Fuck Don Imus. But you know what…? Fuck civility. And fuck the Seattle Times.
Really… who the fuck do they think they are pontificating about who should or should not have access to the public airwaves? [“Airwaves no place for Imus and his ilk“] And who the fuck can possibly take seriously this colorless, bland, bourgeois cabal of towheaded ho’s anointing themselves arbiters of “diversity and decency”?
I mean… what the fuck is up with that?
Does Imus come off as a racist, misogynistic, insensitive, mean-spirited prick? Hell yeah… that’s his whole schtick! That’s his stock in trade! What part of “shock jock” doesn’t the Times understand?
No doubt Imus should be raked over the public coals for his awful comments, and he deserves whatever punishment the marketplace delivers. But calling on the FCC to pull WFAN’s license? That’s censorship, pure and simple. That’s state control of the media. That’s fascism. And the Times — a newspaper for chrissakes, that owes its very existence to the unfettered rights enunciated in the First Amendment — should be just as ashamed of its offensive statement as Imus should be of his.
What’s next? Who else should be yanked from the airwaves and denied their livelihood because they offend the Times’ oh-so-sensitive sensibilities? If radio hosts should be held to standards exceeding FCC regulations, how far should the purge go? How careful must we tread? Should KIRO, as some angry letter writers have demanded, dump my show because I (gasp) repeatedly use the word “fuck” on my personal blog? Well fuckity-fuck, fuck, fuck to that!
And don’t give me any of that holier-than-thou bullshit about radio stations having a legal obligation to “serve the community.” That lie gave up the ghost back during the Reagan administration with the death of the Fairness Doctrine and the birth of an anti-regulatory crusade that inevitably led to the relentlessly homogenizing, profit-driven, media consolidation we have seen ever since. Today, the vast majority of commercial radio stations fulfill the totality of their community service with a handful of PSAs and a weekly test of the Emergency Alert System.
At least WFAN airs local content, as opposed to the hundreds of radio stations in small markets nationwide, whose absentee, monopolist owners would continue to obliviously broadcast their automated, computer-controlled, top-McForty programming, uninterrupted, while a chlorine gas-leak slowly smothered their uninformed local audience in agonizing death. If that’s what they mean by community service, then the Times editorial board has its swollen head stuck so far up its tight little ass it makes the Enumclaw horse incident look like a prostate exam.
What kind of goddamn fantasy world is the Times living in? For decades now, right-wing talk radio hosts have villified liberals like me, questioning our patriotism, smearing us as traitors, cowards and terrorists, and accusing us of treason… a crime they repeatedly make clear is punishable by death. Ann Coulter publicly “jokes” about executing a few liberals to keep us in line, calls for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to be poisoned, and laments that Timothy McVeigh didn’t blow up the New York Times building instead… but I don’t hear the Times complaining about her frequent appearances on FOX News. And G. Gordon Liddy once infamously instructed his audience how to deal with ATF agents: “Head shots, head shots…. Kill the sons of bitches!” Hmm. No FCC licenses revoked; no fines issued. Is that what the Times means by serving the community?
And what the fuck is “decency” anyway? Polite language? Polite lies? Does anybody but a fourth or fifth generation Blethen really want the standards of civic discourse to be defined by literary somnambulists who can’t discern the difference between seriousness and solemnity, and who wouldn’t recognize nuance if it jumped right out in front of them and shot their dog?
I’ve got news for the Times: there’s a reason why assholes like Imus and Howard Stern have millions of fans, while former newspaper subscribers flee to the blogs in droves, no matter how foulmouthed, uncivil or indecent some of us might be. It is because anything is better than the stultifying, turgidly-written, equivocating prose that often passes for journalism these days, and the arrogant, moralistic grammarians who apparently revel in using as little of the English language as possible. The Times’ market keeps growing, and yet its circulation keeps shrinking — and they have the nerve to lecture others on how best to serve the community? Give me a fucking break!
Criticize to your heart’s content. Excoriate the trash-talkers and hate-mongers for their hurtful and violent words — even do so selectively if that is what your conscience allows. But when you call for using the power of the state to silence others, you abdicate any and all of the moral authority you believe your printing presses confer upon you.
If that’s civility… if that’s decency… then I want nothing the fuck to do with it.