Years ago I lived in New York for a while. Late at night there was a local TV talk show hosted by a guy named Imus.
He was not particularly funny or insightful, I wondered “Who gave this guy a talk show?” Figured he probably knew somebody.
Not long ago I was up very late at night and I was flipping around the cable dial and there was Imus on MSNBC (which stands for Mostly Stuff Nobody Cares about) doing his radio show on TV. Generally, I find that radio shows on TV are a waste of time but Imus on TV is an especially hard sell. Lets face it, Imus on the radio is a stretch.
There he was, hunched at his desk, wearing a cowboy hat, looking like a total jackass; some sort of “McCloud” Dennis Weaver on crack nightmare; mumbling away in his barely intelligible Imus sort of way. But I kept watching for a while, thinking something has to happen. At some point, someone will say something funny or interesting or… something. Nope. After about half an hour I decided that sleeping would be more entertaining than watching Imus.
Since then, on several occasions I have watched snippets of Imus to see if anything noteworthy happened. It never did. Just the same self-righteous, marble-mouthed utterly forgettable Imus. Along with a caste of characters who are, if possible, just as tedious as The “I” Man, as they fawningly call him. Watching Imus is like watching Howard Stern if nobody ever said anything funny. Indeed, Stern wrote about Imus in his book “Private Parts” in less than glowing terms and now I see what he was talking about.
So, when I heard that Imus had created a firestorm by calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos,” I was shocked. Not because of the obvious tackiness and tastelessness of the remarks but because Imus had actually done something remotely interesting — if for all the wrong reasons — on the air. Had I been watching I could have said “Aha! For once, this is not like watching paint dry!”
Now, Don Imus is fighting for his professional life. The Reverend Al Sharpton, among many others, is calling for his resignation. The water is so hot for Imus at the moment, rumor has it, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is calling for his resignation. (Rimshot!) In fact, the only good news Imus has gotten lately is an offer to write speeches for Joe Biden. (Double rimshot!) Imus has gotten a very supportive email from Mel Gibson. (or, Michael Richards — if you think that’s funnier) (Hey, I’ll be here all week!)
Frankly, I do not like the idea of Imus being fired for making racial slurs. That has a bit of a witch hunt feel to it. If that happens then all of broadcasting could turn into a game of gotcha, and everyone with an ax to grind can try to get people fired for real or perceived racist comments.
“Racism” could be the new McCarthyism. But, this would be an excellent opportunity for Imus’ bosses to take a hard look at his show and come to the refreshing conclusion that Imus is and always has been DULL, wrapped in MEDIOCRE, surrounded by “WHY IS THIS HOSEBAG ON THE AIR?” And from this startling revelation, let them fire Imus.
Then, Imus will return to radio in some local market, like say Klammath Falls Oregon, and a guy doing a milkrun in Klammath Falls can turn on his radio and listen and say to himself “Who gave this bonehead a show?”
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