Imus a symptom of much larger problem

It was George Carlin who put together the list of 10 words you can’t say on the radio or television or print in a family newspaper.

Actually, he started out with seven and later added three, f---, t--- and t---.

Times have changed since then, however, and two of the three are familiar to watchers of the Comedy Channel. Larry the Cable Guy likes to tell about his grandma with the walking f---- and Ron I-forget-his-last-name goes on about the t---.

The other new t-word is a synonym for one of the original seven.

Anyway, courtesy of Don Imus, we have a new set of words that, while not yet banned, will get you excoriated or even fired, like Imus, if used in addressing or describing black women in particular, n---- h----- h--.

I use dashes because everyone knows what they are by now so if they’re so offensive, why does the media keep repeating them? They’ll soon be on Carlin’s list.

I have always felt that the turning point when dirty language began to be tolerated over the air waves came with the inception of Jack Valenti as president of the Motion Picture Association in 1966. He invented the rating system to guide parents in selecting movies for their children void of violence or coarse language.

That, of course, implies that the other movies would be full of violence and coarse language which many of them soon were. Valenti was so popular they kept him on for 38 years.

At least some of the public soon tired of dirty books and dirty movies in 1977, and Washington voters passed Initiative 335 that read “Shall places where obscene films are publicly and regularly shown or obscene publications a principal in trade be prohibited?”

The vote was 54.7 percent yes, 45.2 percent no.

Also, in the 1970s, according to an AP news story, rap and hip-hop music emerged from New York City’s underclass, which was mostly black and the lyrics denigrated women and hatred of cops with plenty of filthy language in between.

Tipper Gore launched a campaign to quell the filth of the rappers but she didn’t make much headway. Black people considered it poetic expression and resented criticism, which they regarded as racist because most of the successful rappers are black.

Imus and others surfaced as “shock jocks” with their crass jokes and insults which, thanks to the public’s acceptance of such stuff, drew huge audiences.

Imus made $10 million a year until he stepped on the third rail with his n---- h----- h-- crack.

Should Imus have been fired for it? No, he should have been warned and put on probation years ago before he got that far. But Imus would never have dared say what he did if blacks themselves had not tolerated what the rappers and hip-hoppers were doing to their image in portraying black women as whores.

If blacks themselves continue to insult their women, they shouldn’t be surprised if others join in the attack.

The firing of Imus should spark warnings to other shock jocks, rappers and hip hoppers that the tolerance is over. Like Michael Savage calling women s---- who disagreed with him and Comedy Channel stars calling both men and women b------.

Most of our top comedians of the recent past were able to be funny without being foulmouthed.

Denigration of women should not be tolerated regardless of their station in life. Snoop Dogg said the use of the word h-- by rappers applied not to college students but to “h- that’s in the ‘hood.’”

Outrageous. Here are people who go ballistic if they think they’re being “dissed.” Why then do the men do it to their own women and why do the women put up with it?

To get respect you have to give it.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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