DAY 13 of The Firing of Imus. What is going on here?

I was with two dear friends, D. and K., on Friday evening (we had gone to see “The Lives of Others”, an extraordinary movie about the methods of STASI secret police: I highly recommend it.)
After the movie we sat and talked in the Angelika cafe. And –of course– the subject of The Firing of Imus came up. I won’t try to give you chapter and verse, and commentary, on what we covered –anybody who has followed the issue is by now familiar with the many questions it raises. Let me just say: two hours later we were forced to invoke the “Agree to disagree” rule –a rule, by the way, that we had never had to resort to in a twenty year friendship.
I am/was very familiar with the Imus show; had made something of a study of it. And I had decided early on that he was not a racist: in my view, a racist could not have supported Harold Ford Jr. or Kinky Friedman in their political efforts last year.
My (wife and husband) friends were not familiar with the show but have strong feelings on the issue raised. And when –by way of giving them some Imus background– I listed a few of Imus’s by now notorious racist remarks, I could see their eyes widening, as if to say “How is the man Imus not a racist? And what on earth has happened to Malachi?”
I’ve been thinking about that, and at this point am not ready to attempt an answer. However, in reading over the last few days the range of comments made, I noticed that the majority of them generally favored D&K’s point of view, but that a few –among them Frank Rich & Dick Cavett– came down on “my” side the issue.
Also on “my” side –to a degree– was Pat Buchanan, not an endorsement that I put on the top of my list, but Pat is often worth listening to, has an engaging intellect and a personality that disposes him to vigorous debate. His snort of derision is a debater’s snort of derision, far removed from the average right wing snort –Limbaughs Pompous Narcissism, the Hannity Nasal Whine, or the O’Reilly Moralizing Bleat.
(For the record, Pat –who often came on the Imus show– thought that Imus had been stabbed in the back by many of his erstwhile pals. I would regard “stab” as ….,well, from the Buchanan lexicon: “deafening silence” would be more my take.)
So –the wellknown commentators came down on both sides of the many connected issues. I think that there are some very important
(and, apparently, quite explosive) questions to be confronted in all of this, and I will get back to those –soon.


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