Monday, April 16, 2007

The Funniest Comment I've Heard about the Whole Don Imus Thing

Before I share the funniest comment referenced in this here blog entry's title, I wanted to share my humble opinion on Don Imus' firing: it's not a free speech issue. Free speech means that you can say what you want and you can't be arrested for it (well, besides yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there is, in fact, no fire). Free speech does not mean that a radio conglomerate is required to leave a dummy on the air if doing so costs them millions of dollars in advertising revenue. It ain't personal, it's business.

So what's the brouhaha about? Methinks it's that there's a raging case of double (or triple, or quadruple) standards. We've got folks cherry-picking their outrage at racist, sexist, and other -ist remarks. We've been hearing lots of "What about hip-hop? And the radio stations that play it? They denigrate in their lyrics. So why don't we protest them and get them fired?" Essentially, some white folks are feeling like there's a zero-tolerance policy for their verbal missteps, but there's no parity in punishment when members of other races do the same thing.

To which I say: Nuh-uh. In February, 2005, Todd Lynn and Rick Delgado were fired from Hot 97. According to this article, Delgado was fired for his part in writing, producing, and airing "The Tsunami Song," and Lynn was let go for making "offensive, racially insensitive comments while on the air." This is a more apt comparison to Imus' case than the creation and broadcast of hip-hop.

Now, having gotten that out of the way...

I was in a 7-11 on Friday night as the Hubby and our kiddoes wended our way to New Jersey for a visit with a college pal. There was a fella, mid-forties by the look of him, railing against rap music and the hypocrisy of the self-appointed leaders of the black community for not tackling the harsh language ensconced within insta-hits like Mims' "This Is Why I'm Hot." It was clearly a regurgitation of whatever he'd seen on CNN that day.

Anyway, his argument was running out of steam whilst I waited to pay for my cuppa joe. He trailed off with one last slam at the hip hop community, stating, "I mean, have you even heard some of the things they say on Richard Simmons' Def Jam?"

I pricked my ears. I arched an eyebrow. I thought, "Wait, that sounds wrong. OH. He meant Russell Simmons' Def Jam." And I was very glad that Grumpy left the store, because I started giggling, and I did so all the way to the car. Can you imagine what Richard Simmons' Def Jam would look like? Maybe a little something like this:

Man, I wish that I had PhotoShop so that I could make the picture that's in my mind's eye. Oh well. I think this conveys the point.

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