10 April 2007



Well, here we find ourselves, delving into another episode of "Geoff Has to Explain to the World How to be More Smarter".

One of my firmer stances in life is a little ideology I like to call Pick Your Battles (TM). It's not only an important practical concept but a way to live your life – a mantra, if you will. There's a ton of sh*t floating around this chemical globe that's going to force you to react, whether it's with general annoyance or outright rage. In that, though, there's a decision to be made on each and every potentially reactable issue: how much of my time and energy do I devote to being pissed about this?

If you've followed the news at all, you know about the whole Don Imus thing. On his radio/TV show last week, comparing the Rutgers Women's Basketball team to the Tennessee Women's Basketball team, he called the former a bunch of "nappy-headed hos".

Roughly six seconds after the comment was made, all relevant life in the universe stood still. Water stopped running, rabbits stopped f*cking, and Al Sharpton fell out of his chair. Why? Because, all of a sudden, Don Imus was a vicious racist.

You ever listen to Don Imus? Don’t answer that – I know most of you don’t and never have. He’s old, he’s a bit out of touch with modern reality, he’s curmudgeonly, and he’s a blowhard…so…pretty much, he’s me in forty years. I don’t particularly like the guy and I think his show is crap. But there are two main differences between me and most of the people getting upset about his comments:

I think he has the right to say whatever he wants to say and make all the jokes he wants to make.

I actually listened to the ENTIRE segment surrounding the comments.

Did you? No, you probably didn’t, and IF you didn’t and IF you STILL felt that it was wise of you to form an opinion on the subject and then, God forbid, express it…well, you’re a f*cking idiot.

Look, I’m not going to come at this like I’m telling you how to feel about what Imus said, especially if you’re black. I have no point of reference to know what it’s like to be a black person. I have no idea what it’s like from a broad, generic standpoint or from a personal, individual standpoint. It’s not my place or anyone else’s place to even begin to think about possibly, maybe, telling you how to feel. But what an individual feels about the comments isn’t the issue here.

Human communication is all about context – that’s why there’s a law prohibiting us from falsely claiming fire in a crowded theater. The same exact phrase, repeated word-for-word, can have 100 different meanings and/or intended values in 100 different conversations. In this instance, does Don Imus calling the Rutgers Women nappy headed hos constitute an abject and repugnant racism? Hell, I don’t think so.

I make fun of black people just about every day. And Asians. And Hispanics. And Jews. And Indians – Dots and Feathers. I also make fun of myself. Why? Because I think all stereotypes – racial, religious, physical, mental, whatever – are absolutely f*cking hilarious. I think racial comedy is some of the highest comedy on the planet, mostly because it has all the right ingredients to get a rise out of people. And that’s what I live for.

A reaction.

And, f*ck, that’s what we got here, yeah? The problem we ran into this time is that people aren’t smart about the way they react.

Al Sharpton, one of the most pervasive hypocrites on the planet, has jumped all over this bullsh*t, media-fueled issue in yet another attempt to make sure he gets his sound byte and his absurd hair on TV. He’s calling for an Imus apology and for the man to be fired from his nationally-syndicated show. He torched and berated Imus for almost two hours on his own radio show the other day and presumes to tell the American public – and blacks in particular – not only how they should feel about the issue but how anyone in Imus’s position should be treated. Because Don Imus hates the black people. Malcolm X he’s not. Jerry McGuire’s antithesis he is.

Right? Right? Well, if you have half a brain…not f*cking really.

The fact of the matter here is something that’s at the core of American society, something I hate about the lazy, gelatinous denizens of this otherwise fine country: very few people who have already formed an opinion on this issue have actually HEARD any part of the Imus’s show from that day. They saw the quoted phrase on the ticker at the bottom of the screen during their daily news show – when, let’s be honest, they were waiting to hear about Britney’s latest crab infestation or the paternity of Anna Nicole’s baby – and immediately jumped to a conclusion.

Whether or not you thought the joke was particularly funny (and I didn’t – I thought it was way too easy and lacked a serious amount of originality and cleverness) isn’t the issue – the point is that the entire conversation was held in a satirical and tongue-in-cheek manner, just like the bulk of the Imus show. If you’re not smart enough to understand that – and really, I worry about more than a few of you – here it is: they were f*cking kidding. They were not being serious. Whether or not Don Imus believes the Rutgers Women are hos with nappy hair, the context in which he was making these remarks was not literal.

And that’s how he’s been trying to defend himself, and rightfully so. If you’ve ever gone to a comedy club or watched television or listened to Howard Stern you’ve heard ten times worse things said. What Imus said was comparatively tame – so why is he being held to a different standard? Because he’s old? Because he’s white? Because he’s on MSNBC? Why is he not given the same Free Speech and creative license parameters that other entertainment personalities are given?

This was not angry hate speech – this was a bad joke. Nothing more. But if you’re going to slap the “Racist” tag on Don Imus, you had better be consistent across the board. You’ve got to call Howard Stern a racist for the things his says to his co-host Robin Quivers about being black, “horribly racist” (if you can’t tell, the quotation marks are there to indicate my blatant, smarm-filled sarcasm) comments that he makes every day. You have to slap a “Racist” bracelet on Dave Chappelle, who suggests in his routine that white cops sprinkle crack rocks on black men they’ve just unnecessarily shot. Stern shouldn’t ever be allowed on the radio again and Chappelle should be banned from comedy clubs across the country.

Wait, what’s that you say? You can’t do that? Because we expect that from Stern and Chappelle? Because they’re performers and comedians (if you want to stretch the boundaries of the term for Stern)?

Then someone tell me why the f*ck Don Imus should be suspended (which he was, from his radio show, for two weeks) or fired because of what he said. Someone tell me, because I’m dying to know. I’m dying to know why Al Sharpton thinks that someone should be fired because they offended his delicate and highly-refined sensibilities. I’m dying to know why he thinks that, as he’s said a million times over in the last few days because he’s more of a parrot than a human being, that, “…We cannot tolerate the use of the airwaves for such blatant racism.”

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if you see or hear something you don’t like, have the courage and the wherewithal to turn off your f*cking television or radio. That protest, simple in both action in message, is the most powerful tool of defiance that you have. After you turn off your media implement, tell everyone you know about what a flaccid d*ck the person you were watching/listening to really is. But trying to get the guy (or chick) fired, or, hell, even suggesting that this be the appropriate action? That is, plainly and simply, unAmerican.

The only entity in the world who has the right to make that kind of decision is Don Imus’s employer. And that entity should make that decision for none other than business reasons. If they feel like Imus has really breached the integrity of their company and that they’re going to lose revenue because of his comments and continued presence, he should be canned. But to fire him because he expressed, at worst, an unpopular opinion (which is, most likely, not even his REAL opinion)? Come on. Really? REALLY?

Pick you f*cking battles, people. This isn’t Rodney King. This isn’t Medgar Evers. This isn’t Emmett Till. This is an old, boring dude who made a bad joke and who is now burying himself because he’s even apologizing for it. So-the-f*ck-what if he offended the lot of you? He doesn’t owe any of you an apology for his comments because there’s not a single one of you out there who owes him your attention when his show comes on the air. If Imus consistently made himself out to be a racist like Rush Limbaugh or just an intolerant c*nt like Jerry Falwell I could better appreciate the anger…but he’d still deserve a place in the media. Because everyone has the right to express their opinions, even Falwell and Limbaugh, and if there’s someone out there with the technology, the means to make media public and the access to an audience that will listen, either in support or dissention, who are we to deny them that outlet because we have a different viewpoint?

I love racist jokes. I love them. I love joking that a black kid is getting my bike for Christmas or that my Asian girlfriend is a terror behind the wheel or that every 7-11 employee is Apu from THE SIMPSONS. Once I joked with a girl – who was Jewish and whom I had just met – that I liked living in a Jewish neighborhood because, if I forgot to do my taxes, I could throw a rock out my window on April 14th and hit twenty felonious accountants. She laughed and asked me if I had a case of Jewish Jealousy. When I asked her what that was, she spit this back: “All gentiles want to be Jews, because they’d be exactly the same. Except not poor.”


So am I a racist? Was she a racist? Do I think black people are scofflaws on Welfare? Do I think Jews are money-grubbing parasites? If you know me you know the answers to those questions, but if you don’t know me and took something I said as a joke to be literal – and therefore my worldview as per race qualities – maybe you should find out what I really think. It’s a common courtesy for us to not jump to conclusions about each other based on a statement or idea we agree or disagree with.

More than that, though, I think you all just need to chill the f*ck out and stop overreacting to every little thing that twists your nipples.