I believe the freedom of expression. I also believe that we may have been better off when there was some air of civility in this country, where you were polite to people and watched your language. Now, it's all about "shock-jocks". And one of them said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Couldn't stop flapping your gums, could you, Don? While your charitable efforts have been enormous, you have tarnished them with your vitriol towards some young women who didn't deserve it.
That said, I hope that this is not the end of the discussion. Meredith Vieira, who is one of those "women-I-would-love-to-meet-someday", was speaking with the Rev. Sharpton last week on the Today Show (her interview can be read here: http://newsbusters.org/node/11990), and she put it so eloquently into words. As Rev. Sharpton was talking about the need for government-regulated broadcasting, she said
"Let's talk about accountability, sir. Because when you had Imus on your show on Monday you brought your daughter out at one point, and this really resonated with me because I have a daughter. And you asked him to look at your daughter and you said "this is not a ho. This is my daughter." A lot of people around the country understood what you were saying because so many young ladies and young men, every day on the airwaves are exposed to ugly language: to the n-word, to the b-word, to the word 'ho,' much of it originated in the black community with rap music, with hip-hop music, as you have acknowledged. What are you going to do now to immediately stop that filth that is coming over the airwaves in the way you've tried to stop Don Imus?"
Yes, Rev. Sharpton, what are you and your community going to do? Will you target the rappers and hip-hop artists next? Meredith went on to say that it "permeates through society". Another point well stated. I've had this discussion with my 11-yo and some of his friends. They were in the car one day and one of them wanted to hear a song on the radio. I couldn't tell it was a song at first; all the bleeps made it sound like the Emergency Broadcasting System's Test. I changed the channel. I was asked why, and I talked to them. I told them how I listen to almost all music, and I do like some rap, because it tells a story. I also talked about artists like Kanye West, and how he comes across in interviews as a very well-spoken intelligent young man. That is, until he opens his mouth to sing some of the crap he puts out, loaded with cuss words. And how that, IMHO, makes him look dumb, and stupid, and ignorant.
It's everywhere. I'm sick of turning on the radio and listening to some idiot, white or black, talking about being down in the 'hood wit' his homies and hos, followed by some bleeps, followed by more crap. And to be honest with you, I don't care what race you are, DO NOT say the N-word. If you think it's okay because you are black to say that word, then you are denying everything that people before you went through to NOT be called that. And Rev. Sharpton, please don't start the nonsense about it's-not-the-rapper's-fault, it's-the-record-executive-who-isn't-black's fault. It’s the entire industry’s fault, and it’s our fault for buying that crap. But let’s not be hypocrites. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you want Imus off the commercial airwaves, let’s get the foul-mouthed artists off, too.
This discussion should NOT end with Don Imus's firing. It must continue on, and ALL, regardless of race or gender, who spread their misogynistic, racist garbage, and those that profit from it, should be told to clean up their acts. Just as people called the advertisers for Imus's show and told those company execs that they would no longer buy their products if they supported the show, I think all of us should call the radio stations and tell them that we won't listen if they keep filling our airways with garbage.