Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Blizzard: Don Imus, Josh McCown and Wacky Literature

With greater internet access, I'm able to do more short comments and find more links. I'll call this feature "The Blizzard" because if every other blog has a pseudo-witty title for its links posts, I should too. But it will be more thank just links, as you can see.

Why outrage against Don Imus may be misplaced
Clearly, Imus used derogatory racist and sexist terms to insult a completely innocent party, and he should be rightly taken to task for it. Some people think a two-week suspension is not enough punishment. Perhaps not, but a two-week suspension is not all Imus is getting. The majority of the country now seems to despise him. All major mainstream news sources are devoting time to criticizing, analyzing, and lambasting Imus. Advertisers are abandoning his show, and Imus has to go around apologizing and acting contrite. Putting aside the fact that these were words (hateful, offensive words, but words) and not a crime, I’d say that’s a pretty severe punishment.

But who is Imus? He’s a talker. He goes onto radio and television and talks. If he is not a racist, he at least has a history of saying racist things. Words have power, and so it is important to criticize him—but where is there more power?

Trent Lott once said the country would have been better off if a segregationist had been elected president. He’s now the minority whip in the Senate. Robert Byrd is a former Klansman that once filibustered Civil Rights legislation. He’s currently a U.S. Senator. These are men with REAL power, the power to make laws, the power to dictate policy. And so I believe we should devote about 100 times more attention to these people in power who have racist pasts—they can have a much stronger effect on the country than Imus. Institutional racism is everywhere, and we need to confront it with more energy than we devote to outing racists, not less.

Josh McCown
According to the Detroit News (via PFT), Josh McCown wants out of Detroit. I don’t blame him. I’m not in the habit of showing sympathy for millionaires (after all, the Lions paid him $4 million last year), but as a football player, he got hosed by the Lions last year. The team was 3-13 last year. At one point they were 0-5, and by week 12 they were 2-9 and safely out of playoff contention. And yet the Lions stuck with Jon Kitna rather than seeing what McCown could do in game action. Are you telling me the Lions might have won LESS than 3 games if McCown was given a shot? Or that if they would have won less games, that would matter?

The Detroit News article notes that McCown's record as a starter in Arizona was 10-12: impressive, when you consider that during his four years in Arizona they were 10-32 in games he didn't start. I still think he could be a good quarterback.

Sports Links
Signal to Noise looks at "The Duke Lacrosse Case as Rorschach Test."

Cold, Hard Football Facts
looks at legendary RBs taken in the top-5 of the NFL draft.

Alessandra Stanley has an article in the NY Times examining how despite a "suspension," Imus is still everywhere talking.

Inside Higher Ed looks at the issue of college coaches leaving their programs (and players) for other jobs.

Non-sports Links
Inside Higher Ed's Scott McLemee looks at Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, calling it "Shakespeare's batshit crazy play." He's right--it's wild--and if you don't want to read the play, I think the Anthony Hopkins film version is spectacular.

Via Arts & Letters Daily, this essay by Germaine Greer in The Guardian has a title that speaks for itself: "Yes, Frankenstein really was written by Mary Shelley. It's obvious--because the book is so bad"


  1. Jason Whitlock has an interesting column on the Imus Affair. He has similar thoughts as you, that the anger and outraged is aimed at the wrong people.

  2. Can't disagree with your argument. I think the simple explanation is that even a relatively minor celebrity like Imus probably has a much higher name recognition than does the average senator.

    I think the more complex explanation goes back to what you were saying yesterday. It's easy to suspend Imus for two weeks and say, "see, we hate racism". It's hard to accept that a senator actually believes, or at least is willing to say, segregation would be good and move onto a fuller discussion of what role racism really does play in society today.

  3. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Mullah Cimoc say ameriki not free now. benjamin franklin him so sad if see amerika.

    truth: them have tattoos and knappy hair and in waziristan any the woman have tattoo is ho. fo show.

    Did not english ancestor subdue king at runnymeade for make truth a defense at law.

    so control the usa media by masters in tel aviv acting through monopolists and FCC bureaucracy, keep all ameriki so stupid for killing the muslim and the torture.

    for this aemriki be punish. all him land go to the aztec and maya. him woman be slut taking the LBT (low back tattoo)
    during this time him daughter the goverment making her take the shot for destroy the sexual organs. him so tame him not even fight. him like the woman and the homosexual. him not to fight for him own daughter, this not real man.

    amerika need google: mighty wurlitzer +cia

    education for understand control media of usa nazi regime.

  4. Of course there are bigger and better targets, such as Lott and Byrd. The problem is that, much like Imus' constituency, they have locked in bases in Mississippi and West Virginia that won't vote them out.

    My only objection to discussion of the Imus situation, such as it has been, is that it always seems to presume that he is a nobody shock jock before this happened. I don't think that's true: if you have senators, congresspeople, big name political journalists, etc. appearing on your radio program, you are part of the offical CW when it comes to the political power structure. That can't simply be dismissed as a bad joke.

    I'm just disappointed that the story has become compartmentalized into one incident of race yet again in general (I don't mean here) as to which "team" is right or wrong, and rather than using this as sort of a jumping-off point to exploring race, mass media has turned it into an overextended spectacle (although I shouldn't be surprised.)

    So while I've called for Imus to be fired, I'm not even sure that's the best option any longer.