To Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes

By now, dear reader, you have read so much about the Don Imus brouhaha that you’re likely pleased as punch he lost his job. At least, in a few months or so, you won’t have to hear about that self-important shock-jock again. (Now if we could only do the same for Howard Stern.)

Still, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have found ourselves so collectively nauseated by the incessant media coverage of the Affair Imus that we thought we had to mention it. The 24-hour cable news networks, of course, can’t stop blathering on about the defenestrated Mr. Imus. To MSNBC’s competitors, Mr. Imus’ downfall is a great way to remind viewers of the trash their rivals puts on its airwaves each weekday morning. And to MSNBC…well, they’ve got some time to fill, now that they’ve given ole’ Imus the boot.

Now, let it be stated on the record that we have studiously avoided Mr. Imus’ late, un-lamented talk show. We–every last one of us–detest talk radio, and we found Mr. Imus more than a mite irritating. His remarks on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, furthermore, were deeply objectionable.

But, dear Lord, the orgy of media sanctimony regarding this mess seems so horrendous that it almost–almost–compels to defend the unworthy Don Imus. In fact, it all makes us wonder: If the mainstream media can force us into feeling bogus sympathy for Mr. Imus, can they compel us to esteem anyone? Are we merely a few Maureen Dowd insults away from defending Stalin? Mao? Or, worse yet, Rosie O’Donnell?

We certainly hope not. But one never knows.

To be honest, perhaps the most enraging part of the whole affair is the fact that we’re constantly bombarded with the same noxious caveat from white commentators on the Imus brouhaha. “Of course, as a white man,” they say, “I can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be a black woman and have to endure Don Imus’ racism and sexism.” Blah, blah, blah.

As far as we can determine, one hears a variation on this line pretty much every minute a white talking-head offers his heartfelt sentiments on the Affair Imus. It seems pretty much de rigeuer these days, like saying “please” and “thank you.”

Well, gee: As if we didn’t realize that Joe Scarborough doesn’t know what it’s like to be a black woman. Gosh: We never realized he was so myopic. We could have sworn that he had the inside scoop on the vicissitudes of black womanhood. Color us surprised.

Curiously, one never hears the reverse of this sentiment. In regard to the Duke lacrosse non-rape case, for instance, we never came across any non-rich, non-white person say, “Of course, as a non-rich, non-white man, I can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be a wealthy white lacrosse player and endure Mike Nifong’s machinations.”

Why is this? Why do non-white or non-rich people have perfect windows into the lives of their privileged Caucasian peers?

(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently wondering if the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team is upset that Rutgers stole their thunder. After all, they actually won the tournament.)

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