Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Those were the days? 

So, Howard, when exactly was that golden age of yesteryear, those good ole days when it was perfectly OK for a talk-show host to call black female athletes "nappy-headed hos"?
Ha, ha, ha. Can't you girls take a joke?
Nope. Not any more.
Newsweek editor Howard Fineman expressed his own longing for those happy, innocent days of yore when he talked to Don Imus about what an intolerant world we live in today:

FINEMAN: You know, the form of humor that you do here is risky, and sometimes it runs off the rails . . . it's a different time, Imus. You know, it's different than it was even a few years ago, politically. I mean, we may, you know -- and the environment, politically, has changed. And some of the stuff that you used to do, you probably can't do anymore.
IMUS: No, you can't. I mean --
FINEMAN: You just can't. Because the times have changed . . . you know, things have changed. And the kind of -- some of the kind of humor that you used to do you can't do anymore. And that's just the way it is.
Over at First Draft, Athenae calls bullshit:

People like this really do feel put-upon that they can't give in to their basest instincts. They really feel like they've been somehow reduced because they're not allowed to reduce others. What Fineman is basically saying is that left to his own devices, he'd be happy to mock black women for being black and being women. Left to his own devices, he'd be happy to use snotty code language to put other human beings in their places. Left to his own devices, he'd be a total fucking ignorant jackoff. And it's outside pressure that is keeping him from being so . . . If only we lived back in the good old days. Had Fineman been around back then, no doubt, he'd be much more comfortable, freed of the burden to control himself so strictly.
Free to be the asshole he apparently wants to be.
I've been hearing this kind of "he's too old to change" crap for the last 40 years, and I'm tired of it.
There is not a man alive today who has any excuse whatsoever.
I used to go along with it in the 70s, and even into the 80s.
But guys -- and I'm speaking to guys like Fineman and Imus -- you've had 40 years to get with the program.
Men who were in kindergarden during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and in grade school when The Feminine Mystique was published are now getting Seniors Discounts.
So they've had ample time stop thinking about people as "nappy-headed hos".

UPDATE: Digby talks about why Imus still gets celebrity journalist guests -- because he helps sell their books:
. . . When you sell your personal integrity for money to a racist scumbag like Don Imus, you have to expect that people are not going to treat you with a lot of respect.
Don Imus has been behaving badly and apologizing for it for many, many years. I expect he will continue to do so once he's finished with his two week vacation. And all of these writers will once again make pilgrimages to his show and pledge fealty to him in order to sell books. Because, unlike those great basketball players he maligned so casually --- they really are whores.

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