundant.” Referring to black journalist Gwen Ifill, he said, “Isn't the New York Times wonderful... they let the cleaning lady cover the White House.”
Ha ha. Excuse me for a moment while I go puke.
Okay, I'm back. As I was saying, Imus tries to be funny. He's not. Humor derives from truth. The audience needs to see some element of reality in order for the joke to have its impact.
For example, it would be easy for me to make fun of the Bush White House for illegally deleting a bunch of emails so that they became unavailable for congressional subpoena or historical record.
When faced with potential scandal, public servants must choose whether they want to appear incompetent or appear untrustworthy. Most of the time, they choose incompetence. The public is more likely to forgive a silly mistake (Clinton) than an act of premeditated evil (Nixon).
In this case, incompetence is the clear choice. Can you imagine Bush using email? He would probably send a lot of cheesy forwarded chain messages and write in all capital letters.
So Bush spokesman Scott Stanzel this week admitted the White House had not been clear enough with its employees (like Karl Rove) about the email policy. The policy states, in essence, “Don't delete email, you morons.”
Either the White House staffers are such simple-minded Luddites that a clearly-worded email policy strikes them as complete gibberish, or certain people decided to delete certain messages intentionally. While you decide for yourself which is the case, I'm going to run back to the toilet for a moment.
Ugh, that was no fun. Anyway, did you see how the joke about Bush using email connects to reality? Bush has adopted the persona of an unsophisticated country boy who may not be a computer whiz, goshdarn it, but he sure knows how to administer some down-home, Texas-style, cowboy hat justice, even if he is just a disguised Yale trust-fund baby who couldn't find a real terrorist unless he was hiding at the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey.
Whew. Even though it was a cheap shot, that one took a lot out of me. Time to go lie down for a while. Wake me up when the news gets less nauseating.