Monday, April 16, 2007

A little on Imus

Not really an Imus fan and I don't even listen to radio but I am surprised by what a big story the Imus firing was. Seems odd to me that a guy who for thirty years was paid to make shocking comments got fired for making a shocking comment, but that's the way that game is played.

Imus has a lot of detractors on the left and right and they're all happy about this. But, I'm not sure that's the right way to respond. No, it isn't censorship, nobody has the right to a national radio show or cable TV program and sponsors can drop a program whenever they want. Fine.

But it doesn't always work out well. I'm reminded of Bill Maher almost losing his career after 9-11 or of Wal-Mart refusing to sell "America: The Book."

Barack Obama said that this is an expample of the coarsening of American culture. I doubt anything Imus says is representative of America as a whole.

More than that, I don't think the coarsening of culture is the issue we should be worried about. What's worrisome is that the culture is turning bland and the corporate folks who tried to silence Bill Maher or who wouldn't sell Jon Stewart's book are responsible and those are, in type, the same people who fired Imus.

Guess I'm just noticing too much glee over this. Like I said, I'm no fan of the guy but when something like this happens and the debate starts to turn into one about the culture being too coarse, things spread. Suddenly artists, writers, film directors and video game programmers are brought into the fray and freedom of expression does suffer, not so much from government censorship but through a self-imposed corporate and cultural chilling effect. Not good.


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