Friday, April 13, 2007

Screaming loudly at the media bandwagon

I didn't want to write about Don Imus. I really didn't.

(For those of you living under a rock, or in a cave, on Mars, with your fingers in your ears, Google "don imus").

The guy (who really has a face for radio) is a dumbass, made a statement that removed all doubt that he was a dumbass, and...all manner of media hell broke loose.

I'd resist the "chumming the water for sharks" metaphor here if weren't so apt. World News Tonight had a feature on it nightly (the Iraq war I don't think got every night coverage, or if it did, not as much). Al Sharpton was involved.

And once the hype got to a certain level, it was a relieft Imus was fired. Because the alternative was that this level of hype for Imus (who I wouldn't have recognized if he walked up to me on Peachtree Street two weeks ago) would be used as a ratings stunt and legitimize dumbass statements.

What's left is that it does seem to legitimize blowing things out of all proportion. If the media hadn't picked up on the story, or say, if it was Joe Sixpack on a Kansas AM sportstalk station, odds are the Rutgers team wouldn't have even heard of the comments. Of course if any of them were Imus listeners, my whole theory here's shot to hell, but I kind of doubt it.

Call me cynical, but I agree with Jason Whitlock's column in that Rutgers is using the whole thing for postive PR/recruitment that they wouldn't have had the oppurtunity to do otherwise. Again, not saying they weren't hurt by the comments, and the private meeting with Imus was good policy, a 30-minute speech from the coach seems straight from the marketing and PR deptarment, not the heart to me. Will the extra coverage mean Rutgers gets a girl who was dead set on UConn or UT? Well, probably not. I guess the whole thing is a bit unnerving.

And as for Imus's remark being sexist...well, perhaps I need an updated OED, because I don't see it. At no point was he espousing a superiority of men angle. Racially-charged? Sure. But the gist of the thing seemed to be Imus found the Lady Vols attractive and the Rutgers ladies: not as much so re hott. And if it's sexist to consider some women more attractive than other women I'm afraid I'm guilty of it too. It was a dumbass thing to say, and superficial as all hell...but so are all the comments about football/baseball players' butts made by straight women (well, superficial...those comments only reach dumbass territory if say the comment comes after the nicely-posteriored player screws up royal.)

I don't really doubt Imus does think deep down that women are in some way inferior to men (he just gives off a kind of "things were better in the 50s" vibe to me) and I'm not saying there aren't serious issues in the country worth discussing...but let's do it the right way. Let's not label the superficial as sexist, because that way lies a messy and slippery slope.

And lastly, folks, if you have an idea for a story, no matter how half-baked it is, send it to the national news folks and the AP. And tell them you want to see a variety of stories, not the same issue blown out of proportion and hyped beyond belief (see also: the Anna Nicole nonsense that's still ongoing, Britney Spears's hair and panties updates etc.)

Again, I'm not denying Imus is a world-class douchebucket (Atlanta traffic has resulted in me inventing new invectives to swear at people, "douchebucket" is one), but is the story of his dumbass comment really more newsworthy than say:
1. Troops being told they get an extra 3 months in Iraq?
2. The supposedly impregnable Green Zone housing the Iraqi Parliment getting suicide-bombed?
3. Former Bush crony Paul Wolfowitz giving a brobdingnagian pay raise to his mistress (possibly as a silence payment)?
4. Genocide in Darfur?
5. _______?

(Side note: I also figured, somewhat cynically, that it wouldn't be long before this whole thing made its way to tshirts...And I was right Give it a day before Tshirt Hell has one with Imus's face on it...)

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Hmm...I'm blogging again. Who is Imus?