In fairness, I must begin this piece with the statement that I have been a fan of Don Imus since 1973. Over the last 34 years, Imus has introduced me to lots of new music and artists. Recently, I began listening to some of my favorite artists on Imus’ show (like Bruce Springsteen, Mark Knopfler and Van Morrison) playing Country Western. Although I’ve always liked Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, my reaction to C/W had usually been a little more violent than John Belushi smashing Stephen Bishop’s “folk” guitar in Animal House.
I also spent six years moonlighting as a radio jock (1997 – 2003), influenced by Imus and other great jocks like “Cousin” Bruce Morrow, Dan Ingram, Wolfman Jack and Scott Muni. The best lessons I learned from these men were about the art of entertaining large groups of people. Having sat in their hot seat, I understand how difficult it is to try to be funny all the time. I also have endured the ignominy of making bad jokes that backfired. Although these jokes were not on the air, I shared Imus’ experience of seeing how racial prejudice, white supremacy and the Corporate Culture can choke the sense of fair play.
As much as I loved Imus’ irreverence, I was shocked at some of the boundaries that he crossed. As a Catholic, his take-offs of Cardinal O’Connor and Cardinal Egan took me to the very edge of my devotion. But it was that push that strengthened my faith. What was really awesome was that Imus frequently talked of God and Jesus with respect on his show. Imus had me buying “green” cleaning products, donating money to Tomorrow’s Children, and supporting his Santa Fe ranch for children with cancer. I also wrote my congressional representative to gain support for the parents of autistic children; I would have written my senators but I am stuck with Chuckie Shumer and Hillie Dillie.
Through Imus and his guests, I was politically informed. I wasn’t being fooled by the media and the spin doctors. I had already initiated my exit from Corporate America when fortune (in the form of antagonists from Georgia and Virginia) gave me an extended pay day without having to work. As I presently do more valuable work that satisfies my soul, I sleep much better at night and am not affected by government (I pay Caesar his due). It is from that understanding that I can appreciate Don Imus as the tireless worker battling SIDS, fighting for autistic children, and trying to eliminate chemical cleaning agents. I also admire this man for devoting his life and energy to children suffering and dying from cancer.
I won’t satisfy Imus’ detractors by trying to put his statement about the Rutgers’ girls into context. What he said was stupid and wrong, but I must emphatically add that Imus is not a racist. Do Imus, Bernard McGuirk, Rob Bartlett and others use some “Hip Hop” talk too liberally? Absolutely. Whether you wish to believe it or not, Imus does not have a racial agenda. With that being said, Imus apologized but he still lost his job. Let’s try to bring all the forces at play into this picture.
Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton: The Book of Deuteronomy warns us to beware of false prophets. I’ll simply let the record of these two racists speak for itself. Both of these men have made racial slurs but were forgiven, escaping retribution for their sins. Yet they pursued Imus with a single purpose: to get him fired. Vengeance, as the scriptures tell us, is best left in God’s hands. This will come back around to these two double-talking false preachers who lack Jesus’ forgiveness in their hearts. While it is obvious that both these hypocrites have much to gain from continuing to polarize people of all races and colors, I hope that they will remember how they caused a shortage of donations to SIDS research. How much money have these wolves in sheep’s’ clothing contributed for SIDS research?
Ryan Chiachiere: According to The Wall Street Journal, this creature was a pawn for Media Matters in America. He was assigned to monitor the Imus program and to find a reason to get him fired, and he found his ammunition at 6:15 AM on Wednesday, April 4. What kind of a weasel accepts an assignment like this? One can almost picture this type of person (you can fill in the blank). So, Ryan, you have single-handedly fueled the fire that took down Imus right in the middle of an annual fundraiser for SIDS and other causes. Good work. What do you want to be when you grow up? Just remember that some kid dying a slow, painful death from an incurable form of cancer may no longer have access to the Imus Ranch because of you.
Hillary Clinton: Just yesterday, following Imus’ firing, “After the Fact” Hillie said she never wanted to go on Imus. Guess what, Hillie? You were never going to be on Imus. After that Bill and Monica thing that, ahem, never happened, you and Bill provided Imus fans hundreds of laughs. But maybe you can explain your racist comment about “Mahatma Ghandi … the one who owned a gas station in Saint Louis.” We are waiting. Or will you tell us it is okay because “you were just trying to be funny?” Sounds a tad hypocritical, doesn’t it?
Condoleeza Rice: She is soooooo happy that Imus got fired. Who cares? Why does she keep reminding us that she has a job in this pathetic excuse for a government? Every time I forget her name, there she is … pulling me right back into depression and anger.
MSNBC: Now that you have lost your ratings star, you have all my prayers and wishes for a slow and painful journey down the crapper. I will also be organizing a boycott of all the advertisers on your station and will actively campaign against the NBC network. As a man of my words, I will start by informing the NHL that my family and I will not watch our beloved Rangers play Saturday afternoon (4/14) on your crummy station; we will listen on ESPN Radio 1050 in New York. I also urge everyone reading this blog to pass the message: TURN OFF NBC!
CBS Radio: CBS radio’s firing of Imus was gutless, cowardly, pandering and self-serving. I am grateful for these management experts because I predict they will single-handedly bring a most-welcome end to commercial radio. They can take Clear Channel, Cumulus and all the other conglomerates along with them down the sewer. Ever since CBS used JACK-FM to kill WCBS-FM in New York, one of the greatest Oldies stations in the country, their intent has been obvious. They have led the charge in America to eliminate on-air jocks and replace them with computer-simulated programming and syndicated shows. Yes … it is 1984 in radio. What I have done is to remove Jack-FM, NewRadio 88 and WFAN from the buttons on my radio; instead, I will listen to 1010 WINS for traffic and ESPN Radio for sports (while keeping the 500 songs on my iPod fresh). I only listened to WFAN for Imus and Steve Summers (Steve, old buddy, you have to move or it is goodbye). I don’t watch CBS TV for anything, but now I will make sure other people don’t. I will also organize a boycott of the advertisers on those stations.
Rutgers’ Women Basketball: I never heard of you before and I wish I had never heard of you; after all, you go to college in New Jersey and what is the big deal about finishing second in a boring tournament? Although I am sorry that Imus said what he did, your acceptance of his apology after he has been fired leaves many unanswered questions. You would never have heard this comment if it weren’t for our new friend, Ryan. As God is my witness, my first reaction when I heard the statement that “Imus has ruined our dream season” was that this was all a prelude to a lawsuit against Imus. That is why sponsors and management went running for cover like Chicken Little. Even though today’s announcement was that you accepted his apology, I would still take bets that a lawsuit is on its way. Now that you have played a part (either deliberately or by accident) in taking down Imus, what are you going to do for SIDS, autism and children with incurable cancer?
In the end, Don Imus will be fine and he will be back. For all of you listening to commercial radio and watching network television, you need to wake up. You are having your lives controlled and misdirected to serve the corporate and commercial world. You don’t believe me? Try keeping your radio off and blocking all the network programs and their substations. Get your news from PBS. Don’t watch or listen to any commercials … turn the sound off or walk away. Do not read any newspapers, especially The New York Times or The Washington Post. Give it one week and see how much better you feel.
Most of all, remember the message of forgiveness. Forgiveness is something that was sadly lost in all of this, and the losers are the children who Imus had pledged to help. The winners are those that had everything to gain from racial extortion and the Corporate Culture of hypocrisy and double standards. DO NOT BE FOOLED! Every company is pledged to only one thing: its profitability.
I’ll close with a story. I used to work for one company that gave huge bonuses and had an exorbitant 401K plan. Although one purpose of this bait money was to buy loyalty, it was also the owner’s way to avoid paying all kinds of taxes (tax liability was minimized and profitability maximized). In other words, it was legal tax fraud! Who pays? Not this man, a millionaire many times over, nor his children with lucrative no-show jobs.