….And You All Think *I’M* a Coot?

I’m torn on this Dom Imus thing.

Ok – actually I’m not. The guy creeps me out. Even if he never opened his mouth, he’s like something from Tales from the Crypt. …but that’s just the low blow.

Like the interpretation on the 2nd Amendment to bare arms (and silky smooth legs), free speech is only kind of free. There’s yelling ‘fire’ in the movie house and then there’s flag burning. There is opinion and then there’s hate speech. You have the right to say almost anything you want – but there’s a price, isn’t there?

One of my brothers-in-law used to be married to one of Imus’ daughters. No shock that he still actually likes Imus. Though I haven’t spoken with him, I bet he thinks what Don said was just fine. This is the same guy who would have banned the Dixie Chicks from radio forever.

Fox “news” is out there defending Imus and how he should not be suspended of fired. These were the same folks who were all for the demise of the Dixie Chicks four years ago – right? And in reality, the Chicks didn’t say anything nearly as bad. Saying they were embarrassed to be from the same state as Bush was hardly a denouncement of the president, the troops or the then possible war. Media and special interest groups (you know – Bush’s friend, the head of Clear Channel) made it into a lot more than it ever was or should have been.

What Imus said was a lot more targeted in his thoughts and hate. It was not only race related, but misogynistic too. At best. The apology doesn’t cut it in my book. He took his view out on a frickin‘ college basketball team. Even if the Chicks were more than just embarrassed by sharing Texas with Shrub, it was on the eve of war, not post-NCAA competition.

Though some folks said the Chicks had a right to say what they did, so did other people by not buying tickets or cds, etc. I can’t say I liked that, but in a way you have to respect it. They went from selling 10 million disks to 2 million afterwards….even with critical acclaim for their last disk. While I would have loved to see them sell 10 million and it was painful to watch the hate people spewed at them – that was their right.  You can’t fire or suspend a recording artist per se. But it is in fact what happened. I won’t say their career is ruined, but very damaged, comparatively.

It’s why I don’t really care if Imus gets suspended or fired. He has the right to say what he thinks, I guess. But MSNBC has a right to answer to viewers and sponsors. If that means Imus goes – so be it.

With both Imus and the Chicks, there was no slip of the tongue. Neither might have been planned, but some thought went into what they said. At least Natalie Maines stood by her statement and never really apologized. I applaud that. Imus’ apology falls as flat as Mel Gibson’s – along with his last movie.

Four years after the fact, the Chicks could be considered vindicated, but weren’t…not really. Polls would agree that Bush isn’t doing the job and people think we shouldn’t be in Iraq. The Chicks just said it publicly before anyone else and took the fall for it.

I don’t think Imus is going to get the same kind of reprieve. No one is going to come back and say – “you know, they were nappy-headed hos”.

G-d, I hope not.

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