I’ve listened or watched Don Imus for over 30 years. In all that time, he has offended probably not only every ethnic group, but pretty much anyone who deigns to breathe the same air as the I-Man.
He’s survived some serious addictions, and he’s as cranky as a 90 year old searching vainly for his Metamucil. Yeah, he really screwed up this time. What he said about the Rutgers women was despicable. Taken alone, out of context, you’d think he was some racist shock-jock de-facto caste system supporter.
Like I said, I’ve listened to the guy a long time. Nobody wants to hear that he has black friends or has given lots of money and more important, lots of his time urging more attention be given to sickle cell research. The ‘oh, some of my best friends are black’ as an excuse is as dated as that movie where Sidney Poiter comes home for dinner.
What I do believe in is context and forgiveness. Imus screwed the pooch. He’s facing severe consequences including at minimum a two week suspension and possibly the eventual loss of sponsors and his show. He will not whine. He understands what he did and will face the music.
If he does disappear, we’ll miss one of the few talk shows where guests of all political persuasions are treated equally with faux disrespect and ultimately with the highest level of respect: Imus listens. He has done more for book sales than anyone east of Oprah. He gives his time and money to ensure that thousands of kids with cancer have a life experience that many people would assume is impossible.
Is he always fair? Hell no. Is he truly sorry for what he said, or just that he got called out? I don’t claim to see into the heart of a man, but I’m willing to bet on the heart of Imus. He’s terribly flawed, an absolute ass at times and doesn’t pretend to feel good just because he’s on the air and supposed to be entertaining.
So yeah, he said something awful, but I’m hoping there’s room for forgiveness. I identify way too closely with the terribly flawed who can be absolutely ass-like.