Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 16, 2007 / 28 Nissan, 5767

T'ain't funny, Imus

By Suzanne Fields


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Don Imus is the anti-hero for our sordid times, the white shadow who reveals everything about the culture. Elvis Presley took black music and made it white, and that was shocking in the '50s, but his raw talent excused a lot. Rock 'n' roll developed as a fusion of black and white rhythms. Don Imus, it's fair to say, has no rhythm. He merely took the vocabulary of black rappers and made an insult of an unfunny attempt at a "joke." If a black celebrity had made a remark about a "nappy-headed ho" it would have passed without notice.


But the Imus controversy is not about Don Imus, but the culture. We've become so inured to vicious vulgarity that the language seeps into the talk of a man who regularly interviews serious politicians and media stars who want to be serious. They banter with him as if they're all just raunchy boys together.


Don Imus is a fusion talk-show host whose audience and guests have lost the ability to make clear distinctions between entertainment and news, between insult and opinion. His frequent guests say they're searching their souls to decide whether to appear on his show again, if he has a show again, and we can only mutter that it's about time.


"If it were anyone else, I wouldn't have anything to do with them," Bob Schieffer, the sometime anchorman of CBS News, tells The Washington Post. "But I'm not going to sever a relationship with someone who has apologized for what he said." Power in the media, like power in politics, means having to say you're sorry. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, a frequent guest, says he didn't like it when the I-man compared his wife to Squeaky Fromme, who tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford. "But it's part of the usual tone of the show." (What a thoughtful man.) Jeff Greenfield and Andrea Mitchell are awed by the clubbiness and salon-like atmosphere of the show, as if Imus rivals Oscar Wilde and Mme. de Stael in fusing the lifestyles of the wits and famous. The guests are eager to demonstrate, if only to themselves, how hip their repartee, even if their host is a serial insulter.


But it smacks of colossal hypocrisy when the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton become the arbiters of rectitude and righteousness. They're willing to sacrifice Imus because he's white. Men of the cloth they may be, but has anyone heard them scorn the black rapper celebration of drugs, violence and utter contempt of women? Our culture is gloriously enriched by the African American contributions — think W.C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King and the Delta blues singers — and the golden age of popular music became golden through the inspirations of ragtime, jazz, swing, blues and soul, speaking to our common humanity.


Shock for the sake of shock forces the popular culture to accept the darker side of angry music, which filters into the vernacular of everyday speech and is absorbed by those who should know better. Rappers black and white revel in the obscene, the sadistic, the racist and the nihilistic, and they're defended as mere reflectors of "authentic experience." Pop culture has often appealed to our baser instincts and that doesn't automatically make it bad. But when it is bad it's important to say so. Race has blurred critical distinctions to make it perilous to criticize a destructive black message in music. "Obscenity has become the preferred weapon of those willing to do anything to get a rise out of the public," writes Martha Bayles in her book "Hole in the Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music." That's what Imus and the rappers have in common.


Orlando Patterson, the sociologist, observes that rap dance-hall lyrics were originally innocent, harmlessly erotic, something he could listen and dance to with his daughters. But the lyrics became brutal, reflecting a sickness that "has nothing to do with any acceptable form of humor."


Saddest of all in this sordid story are the young women of the Rutgers basketball team, who were legitimately outraged but who bought into the hyperbole. "This has scarred me for life," one of them said. Someone, perhaps her coach, should reassure her that a month from now a new outrage will send this one down the memory hole. If only this episode would enable these women and others like them — and like us — to stand up to the celebrities notorious for their violent and vicious language and tell them to knock it off. For those who remember the more innocent radio days of the 1950s, they might have said, "T'ain't funny, McGee."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

Up

Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles