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Day 400 of the War on Imus

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Now that he's gone, it felt safe to watch MSNBC again. I won't miss Imus, whose show was on from 3-6 AM here in LA, hours even my TiVo won't get up to cover. I used to like MSNBC because it was the equivalent of a political flash card test: right, left, nuance in 30 seconds or less, blue state, red state, moderators wear purple ties, David Gergen is the voice of reason -- got it, easy to follow, simple to watch, let's play Hardball.

But watching the new MSNBC confuses me. In a linguistically challenged discussion Friday morning, guests avoided quoting Imus directly by substituting phrases like "the n-word." Uh, not that "n-word," the "n-word" Imus recently used about the Rutgers team. There's two "n-words" now. If anything proves how evil Imus is, it's that he created a second "n-word." Even Hitler didn't do that. Then a guest substituted the phrase "the h-word," another brought up "the b-word," and one called white fans of hip hop culture "the w-word," which rhymes with one of the "n-words." Wappies? And if Ms. Huffington takes issue with my using it, so be it. At this point I was hoping MSNBC might offer closed captioning for the politically obtuse, like myself, since we can also add to that list Ms. Ann Coulter's use of the "f-word" to attack John Edwards a few weeks ago. I don't mean vice-President Cheney's "f-word," when he told Senator Leahy "go f yourself," I mean the other one. And then there's NBC's recent airing of the 30 Rock episode called "The C-Word." And so far, there's only one of those.

Finally, there was a station break to catch up. MSNBC ran one of those hilarious Geico ads. You know, where the whiny caveman gets all upset because the guy says "so simple, even a caveman can do it?" Haw! And then the PC caveman complains about how offended he is by stereotyping and media insensitivity and, uh ... didn't Geico pull their ads from Imus for the same thing? Later, MSNBC had one of its old school experts on to explain the whole mess to me. Finally, the Truth, plain and simple, just like the old days. The guest: Pat Buchanan.

Uhhhh ... isn't he the guy that wants to set the Rio Grande on fire to keep Mexicans out cause he thinks they can't adapt to the culture of cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Antonio -- all named, I guess, by their Dutch founders? If I can go by William F. Buckley's denunciation of Buchanan as an anti-Semite, Buchanan would also set his front lawn on fire to keep me from moving in next door. Well, if Steve Capus says Imus has to go, Buchanan's gotta go, right? What about other pundit bigots Capus approves of, like Hardball favorites Al Sharpton and the Catholic League's William Donohue? Chris Matthews has a high tolerance for the intolerant -- he needs a time out.

Well, let's give Mr. Capus' Maoist-style cultural revolution policy a little time. It's only a few days old. As Mao found out, purifying ideology is a tricky business. After all, Capus has a whole network to fix, a number of bigots and insensitive advertisers to fire, not just one pop culture dinosaur whose humor went out with Rat Pack jokes about Sammy Davis, Jr. If I may suggest, how about turning the Imus Ranch into a re-education camp for Buchanan, Sharpton, Donohue, and the Geico guys to join Imus until they're ready for the new MSNBC. And like Imus, I won't miss them much (well, the Geico ads are funny) although I imagine people with a different view than I do might.

And Mr. Capus, please throw out George Carlin's old Seven Words You Can't Say on Television list and give us your new one, soon, because firing Imus, one of MSNBC's many proponents of hate speech, currently looks inconsistent, expedient, hypocritical, and designed to bring back revenue, not intelligent discourse.