Does anyone catch a smell of human sacrifice?
And whose sins has Don Imus been chosen to die for? What is going on here? The reaction seems so disproportionate to the offense, which was, basically, an old white guy trying feebly to talk like a rapper. Imunem. (Pronounced "I'm an M." That can be any M-word you want it to be.)
I mean -- I'm linking to it for the second time -- go read this and then come back and tell me Imus is a capital offender. He's just a jerk! He should apologize and make amends to those basketball gazelles, sure, but why is he, of his whole populous class of offenders, getting his throat cut on the altar? And Jesse Jackson getting all high and mighty about it, that's funny!
The selective sanctimony of our society is stupefying.
This is the third sudden, overwhelming wave of mass revulsion we've seen recently. O.J. Simpson, James Frey, and now Don Imus. The revulsion against O.J.'s vulturous book project was appropriate, and a relief; if people hadn't been able to feel outrage about that, it would've been scary. Frey lied, nobody died, but the truth was the first casualty. In each case, there was a sense of saturation, of critical mass about it: people had had it almost up to their craws with celebrity entitlement and mercenary truthiness, and then, bingo: a last straw. This seems to be the same sort of phenomenon: we've been swallowing so much crass, crude, rude, cruel crap for so long, it was just finally time to vomit, and Imus was the one who stuck his middle finger down our throat.
The outrage should be redirected from the hapless scapegoat to . . . what or whom? That's the problem. Who's to blame? The spirit of the age? If you burned it in effigy, who would it look like? Imus wasn't its worst mouthpiece, by a long shot.
(Watch reader_iam's space. Blogger was down, for her and maybe others, so we talked on the phone. She had heard, on MSNBC, a hint of what sounded an awful lot like monopolistic corporate collusion to censor speech, the big animals at the Peacock and the Eye getting together to seal Imus's fate. She'll tell you more, I hope.)
-- Oh -- the thing that maybe freaked me out about it the most: I heard someone, I think Tucker Carlson, say solemnly, in almost hushed tones, "Barack Obama said he should be fired," as if that had been the deciding factor, the nod that dropped the blade. Who is Barack Obama all of a sudden? God? King Solomon? Emperor Nero? Ann Althouse has commented that she finds Obama bland, and I do think his shoulders look narrower and his voice sounds less resonant and authoritative the more of this absurdly outsized expectation is heaped on him.
Have we gone crazy?
UPDATE: Now, of course, Imus has been dumped by CBS Radio as well. Interesting: I heard two black commentators on CNN, a man and a woman (I'm sorry not to have recorded their names; I'm trying to work, in the midst of multiple interruptions), both say that 1) they regretted that a more free-speech-friendly solution to this problem had not been found, and 2) they deplored the double standard that does not hold black rappers to equal account. Bravo!!
[YAY! Let out of school! The editor of the article I'm working on just e-mailed, "It's your birthday?? Stop working immediately! Especially since that article's probably getting postponed to the next issue." LET"S PARTY . . . ]