Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus[sed] up

Let me start by saying I am not a Don Imus fan. I don't find him funny in any way shape or form. Sometimes the people around him are funny, but Imus himself doesn't do anything for me. That said, I'm trying to understand what the big deal is with his comments regarding the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team. I understand that what he said was insulting, and probably not in good taste, and probably not the smartest thing he could have done, but when has Imus ever been in a) nice, b) in good taste, or 3) smart? The guy makes a living off saying stuff to piss people off, regardless of whether it's factually based or not. When you think Imus, or Howard Stern, or Mancow, or any other so called "shock jocks," you don't really think of people who say nice things about everything, who always have a pleasant demeanor - these guys aren't Pleasantville. They humor us by saying stuff that we might have thought at one point in time, but either didn't have the balls to say it out loud, or had the common sense to keep it to ourselves.

I know people are upset with Imus, but do they realize that by yelling all they are doing is driving up Imus' ratings? And does Rutgers realize that they are getting more press than a Women's Championship Runner Up has ever received? Let's be honest, there aren't many people who care about women's basketball. People probably have heard the name Pat Summit, they are probably aware that Tennessee won the Women's championship, but I would bet that without Imus' comments, a very small percentage of the US would be aware that Rutgers was in the Championship game. Somewhere on the Rutgers campus, someone is doing backflips at all the press the University is receiving.

Here is what went down on Imus' show:

DON IMUS: So, I watched the basketball game last night between -- a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women's final.
SID ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night -- seventh championship for Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
IMUS: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and --
BERNARD McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some -- woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like -- kinda like -- I don't know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
IMUS: Yeah.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes -- that movie that he had.
IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough --
CHARLES McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
IMUS: I don't know if I'd have wanted to beat Rutgers or not, but they did, right?
ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.

Ok so yeah, what the guys said were stupid, inappropriate, not very nice, and racist. They were making a joke. An insenitive joke, but a joke nonetheless. A joke that wasn't very funny, so we don't laugh. Do we really need to make a big deal about it? Is the world going to change because we called out Don Imus on a joke gone wrong? Does having a tattoo really make one "tough"? Do we think for one minute that because Imus and his crew called these women "ho's" that they really are? Did anyone think that Imus had ever met any of these women? And again why do we give a rat's ass what Don Imus says? Are people going to hear him, and say "yeah you know what, those girls are ho's"? Even if they think that, what happens then? The world comes to a screeching halt?

Racism exists - I know that. It's still out there. But what Imus said - was it racist or just stupid? Most of the time the two go hand in hand, but in this case I think they were separate. I don't believe Imus is racist, I just think he tries to say things that other people wouldn't. He makes a living out of making fun of every race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc. Should he hold back and not make fun of black people because it might come out racist? Is racism worse than sexism or homophobia? Rappers uses the terms "ho" and "nappy haired ho" in their music, so where is the kicking and screaming to get them to stop? Because the majority of rappers are black it's ok to use that language? A "no one beats up my sibling but me" kind of thing? So it becomes racist if someone of a different race says it? What Imus said was just plain stupid and not funny. No need to make this a national agenda.

And let's be honest about something, most women basketball players are not very attractive. I don't know what Imus was watching, but the Tennessee players aren't going to be winning any beauty pageants themselves. I'm looking at their pictures now, and...well, not so much. We're not talking about stunners here.

Again, I know there is still racism in the world, and I know that we have a long way to go, but I think one step is we have to relax and stop worrying about what stupid people say. Stupid people will say stupid things - that's what stupid people do. So what does that make those who listen to the stupid people and bitch and moan and complain everytime they say something stupid? Who's the bigger fool, the fool - or those who pay attention to the fool?

The bottom line is that the members of the Rutgers women basketball team are not asked to look like models - they're asked to play basketball. And apparently they play basketball quite well. Rutgers was a 4 seed that upset Duke and LSU on their way to the Championship game. They had an amazing run. They are a young team that will probably only get better. And nothing Imus said takes away from that.

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