Chastizing [sic] Ishmael

“I Tivo Don Imus as much as I can because his putrid racist offerings are said to represent the secret thinking of the Cognoscenti.” Thus begins “How the Media Uses [sic] Blacks to Chastize [sic] Blacks,” a careful thought piece penned by the famous black novelist, poet, and polemicist Ishmael Reed.

It’s a curious start, to be sure: Don’t most people Tivo “Imus in the Morning” because they enjoy it? Surely taking in the clandestine racism of the strangely capitalized Cognoscenti is an odd reason to head to the Tivo.

But perhaps not for Mr. Reed: He appears to savor anti-black racism. In fact, he savors it so much that he enjoys inventing examples of it. Thus his article, which appears on Counterpunch, the “website” of anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist Alexander Cockburn, is chock-a-block with real and imagined slights against blacks.

Now, we must say for the record that we, unlike Mr. Reed, don’t Tivo Imus’ show; in fact, we never tune into it at all. We suppose this exonerates us from the “putrid racism” of the “Cognoscenti,” but it also means that we can’t comment on the offensiveness or inoffensiveness of the program. For all we know, it could be the radio equivalent of a Jimmy the Greek and Hitler conversation.

All the same, Mr. Reed offers a sufficient number of questionable statements in his article to leave us skeptical of his description of “Imus in the Morning” and Bernard McGuirk, one of the co-stars Reed detests so much that he can’t spell his name right. We mean, come on: How seriously can you take an author who writes this:

The blacks who are satirized by McGirk [sic] and others are usually displayed as committing malaprops, but, though white writers appear daily on the show, I’ve rarely seen a black author.

Doesn’t this seem to translate as “I, Ishmael Reed, am a famous black author, and yet I’ve never been a guest on Imus’ show”? Perhaps, Mr. Reed, this is because Imus prefers writers who can know that “media” is a plural noun?

But this is tame by Mr. Reed’s (low) standards. In the article he offers a number of howlers.

First, he labels “the Irish and Scot-Irish” “the traditional white-trash mercenaries.” Apparently, his regard for racism doesn’t extend too far beyond black people. That’s unsurprising, since Counterpoint offers its readers an obsessively negative focus on Israel and Jews in general. Clearly, the far Left’s intolerance for racism only goes so far.

As much as Mr. Reed detests Scots, he hates The New York Times even more. In fact, he refers to Bob Herbert as “a liberal and the token black on the New York Times’ Neo Con editorial page.”

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: It’s about time that someone pinpointed Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, and the rest of the raging neoconservatives at the Gray Lady as the Irving Kristol devotees they really are.

Naturally, you’d expect such a fair assessment from a fellow who refers to David Brooks as someone “who promotes some of the same ideas as David Duke, but has a more opaque writing style.” We’re sure that Mr. Duke would be pleased by the compliment to his prose, but we have the sneaking suspicion he’s not waiting for Mr. Brooks’ Hanukah card to arrive in the mail.

To be fair, Mr. Reed appears to detest black people as much as white. Provided said blacks aren’t radical nutters. He refers, for instance, to the thoughtful John McWhorter as the “black front man for the Eugenics movement.” Boy, that’s fair.

And let’s add to that blatant factual inaccuracy: Mr. Reed claims that the dubious Pioneer Fund “also supported Charles Murray’s ‘The Bell Curve,'” though this is false. As if this all weren’t bad enough, take in this clunker:

Rupert Murdoch contributed 200,000 dollars and the Pioneer fund [sic] contributed thirty five thousand dollars to the campaign to end Affirmative Action in California, so that now Duke University and “Ole Miss” have a higher black enrollment than the University of California and California State University.

Would someone please inform the esteemed Mr. Reed that there is more than one University of California and more than one California State University? He’s beginning to come across as a bit of an idiot.

So, from our perusal of this article, we are willing to believe that Don Imus hasn’t extended an invitation to Mr. Reed for reasons entirely unrelated to racism, putrid or otherwise. We don’t mean to “chastize” him, but we think Mr. Reed ought to drop the giant chip on his shoulder and replace it with a spell-checker.

(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently debating whether they prefer Stokley Carmichael or Hoagy Carmichael.)

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  1. Hoagy April 16, 2006
  2. Muslihoon April 16, 2006
  3. kbiel April 17, 2006