When Don Imus got fired, I was sort-of on his side. First amendment and all that. Plus, I said, "He's a SHOCK JOCK. His purpose is to shock you. How can he shock you? By going to the limit of taste and sensitivity.
"That's his job. You and I may not like the job description, but that's what he gets paid for.
"I realize there's a danger in that kind of humor. But the essence of humor is exaggeration. Imus' technique of saying the worst thing that comes to his mind in order to get a laugh may be regrettable, but it doesn't make him a racist. If that were true then paint every jock and comic of every race with that brush and fire all of them."
So with that in mind, I was looking forward, in a perverse way to his reappearance on the air. I had gotten satellite TV a few months before and was aware of the RFD channel. I loved the less-than-cable access production values of the polka show and the musicality of the auctioneers. Other than that, I was glad that segment of the population was being served. And they couldn't hear me laugh at it.
So when I heard Imus was coming back, I knew he was going to be on in New York and some other towns but I figured the best way to find out what effect the scandal had on him was to use the DVR and watch him. (I live in Oregon and was not about to get up at 3 a.m. to satisfy a minor curiosity.)
And now here's my report:
1. The production values are a cut above the polka show but his decades of broadcasting experience has not had much of an effect on this show. Not much works right. The mics didn't work at ALL at first. For some reason, the RFD feed starts off with local New York news, intended for his WABC audience. Then there's a break and he comes back on. Odd.
RFD also doesn't know how to shoot him. Most of the time his eyes are obscured by the brim of his cowboy hat.
2. Since most of his "Nappy head hos" supporters were right wingers, he has decided, at a time when the rest of the country has abandoned the party of Bush, to become a flaming Republican. He was pretty much an equal opportunity grouch in the past, but he actually praised the lying bully Sean Hannity (who is on his flagship radio station, WABC along with fellow right wing lying blowhards Rush Limbaugh, Bob Grant and Laura Ingrham). This past Sunday he praised Mitt Romney's lying appearance on Meet the Press. He calls Hillary "Satan," even as live guest Paul Begala has his head buried so deep it is looking out of Imus' own eyes. While I'm not enamored of her candidacy, she's neither Satan nor Bush (who actually IS Satan). And then there's the fawning worship of Joe Lieberman. I could go on (and on), but it is enough to make me not watch. In a big way.
I know he pays lip service to liberals and he has the appearance of being grumpy to everyone, but I don't believe it.
3. He has two African-Americans on the daily panel. They rarely say anything, and one of them, Tony Powell, who is there ostensibly to do sports, doesn't seem very interested in either sports or being there in the first place, given his obvious discomfort in the studio.
4. His show is the polar opposite of nearly every trend in America...both politically and stylistically. Period.
So, he'll get his old fans, no doubt, and he is to be applauded for his charity work and his ranch. But the return of Imus is sad and oddly amateurish. He is now in the company of Crook and Chase on RFD, that is to say, has-been.