Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Categorical Imperative 

As I suppose most of you are, I am delighted with the current demise of Don Imus. It couldn't happen to a filthier asshole.

There is probably no other program or "personality" that is more symptomatic of media degeneracy that Imus. As one AmCop reader said to me earlier tonight, the program is seriously nihilistic. Nothing matters. Nothing is real. Everything is a joke. The various media "personalities" get together and make fun of any- and everything. Of course nothing is funnier to these bastards than someone who is actually sincere or someone who actually believes in something other than image, manipulation, or money.

The show consists in "reporters" (supposedly "real" ones, like Fineman and Mitchell and even Frank Rich) hanging out and congratulating themselves, on the air, for being rich. Periodically they pause to mock and insult and wish for the death of those who are less rich than themselves.

So of course listeners know that grotesque racism is an Imus staple. The Rutgers comments were not at all unique, and it is actually hard to understand why this is what will bring Imus down. Perhaps some of you have heard the "comedian" who regularly "imitates" New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin by speaking in a semi-retarded lazy-as-molasses drawl--playing the dumb black fool who blames everyone else for problems that he obviously caused himself?

Anyway, as I said, Imus' demise couldn't have happened do a dirtier asshole.

But still, the law is in effect:

Anytime--anytime--someone, however deserving, becomes the surface onto which the media projects its own depravity, in order to disavow it--anytime this happens, the media makes itself more despicable than its victim.

So the various media shitbags who piously denounce Don Imus, as if they hadn't been aiding and abetting--indeed reveling in--his shit orgy, these media suck-holes are categorically worse than Imus himself.

The same principle of course applies also to Gary Condit and Mark Foley (my two preferred candidates for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination).

But the principle is most applicable in the Imus case, because Imus is just one tumor manifesting a metastatic cancer which has also erupted in growths like Andrea Mitchell, Howard Fineman, Katie Couric, Stone Phillips, Anderson Cooper, Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer, Matt Lauer, Suzanne Malveaux, Soledad O'Brien, Adam Nagourney, Michael Gordon, Tim Russert, George Stephanopolous, Maureen Dowd, Candy Crowley, Judy Woodruff, Wolf Blitzer, Tom Friedman, Tom Oliphant, Brian Wiliams, David Gregory...

Update: Read Digby's post on this. It covers all the bases. Or, it scoops up all the shit. Here's an excerpt, which quotes from an excellent Vanity Fair account of the perverse Imus phenomenon:

"I can't help but be reminded of the Imus profile of a year ago in Vanity Fair (not online, unfortunately) in which his psychotic freakshow was fully revealed. I'm sure all these disgusting sycophants read it. After all, it featured them in starring roles --- being insulted by Don Imus:

'They don't make good decisions,' he says of MSNBC and its programming. "You can't make idiotic decisions like (hiring hosts) Tucker Carlson and Ron Reagan." Of conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, he says: "He's a twit. He's a pussy." This is in the same spirit as an earlier comment on Senate majority leader Bill Frist ("a fucking criminal"). Similarly, when he looks up from his circular desk at a television monitor during a commercial break and sees Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball, silently nattering away, he says, 'There's that idiot,' to no one in particular.

It makes you wonder why they continue to appear on his show and are making complete fools of themselves today assuring everyone that Imus is a "good man."

This might explain it:

I can feel the high of becoming part of his incestuous circle of regulars-the media elite who have entree with the I-Man and have never seemed troubled, at least publicly troubled as far as I can tell, by the show's forays over the years into homophobia and crudeness and sexism. I like this idea of being right in there with columnists Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich of The New York Times and NBC's Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory and Tim Russert (husband of Vanity Fair special correspondent Maureen Orth), all Imus regulars. I wonder if there's some secret media-elite handshake I need to learn, just so I can hear the jubilant sound of the cash register ringing when it comes time to sell my next book, because nobody (with the clear exception of Oprah) sells a book better than Imus.

He likes that power, enjoys going on Amazon to see just how much he can boost a book. During the week I'm there, he has Larry the Cable Guy on as a guest-Larry has just written a book called Git-r-Done. Before the show, according to Imus, the book was about 1,800 on the Amazon list. But when he checks on the Internet just after the show, it's No. 122.

I wonder if the media elite's failure to seriously take Imus to task for anything is due to a fear that their book-promotion pipeline will be cut off if they rub him the wrong way. In a 1998 New Yorker piece, Ken Auletta drew up a list, confirmed by Imus, of more than a dozen high-profile journalists who made contributions to the Imus Ranch. It's hard to quibble with donations to a worthy cause. As George Stephanopoulos said on the air to Imus in 1998, with his book on the White House still in the works, "I'm not too proud to suck up for a good cause. So count me in for $5,000 on the ranch!"

I wonder what I would have done, had I been an Imus regular with a book to sell, when the previous sports announcer for the show, Sid Rosenberg, said on the air last May of a female entertainer who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, "Ain't gonna be so beautiful when the bitch got a bald head and one titty." I wonder how I would have reacted to the cackling of various members of Imus's ensemble over the next minute or so to Rosenberg's remarks, as well as Imus's own hardly outraged response: "There's a reason I fire you about every six weeks." He did get fired from the show, and Imus distanced himself from what Rosenberg had said. He says the remarks were "horrible," but there seemed to be something disingenuous about Imus's repudiation-complete bullshit, as he might put it-given that Rosenberg had already distinguished himself on the show in 2001 by calling tennis player Venus Williams an "animal" and noting that she and her sister, Serena, had a better chance of posing nude for National Geographic than Playboy. I wonder what I would have done had I been in the audience the night Imus made his crude and unfunny remarks about President Clinton and his wife. Would I have said, That's it, never again. Or would I have been like Cokie Roberts of ABC television, who called Imus's remarks "profoundly rude," vowed never to go back on the show, and then did several years later when the opportunity arose to push her new book, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters.

It's as if they believe we can't read or are too stupid to figure out what they are doing. I read Vanity Fair. I hear his disgusting show and hear them on it, kissing up to him like he's some sort of oracle instead of a spoiled, petulant bully with an incoherent worldview. And I also listen to their complaints about the vituperation on the internet, how the bloggers --- especially the "angry left" --- are horrible people who treat them disrespectfully. And I have to laugh because I know that Don Imus can call them and their colleagues twits and pussies in Vanity Fair and they come back licking his boots, begging for more. And we know why.

They have earned their reputation --- even some of the good ones, the ones who write things I like. When you sell your personal integrity for money to a racist scumbag like Don Imus, you have to expect that people are not going to treat you with a lot of respect.

Don Imus has been behaving badly and apologizing for it for many, many years. I expect he will continue to do so once he's finished with his two week vacation. And all of these writers will once again make pilgrimages to his show and pledge fealty to him in order to sell books. Because, unlike those great basketball players he maligned so casually --- they really are whores."


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