I have lately altered my radio listening schedule, mainly to avoid the feast-or-famine phenomena I was experiencing. Try to listen to the full Stern show, followed by the Rachel Maddow Show, Countdown, and woman-and-a-doctor type programs, all in one day. Then try realizing that, for most of the weekend, you’re pretty much bored with nothing on the TV machine and no decent radio. Inspired by the practice I began to get me through the commute to Gonfalon Farm, I am now banking Stern shows for the weekend and taking Dr. Maddow on the train with me each morning. You can almost get through four Stern shows in a weekend while you’re doing your laundries and your cleaning and your cooking and your yardworks, and I often find myself uninspired to take on such chores unless my mind is occupied with spoken prattle.
The disadvantage is it does ruin somewhat the timeliness of the Stern show. For instance, this week I am certain Mr. Stern will be discussing the reemergence of the croc-faced cowboy, the nutsy honky himself, Don Imus. Howard was doing some major hating on the I-Man last week, especially regarding the stunning predictability of the move confirmed by his broadcast today: Imus has recruited a team of two African-Americans to join him in the studio. It is precisely the wrong move, condescending, patronizing, transparent, and still unbelievably missing the damned point. It is the radio personnel equivalent of “I have a lot of black friends,” but it will probably somehow save Imus’ skin, which I’m not so sure it’s clear why he’s so on fire about doing anyway.
Interestingly and somewhat ashamedly enough, it is Imus’ brand of radio that first got me listening to the radio to some extent. Imus apparently was at one point a jock at WGAR in Cleveland, home also of the fella Stern dubbed the “one-eyed cyclops,” John Lannigan. I notice this kernel of buckeye radio humor in Imus’ schtick, the Big Chuck and Little John element of it. My theory is that he took this obvious, blunt, and “wacky” sensibility with him to NYC, where he decided he had to put a mean bastard hat on it to make it funny. The result is not funny. Not at all.
Let me be clear. Don Imus is not funny. Don Imus never has been funny. And the real reason he ran into his trouble this year isn’t because he was mean, or racist, or mysogynist, though he was certainly all of those. He wasn’t funny, and that’s why he was chased off the radio there for a minute, and it’s why he’s patronizing the hell out of his listeners by casting black sidekicks while keeping the inflammatory McGuirk. You shouldn’t be listening to Don Imus. You should be listening to Howard A. Stern, the best and only and actually funny. Riiiiiight?