Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Time to Fire

Lots of pundits and personages have been coming to the defense of the indefensible Don Imus over the last few days. The usual reason is that with Imus' public apology for the latest in a long series of racist slurs, many of them think that he was "sincere" in his apology so he deserves "forgiveness."

Fuck forgiveness. Forgiveness is a way of the forgiver seeking to absolve themselves for their own inner demons.

Forgiveness is something that should be used sparingly at best. Forgiveness voids, for the select few who receive it, the penalty that the less-famous and connected pay on a daily basis. Forgiveness is frequently used as a means of tilting the playing field in favor of those who have enough fame, fortune, and friends so that they don't have to be subjected to the consequences that average people experience. It is usually argued for based on a subjective evaluation of the circumstances built around the preformed opinion of the perpetrator's innate goodness. If there is to be forgiveness, it should be reserved for the weakest of us, not the most powerful.

Nearly all of the current supporters of forgiveness for Imus that I have seen were people who were openly vindictive about Bill Clinton when aspects of his sex life became public, and not a one of them advocated forgiveness for him after his own public mea culpas. A scalp was the only thing that would please them.

Where were these noble souls when Stanley "Tookie" Williams was being pumped full of the fluids of lethal injection? It could certainly be argued that his conversion and the sincerity of his regret was more demonstrable and consistent than that of the repeat-offending Imus.

The fact is that Imus is trying to claim that he is only a poor, persecuted l'il shock jock in it just for the humor when in reality he is an extremely powerful figure, second only to Oprah in ability to catapult the career of authors and political figures, and he freely blurs the line between his "comedy" and his political statements. He's welcome to do that on his own dime, but when it comes to the airwaves that are owned and regulated by and for the people of the United States of America, Imus is playing both sides of the game and that is not right and should not be permitted any longer. He has abused his position one too many times and he must go.

If you think that it was all right for Imus to say what he said about some intelligent, industrious, accomplished and respectable young women on the air, then that means that you should also think it would be all right for somebody like Al Sharpton to have a conversation about young white debutantes who happened to be momentarily caught in the spotlight of publicity but were not public personages and refer to them as something like "bleached blonde trailer-trash blowjob queens" at the moment they were in the midst of some admirable and respectable pursuit that just happened to catch the media's fickle attention.

If you're not cool with that, then you are probably just seeking to forgive yourself for secretly wishing you could voice your own unconscious racism.


Blogger Ronni said...

None of them have forgiven Jane Fonda.

I'm tired of being accused of hoarding anger because I haven't forgiven my ex-husband for being a lousy father.

I'm not about to forgive Bush, either.

3:37 AM  

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