Hogan's Alley

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rich Finally Pontificates On l'Affaire Imus

Frank Rich, who was a regular guest on the Imus In The Morning show, has now added to the pile (TimesSelect required) of same old, same old blather, this blog included, on the Imus/Rutgers story.

Rich does the requisite condemnation of what Imus said and adds a mea culpa trying to excuse his regular appearances. He is also quick to point to negative speech by right wing comentators.

Key quote:

Does that mean he should be silenced? The Rutgers team pointedly never asked for that, and I don’t think the punishment fits the crime. First, as a longtime Imus listener rather than someone who tuned in for the first time last week, I heard not only hate in his wisecrack but also honesty in his repeated vows to learn from it. Second, as a free-speech near-absolutist, I don’t believe that even Mel Gibson, to me an unambiguous anti-Semite, should be deprived of his right to say whatever the hell he wants to say. The answer to his free speech is more free speech — mine and yours. Let Bill O’Reilly talk about “wetbacks” or Rush Limbaugh accuse Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his Parkinson’s symptoms, and let the rest of us answer back.

Somehow I can't believe that Rich, who is the great melder of politics and showbiz into a grand forum where similes and metaphor take the place of logic, would be anything but joyous if someone on the right was fired for saying something offensive. It feels more like he is concerned, as are others, that one of the big forums for Democrats and liberals has been silenced.

One reference in Rich's column is a mystery to me. He writes the following:

So if we really want to have this national “conversation” about race and culture and all the rest of it that everyone keeps telling us that this incident has prompted, let’s get it on, no holds barred. And the fewer moralizing pundits and politicians, the better. Hillary Clinton, an Imus denouncer who has also called for federal regulation of violent television and video games, counts among her Hollywood fat cats Haim Saban, who made his fortune from “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”

Has the Power Rangers cartoon been declared un-PC? I must have missed the papal bull on this topic? As far as the "national conversation" that everyone is calling for, I'm willing to bet cash money that no such discussion will emerge, unless Imus himself becomes the channel for that discourse on some new reincarnation on the public airwaves.

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