Hogan's Alley

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In Fairness To Imus

Andrew Sullivan reminds us that however offensive Don Imus is and has been over the years, he also has done much good for the kids who have attended the Imus Ranch for kids with cancer and blood diseases and the siblings of babies who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

In the summer months and in the odd week in spring and fall, Imus was on the air from New Mexico at 3:30 AM local time. Once off the air at 8:00 AM he joined the kids and the staff in the day's activities. Yes he bitched and whined about that and the thin air that made breathing difficult for the old coot, who suffered from COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. An oxygen tank was a regular companion.

According to the article sited above, the Ranch costs $1.8 million to operate each year. The "radiothon" that annually raises a good chunk of that money each year was to be held today and tomorrow. No doubt the results today were below expectation and there will be no fund raising tomorrow. If Imus somehow survives as an on the air personality, via satellite probably, he may maintain a large enough audience to sustain the Ranch. Contributions, plus his own funds may keep the place alive.

On the other hand if those who have hounded him out of the business are successful, the Ranch and its program will perish also. That, of course, is the chance Imus took every morning when he ad libbed his way along the fault line between good and bad taste.

He often said that part of his motivation for doing the Ranch was to bank some good Karma to offset the bad things in his life, of which he was well aware. No one can doubt that for the last seven or eight years some goodness has surely accrued to Don Imus. It seems that we as a nation have required his sacrifice to make us feel better about ourselves and our darker impulses. Perhaps some day young black kids confronted by the outrage of racism and sexism will have achieved the self confidence to tell the offending moron to get bent and refuse to let the racist define them in any way. We clearly are not at that place yet. Let us hope we will not have to await our collective next lives for that outcome.

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