Don Imus is the last guy who should be talking about hair
- Mikel Kelly
- The Times - Opinion
(Former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly handles special sections and contributes a regular column.)
I wish I had a quarter for every time the other person who lives at my house has claimed to know what 'all you 'men' think about women.'
'And how is it you know this?' I would inquire.
'I was listening to 'Imus in the Morning' on the way to work,' she would invariably state and would then go on to recall in great detail some repulsive, socially stunted theory about women (or girls, or marriage, or dating, or mothers, or sex, or whatever) that always sounded like they'd been gleaned from old episodes of 'The Flintstones' or something - and yet she would present them as if she were a high-priced lawyer handing over evidence to the Supreme Court.
And my answer, every time, was this: 'Why are you even listening to that crap?'
Unfortunately, she was convinced that this radio guy offered her a peep-hole into the minds of men - and that every time Imus said something really stupid on the air (which apparently was fairly often, judging from the number of our 'court' confrontations), she was being handed priceless insights into the male brain.
But the purpose of this is not to talk about men and women. That is so early-'90s.
No, what I really wanted to talk about is hair.
One of the key components of Imus' now-famous comments had to do with the nature of the hair on the heads of African American women - put, of course, in a really, really offensive way, which he promptly followed by a very lecherous chuckle, which I'd now like to quote. It went kind of like this: 'Heh-heh-heh.'
OK, now, I've read and seen on TV many accounts of all this. We've had reactions from Al Sharpton, Pat Buchanan, Rosie O'Donnell, Russell Simmons, Jesse Jackson, Charles Barkley, the Rutgers coach and members of the team, Snoop Dogg, Condoleezza Rice and pretty much every talking head television has to offer, and I think they all missed the most obvious irony in all of this: Don Imus' hair.
I suppose because he's basically a radio guy, I never realized what a ridiculous head of hair the guy has.
If I were required to describe it to someone who had never seen it, I would have to say it looks exactly like one of those nests that ospreys build at the top of huge utility poles - all sorts of goofy shapes of stuff jutting out in all directions - except that it's all the color and texture of year-old hay.
Or, put another way: 'That's some messy-headed old whitey there. I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some - woo. And those other radio dudes, like Rick Dees and them, they're all, you know, pretty cute.'
Sorry, but I've got to stop before we get too far down this path. I know he's so old and leathery he looks like a cadaver in a bad wig, but I don't think that kind of juvenile humor gets us anywhere.
Now that Imus has been fired over his racial comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, allow me to confess that I never understood how the guy managed to get that job in the first place, let alone become wealthy and influential doing it.
(I also need to admit that I'm just as perplexed about the success of Howard Stern.)
These guys have become filthy rich doing the same act some of us tried out on the school bus back in junior high.
And perhaps the biggest revelation of it all, to me, was that the guy characterizes himself as a comedian.
I love comedy. Some of my best friends are comedians. I have even been called a comedian myself. You, sir, are no comedian.
I realize this is an entirely subjective issue - just like assessments of art, music, beauty - humor is in the eye of the beholder, and lots of people think he's hilarious. I, on the other hand, never thought the guy was even a little bit funny.
Did Imus deserve to lose his job over an idiotically insensitive remark about a bunch of college women? I honestly don't know. But let me pose another question: Did he ever deserve to be a super-rich media icon in the first place?