Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Imus and the Ho-Bag Scandal

The already getting tiresome story of radio personality Don Imus (picture #2) insulting the Rutgers women's basketball team has all the ingredients of a classic Wolfden V post. Let's run down the checklist:

-Someone in the public spotlight saying something stupid. Check.
-Those insulted foolishly flail about making a story out of something that would otherwise go away. Check.
-Greater themes of social and gender equity being drawn out of a spur of the moment, inconclusive piece of information. Check.
-Newscasts offering ample coverage of otherwise anonymous folk. Check.
-Most importantly, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson offering perspective. Check minus. The only bit of Jesse Jackson I can thus far find is this image of him (picture #1) marching with a sign having nothing to do with this controversy or support of the Rutgers team. No, it's promoting his Rainbow Push Coalition. Thanks Jesse, for once again offering absolutely nothing except the ambiguous reminder to "keep hope alive!"

So this all started with the widly (?) popular Don Imus offering his expert insight on women basketball runners-ups Rutgers Scarlet Knights. He called them all "nappy-headed hos." I'm not entirely sure what that means. Being the not-at-all responsible journalist that I am on this blog, I decided to look up "nappy." One definition said it was a small shallow dish and yet another said "kinky." A Yahoo picture search of "ho bag" offers luggage (picture #3), which also goes with theme of odd meanings to this whole phrase. Imus picked a funny derogatory word. I'm led to believe that it does have some racial degradation implication, so we'll go with that.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm fairly confident this would have all gone away as I can't imagine that Don Imus is regularly on the radar of Rutgers basketball. No, instead we decided to make a scene about this with Imus apologizing to anyone who will listen and news shows tripping over themselves to get coverage of the story. Al Sharpton had Imus on his radio show, which is probably listened to by even fewer people than Imus's program.

In the excerpt I heard, Sharpton took advantage of having Imus on his program to grill him. About the disrespect? No, of course not. Sharpton was mad that Imus had said that Sharpton had no right to call for Imus' firing. Imus denied ever saying that and said that Sharpton was entitled to his opinion. Sharpton, continuing to hear what he wanted to hear, replied, "So you believe you should be fired, then?" At the end of the exchange, Imus actually came out way ahead simply because he sat next to Paula Abdul, er, Al Sharpton's blubbering.

So then what of the Rutgers' team? They decided to hold a press conference to discuss feelings. Essence Carson, a junior, said, "We haven’t done anything to deserve this controversy, and yet it has taken a toll on us mentally and physically."

Physically? Really? Vomiting induced by insensitive remarks, perhaps?

Coach C. Vivian Stringer added, "[The players] are articulate, they are gifted. They are God’s representatives in every sense of the word.”

I'm sure they are articulate and gifted. They are in college, after all. But they are God's representatives of what? Forget "every sense of the word," how about one sense of the word? How is this related to Imus?

In an interview with NBC newscaster Brian Williams, Stringer also said that she would trade the national championship to make the world a better place with a happy outcome and educated populace after this situation. One problem. While a happy thought, she doesn't have the national championship to trade.

Mike and Mike in the Morning decided (for some reason) to get Stuart Scott's opinion on the matter. His ramblings referenced a dislike of blue eyed, blond haired women and his pride of choice in haircut. He wrapped up by wisely utilizing the example of Snoop Dogg and his "music" in saying that only black people can say bad things about black people. Huh?

In all, it's one of those situations where everyone gets so emotionally charged that nothing is making sense anymore. Was Imus over the line? Absolutely. Do people say oddball things once they get offended? Definitely. Is Don Imus an attractive man? Incredibly.


CHCgirl said...

Since this is the 2 year anneversary (April 11... a date that will live in infamy) the people I feel for are the actual players who probably are being thrust into this by various outside groups (the coaches, school, etc) when they would rather not focus on the "national firestorm" with them being referred to as "hos" I would imagine some girls find that embarrassing. Kind of like being disqualified in election for "unfair advantage" At least no one said I was nappy, kinky, or a piece of luggage.
Another great post =)

JR said...

I have nappy hair after I take a nap.

Edwin said...

I accidentally flipped on a local Indianapolis newscast last night and the lead story (and top 6 minutes of the broadcast) were dedicated to HOOSIER REACTIONS TO IMUS' COMMENTS Really? Hoosier reaction? Rutgers in New Jersey! I weep whenever I see this story on TV.