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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    I-Man Vs. Pacman: Lay off Don Imus

    By Kyle | June 24, 2008

    I’ve just listened to the (audio) clip of Don Imus’s remarks about Adam “Pacman” Jones, the talented but wayward former Tennessee Titans cornerback who has yet to play a game for the Dallas Cowboys. Jones, who is black, is not going to win Sportsman of the Year anytime soon. But Imus was actually defending Jones in this clip. Imus, told about a nightclub shooting Jones was involved in, defends it, saying it’s no big deal (“Stuff happens“), then learns that Jones has been arrested six times, then asks what color Jones is and replies, “There you go.” This is Imus bending over backwards not to be racist; he’s trying to sound as much like Al Sharpton as he possibly can. The meaning is that Jones is being repeatedly, unjustly persecuted. The example of the kind of thing he’s been arrested for was not (to Imus) much of a crime to begin with. Picture Sharpton in this argument: would it have been surprising if Sharpton, learning that a man had been arrested six times and was black, replied, “There you go”?

    I’m no fan of the I-man. I listened to him for a few months in the early 90s and thought he was a bore. (Then I switched to Howard Stern for a decade until my girlfriend made me stop.) He’s blustering without being funny. He appears to hold a job solely because of the authoritative register of his voice. But I doubt he’s a racist. All of the journalists who are joining the Imus-is-a-racist gang are not doing themselves any favors. Journalists appear on talk shows and say unscripted things. The same people trying to take Imus down now can also be ruined by having non-racist (if anything, pro-black) comments quoted out of context.

    Topics: New York City, News, Politics, Radio, TV | 2 Comments »

    2 Responses to “I-Man Vs. Pacman: Lay off Don Imus”

    1. Patrick Says:
      June 25th, 2008 at 12:13 am

      I think you are being a little soft on the guy. At best he’s an insensitive lout, and at worst he’s a bigot. After he was fired a number of people dug up enough quotes to show a history of racist remarks. Still not excusable even if they were just for laughs (who is that audience if that’s the case?).

    2. Yankeefan Says:
      June 25th, 2008 at 11:28 am

      @ Kyle. I agree. I’ve been an Imus fan since he came back from Cleveland in the late 70s (he wasn’t a fave of a few girlfriends or now my wife), and he has stepped over the proverbial “line” many times, but didn’t even approach it here. Sounds like this little flap is dying down. Maybe Al got a “donation” to a “charity.”

      At this point, Imus and his crew, for me, are people with whom I’ve been hanging out in the mornings for almost 30 years; I can’t even vouch at this point for how good the show is. They’re like old friends who I think are kind of funny even when they aren’t. And I like his guests: Buchanan, Rich, Matt Taibbi, other talking heads.

      @ Patrick: You’re right. Imus did in fact say much, much worse things over the years before the Rutgers flap. I do think he had it coming to him, and my only surprise during the Rutgers thing was that he didn’t get nailed much sooner.

      Stern’s great, too. Remember the days when Imus did the morning show and Stern did the drive home? I think something’s been lost with Howard on XM, though clearly not in his bank account.