Friday, April 13, 2007

Old Fools

This coming summer, Don Imus will be 68 and John McCain will be 71. Not only are Imus and McCain both old fools, they have another circumstance in common. They both have been used by the rich white power elite. To cluck tongues and wag fingers about the language used by rappers and everyone else in the entertainment field is to ignore the group who elevated Don Imus to his position of power. Rappers and shock jocks may talk trash and use ugly locutions, but they have no power of their own until the conservative moguls with money anoint their mojo. To say that John McCain made a huge mistake and is paying for it is to overlook who put McCain in the position to be a lightning rod for the Republican Party. The Repubs are paying for McCain’s faux pas and the Repubs are not likely to let McCain off the hook. Whatever McCain says from here on out is from a script handed him by the conservative moguls with dough. Both Imus and McCain forgot they were owned by the establishment. They both forgot that at any moment everything could be taken away that had been bestowed. An interesting article by Tim Rutten in the LA Times this morning, equated the insult Imus lobbed at the Rutgers University women's basketball team with Ann Coulter’s fall from grace. Rutten said, “Our current media culture tolerates all sorts of mean-spirited and offensive speech, but every once in a while, the practitioners of invective blunder onto a target that's just too sympathetic and our collective gag reflex is triggered.” With Coulter, it was when she insulted the 9/11 widows. And Imus crossed the line, Rutten said, when he “affronted an accomplished and attractive group of young women, who could have been any proud parents' daughters.” McCain crossed the line when he said people could safely walk around a Baghdad market while he was photographed surrounded by US soldiers, protected by US helicopters and wearing a bullet proof vest. It’s not that the conservative rich white guys who run things are outraged. It’s that they are exquisitely sensitive to the point when the public will be outraged. It’s also interesting that one particular trait is necessary to tip the scales against a popular icon. That person has to be so self-absorbed that he is numb to the hurts that he inflicts. Until this current flap, Don Imus only heard praise and the encouraging words of the men at the top for whom his racial slurs and insults spelled MONEY. And John McCain says he doesn’t care what the American people want. McCain knows what he wants and what he wants is the way it will be. The old fool’s plaint is always the same: You mean you never loved me for myself? Oh woe! No Don. No John. Your asset was getting sponsors. No dough? You gotta go.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

This has got to be the first time that anybody went overboard making fun of Rutgers.

(frank concession: Engineering ’86, Grad School-NB ’90)