Perhaps more outrageous than Al Sharpton using the Imus matter as a steppingstone to greater prominence is the fact that so many people with little or no familiarity with Imus, and who not only didn't hear his remarks but who never hear his remarks, are so eager to label what he said as racist based on nothing more than the out-of-context coverage they've seen and and the cacophony of condemnation they've heard from others.
In other words, much of the criticism is spontaneously generated and rooted in both ignorance and a desire to stifle that which they, themselves, have deemed unacceptable. "I don't want to hear it, and I don't want you to hear it." According to Joseph Farah, it's for your own good, and more importantly, for your children's good.
One of the greatest things about the TV show Friends was that it showed how people can be fine, upstanding and decent in public but those same people can be small, insecure, juvenile, petty and probably even "racist" in private, and they might even have sexual proclivities you wouldn't stand for.
And despite all of that, they were not bad people – they were average Americans, and probably a lot better than most.
That's what the Imus in the Morning Radio Program is, a multi-level cross-section of life, and at its best, it was amazingly good. At it's worst, it was a botched joke or an over-the-top mistake. And from my perspective, it was a liberal showcase and platform.
But the show was (and hopefully will remain) unique..Not only is Imus the best interviewer around when he wants to be, he's done more for just causes than anyone I know. And not only does he raise funds for charities, he devotes much of his own life to helping kids with cancer. And most recently, he raised enormous sums of money for the Fallen Heroes Fund which built a state of the art rehab center in Texas for Injured soldiers. I've often said that I couldn't believe all he does for people, and that's even more amazing when you consider his age and station.
And even on a personal level he's affected me because his staff is so amazingly talented comedically that my jaw often drops in awe – when it's not dropped in shock. Bernard McGuirk has the quickest mind I've ever seen in comedy, bar none. Rob Bartlett and Larry Kenney are not only quick with the ad-libs themselves, but they're also brilliant impersonators, and the characters they create are as good as any the old-time big name comedians have done.
Then there's Charles McCord, mild-mannered newscaster in his day job who transforms into super comedy writer in his off-camera hours. Mr McCord is simply THE best. Not only does he write the script Larry reads so brilliantly, but he probably supplies Mr. Imus with ideas and "spontaneity" as well. And even on-air, Charles is passive-aggressively hilarious, seeming to chime in with the perfect bitingly sarcastic one-liner at just the right moment. Then, the next moment he's tempering and providing the voice of reason for an. Imus runaway rant.
Charles McCord has had a huge effect on the way I see things and write about them. In fact, early on, I first marveled at his work, then tried to imitate him, and I remember that when I realized I could, however poorly. I was elated and grateful that MSNBC had provided this "service" for me.
Imus also has people on whom you'll never see anywhere else, and even if you did, you wouldn't watch because the format, the no-name host and the guest himself would be so dull and dry as to be more distracting than informing. But Imus made people come alive. And if they didn't, he'd "dress them up" so as to make the interview still fun and enlightening. And he did this so well and so often that I was willing to endure his endless parade of filthy liberal friends.
Not only that but Imus got me to read books (that's right, Imus sells more books than anyone but Orca the Killer Winfrey) I would not only never have opened, I would never have heard of without him. Several by Pete Hamil come to mind, and not only was I thankful for Imus having exposed me to them, but they greatly expanded my horizons and awareness.
And that leads me back to what most troubles me apart from the free expression part of all this – that lots of little, ignorant, talentless ill-informed and yes, stupid (and if you twist my arm, worthless) people are not only willing but anxious to condemn Imus and dismiss the incredible amount of good he's done.
Imus himself has learned who his friends are, and because I know who it was he thought were friends, it's interesting now to watch these people he had as regulars now not just distancing themselves, but piling on. Imus said this morning that he was particularly disappointed with Harold Ford for whom he received death threats for supporting in his Senate run in Tennessee. And I hear that the filthy communist, Anna Marie Cox is now bad-mouthing him. I personally witnessed the always insignificant Craig Crawford trying to be "objective" on one hour of Ms. NBC's evening cesspool.
I know that "nappy-headed hos" in reference to a young women's basketball team sounds horrible – if that's all you read or know.. But while it was definitely the wrong thing to say, to have that result in the loss of so much good, both in terms of philanthropy, entertainment and information, is a greater wrong, and that's even before you consider the greater empowerment it hands to Jesse Sharptons of this country.
In other words, you don't have to like what Imus said, but you ought to back unreservedly his right to say it because he does infinitely more good than bad, and probably far more good than you were aware.
And to put it in perspective, while I can't imagine why you would, if you've ever bought a rap "song," you've done more harm than Imus.Might I suggest buying Randy Newman's Short People instead?