It just so happened that the Imus firing came on the same day the Federal Trade Commission released a report on how easy it is for teens to be exposed to R-rated movies, M-rated video games and foul-mouthed rap stars on CDs and music videos. The answer, according to the report, is pretty easy. Easiest to buy was music - and that doesn't even consider the stuff that gets on cable and Web sites. Post-Imus, everybody's talking a good game about no longer tolerating the over-the-top violence and misogynistic filth that masquerades as art or creative expression, but does anyone really believe it's going to happen? Here's what the LAT's Tim Rutten concluded this morning:
Part of what made Imus' remark doubly grating was his appropriation of language routinely used by black musicians and entertainers. (Is there anything even remotely lamer than some shaggy old white guy trying to sound like a Piru Blood?) Whatever value that language may have had as a way to mock white racism, it was exhausted long ago. It's time to stop it, but that will require a greater number of young black artists to assume responsibility for their expression and a greater number of parents, both black and white, to discipline their children's tastes. One of the absolute lessons of the Imus debacle is that, if we wait for the guys in suits - whatever their color - to do this for us, we'll all wallow in filth and vulgarity for the rest of our lives. When there's a dollar to be had, these guys would poison their own children without ever losing a minute's sleep - let alone, yours and mine.