Friday, April 13, 2007

More classiness from the Rutgers women & more truth about using language to wound

By Diane Silver

The Don Imus saga continues. As always, the women of the Rutgers basketball program remain the classiest participants in this entire serious of events. Today they accepted Imus' apology.

Coach Vivian Stringer read a statement, which said, in part:
"We still find his statements to be unacceptable," the coach said. "And this is an experience that we will never forget. These comments are indicative of greater ills in our culture. It is not just Mr. Imus. And we hope that this will be and serve as a catalyst for change. Let us continue to work hard together to make this world a better place."
One of the best columns I've seen on the issue came from actor and playwrite Harvey Fierstein. I have to admit that this piece hits home because Harvey (bless you) talks about his own, very gay reaction to the Imus Saga. The entire column could be quoted, but here are a few wonderful bits.
For the past two decades political correctness has been derided as a surrender to thin-skinned, humorless, uptight oversensitive sissies. Well, you anti-politically correct people have won the battle, and we’re all now feasting on the spoils of your victory. During the last few months alone we’ve had a few comedians spout racism, a basketball coach put forth anti-Semitism and several high-profile spoutings of anti-gay epithets.

What surprises me, I guess, is how choosy the anti-P.C. crowd is about which hate speech it will not tolerate. Sure, there were voices of protest when the TV actor Isaiah Washington called a gay colleague a “faggot.” But corporate America didn’t pull its advertising from “Grey’s Anatomy,” as it did with Mr. Imus, did it? And when Ann Coulter likewise tagged a presidential candidate last month, she paid no real price.

Our nation, historically bursting with generosity toward strangers, remains remarkably unkind toward its own. Just under our gleaming patina of inclusiveness, we harbor corroding guts. America, I tell you that it doesn’t matter how many times you brush your teeth. If your insides are rotting your breath will stink. So, how do you people choose which hate to embrace, which to forgive with a wink and a week in rehab, and which to protest? Where’s my copy of that rule book?

Finally, here are two blow-by-blow accounts of exactly what led to Imus' firing. For us media junkies, they make interesting reading.

The Wall Street Journal: Behind the fall, a digital brush fire.

The New York Times: Flying solo past the point of no return

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