Monday, April 09, 2007

Don Imus? Me, Neither

Ah, the phenomenon that we call Don Imus. You may need some introduction to this gentleman, should you be younger than 40, or foreign. Don Imus has a VERY rugged face, wears a cowboy hat, and is almost incomprehensible.

This is odd, because the man has a syndicated radio show that airs on New York's WFAN, and is simultaneously broadcast on cable's MSNBC, because it beats the hell out of trying to build a breakfast show from scratch. He's this mumbling, growling, southwestern guy that poses, with an astonishing degree of success, as some kind of centrist truth-teller.

I'm not sure why this would be the case, except for possibly this lingering assumption that anyone out of step with the conventional liberal norms of New York, even if they are spewing hateful garbage, must be a centrist. For a while, as Steve Gilliard points out [side note, please get well soon, Mr. Gilliard], Imus was the place to be for right-wing Democrats such as Joe Lieberman to go and sound reasonable, and there is a case to be made for democrats to start courting crotchety white southwesterners.

But not this one, Jeez. Read more here and here. Anyone who's surprised that the man turns to have a penchant for hurling slurs at African-American women has not followed the paper trail.

So, if you were hoping for some kind of "Gari explains bizarre American predilections" post, forget it. the man mystifies me. Howard Stern, at least is funny, and reasonably Catholic in his abuse. Imus, is some weird mumbling cracker that landed a major media gig by ordering pizzas as a joke.

[UPDATE: Ah, the Times' David Carr has a better stab at explaining the man's appeal. Something to do with the need to sell books, and Imus' ability to keep the race-baiting and politician-pimping bits of his show separate.]


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