For all these years, Imus stayed, barely, on the right side of the power equation. Always gone after public figures, or his bosses ...
... but then he screwed up. He didn't steal power, he used it. Used it to say just shitty things about people who, in our minds, just didn't deserve it. He broke the power equation. And when he did, we balked, even if we don't quite understand why this one got under our skin. The wiring goes both ways. It's actually heartening, because it confirms one of the admirable things about American society at large:
America loves a rebel.
America loves a bad boy.
But America hates a fucking bully.
Is this the start of a sea change? I don't know. Some people are even distressed at all the attention being paid to this -- after all, he's a shock jock, he says shocking things, why are we doing the victory dance? I don't know about that. People lump all shock jocks together, never realizing the damage context-less bullies do while skating under the radar of other funny shock-jocks. These guys have gotten a pass for a long time, like our racist, drunk uncle at Thanksgiving. At some point you have to slam your beer down on the coffee table and say "That's not cool." Not everybody will agree with you, and your mom will accuse you of ruining the shared fiction of the family holiday, and let's face it, you're not really going to change anything ... but you know it's the right thing to do.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
His Kung Fu is Indeed Strong
John Rogers pens the definitve analysis on the whole Imus affair...