Has anyone else struggled to hear what’s going on in the world today with the 24/7, largely-missing-the-point coverage of old sexist racist pig Don Imus milking another 500,000 viewers thanks to his latest remarks? This has been his schtick for years – I can confirm at least 10, based on hearing his WFAN show. I couldn’t believe the guy had a job when I heard him in ’96 for the first time, but apparently there was then and still is a huge audience for sexist racist talk.
I see this as an issue of misogyny, with a special though not exclusive focus on a hatred of women of color. The women on the team and the coach have come forward and said they see this as primarily an attack on women. I couldn’t agree more.
Student-athletes have special burdens, and young women who come to learn and play have serious challenges. Title 9 gets them a program, but it doesn’t undo the learned sexism most of us have picked up along the way. (I say this as a former manager of “Athletic Tutoral Services” at my alma mater.)
But serious green can impart a perverse “legitimacy” – the longevity and audience loyalty brings in a reliable revenue stream. Even the composed 20 yo captain of the Rutgers women’s b-ball team has a handle on this. In paraphrase, she said, As long as Imus makes ratings and money, who can argue with him, or the people who come to his show?
I think the penalty should also be levelled at the networks who carry his program and the guests who agree to be on his show, who are implicit in their endorsement of his views and behaviour.
Let’s get a list of the pols and media people who beg to be on his show, particularly on their book tours, and tell them we’re not interested in buying their books. That we’re not going to purchase the goods or services of the advertisers to their programs.
Let’s make it clear that while we support free speech, we also support accountability and consequences. I wonder how “ok” public misogyny will be if it doesn’t make anyone any richer.