I’ve been trying to get my own radio show for a long time, but the only people who seem to get these gigs are folks like Don Imus.
What’s Don Imus got that I don’t? Let’s face it, I say stupid things all the time. I’m out of touch with reality. The youth culture of America frightens and confuses me. I should be a shoe-in!
With that said, I’m tickled by the Imus controversy. He has shown himself to be more pathetic than anything else. He’s an crotchety old man completely isolated from the larger culture of America.
For instance, his remarks, as I understand it, stemmed from the fact that some of the Rutgers players have tattoos. How many of us know someone with a tattoo, or have a tattoo ourselves? There was a time, I suppose, when only sailors and convicts had tattoos. Imus still lives in that age, when men wore fedoras and a coke cost a nickel. (He is THAT OLD.) A tattoo signified a bad seed (and rock and roll music rotted the brain). But a tattoo signifies nothing these days, except that the person who has it, wanted it. Imus is too out of touch to understand that. Or just about anything else. Look at the stupid hat he wears, for god’s sake.
The response from the Rutgers players was perfect. I characterize it as bemused. They defended themselves with quiet grace. Some of them even laughed about it. You would think that Don Imus and his aging white male out-of-touch frightened audience would look at the Rutgers players as role models: academic athletes who will do well in life, people who make them feel a little safer, whose existence assuages their white male guilt, so they can say “see, the American system works and isn’t racist and sexist!” But instead of expressing this only slightly less demeaning rationalization, Imus simply denigrates them, their achievements, and their humanity. (And even seeing them as “role models” is patronizing in the first place: why should it be surprising that young African-American women are smart and well-spoken (with or without tattoos)?)
I’m glad Imus made a fool of himself. He’s simply an old fool. He and his ilk are dying off, thankfully, and they won’t see the Rutgers players running companies, healing sick people, holding elected office, and just maybe hosting their own radio shows. He’d probably say something nasty about them, anyway.