“All the elements were there,” said James Carville, the political consultant who has appeared on the show and has seen a few stories blow up in his time. “You had some dry brush, gasoline, high winds, no rain and low humidity and before you know it, man, it was a wildfire.”
Carr goes through all the elements, so read the whole thing, but this one seemed especially apt to me:
THE WRONG VICTIMS Speaking of targets, Mr. Imus chose poorly. “Imus has a long history of saying far more negative, divisive things,” said Robert M. Entman, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. “In this case, he chose a college basketball team. College athletics is sacred in our culture in a way. We tell ourselves that it is a place that we have transcended race. This was an attack on the purity of sport, student athletes who are not paid to perform. In picking on a whole team, he chose the wrong noun to go with the adjectives.”Carr also notes that YouTube kept things going in a new way, and this led me to go look at the clip. Previously, I'd only read the "nappy headed ho" remark. Now, I was hearing the whole context, which included the sidekick persisting in degrading the black women, and portraying them as unfeminine compared to the white players and using the over-the-top word "jigaboos."
He also picked on the wrong coach. C. Vivian Stringer protects her posse; her eloquent, aggressive defense of the team — and the obvious class of the players at the podium — made for riveting television with a great deal of emotional content. The Rutgers institutional decision to treat the affair as a teachable moment put Mr. Imus in an even deeper hole.
Having seen that clip, I'm now much less sympathetic than I was to Imus before. That was truly disgusting.
I've got to run and do my radio show, as noted below. I'll update and say more later. Let me just add that I don't watch sports and I had no fervor about the basketball championships or I might have had a more heated reaction to the nastiness. When people you already have warm feelings about are insulted, you get angrier faster.