Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This Man Needs a Friend

Well, seems like the heads at NBC ran the profit/loss analysis and finally determined that the I-Man should get the boot. It's a bit late, but hey, I understand, NBC is a corporate entity, and they probably needed their lawyers to clear everything first. Either way, I-Man joins Soledad O'Brien in the AverageBro UnEmployment Line. Hmmm, do I smell a new tag?

I would expect CBS to bow to the same scrutiny and relieve Imus of his duties there, and by the end of the week, the world will be on to another fixation (Michael Jackson always seems to kirk out and do something stupid at times like this). Don Imus will temporarily disappear from the public spotlight, make a minor splash in a few months when some tiny AM station in West Bumble****,MN offers him a night shift, turn it down, quietly resurface in some medium sized market, and eventually, maybe a few years down the line if he's still alive, regain his position with a national show, albeit with less influence and with fewer high profile guests, who will likely still attend his dinner parties since they consider him a friend, but wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole in public.

As a proud black man who considers himself an independent thinker, I spend lots of time in the car listening to AM talk radio, a majority of which is voiced with a conservative bent. I can't tolerate Rush Limbaugh, King of the Genre for any more than 3 minutes at a time, but lesser knowns like Victoria Jones, Laura Schlessinger, Mark Levin , Michael Graham, and Michael Savage are in regular rotation on my daily commute, balanced with shows like Joe Madison, Michael Eric Dyson, and of course, Rev Al, who rule the roost on Syndication One, the black talk network.

My favorite whipping boy du jour is a local cat named Chris Core, who comes on just as I'm beginning my commute from burb to burb, and usually pisses me off just enough to take my attention off the horrible traffic. The the time I hit the office, the show usually has me so worked up, that I can hit the ground running sans coffee, assuming I'm not still in the car fuming.

Core is a total moron when it comes to race relations, making the classic white dude misspeaks like "Barack Obama is so articulate" and "I have lots of black friends" that give Chris Rock plenty of comedic fodder. The guy is so out of touch with the differences between races, that he's got a surefire formula to keep the phones ringing and the radios tuned: start a race war every morning, and feign defensive ignorance at any valid point that a black caller, and there are many, makes. It's agonizing. It's infuriating. It makes you want to ride over the wherever his station is located and greet him in the parking lot with a lead pipe (please don't take this literally, I love my job and the mortgage it allows me to pay). It is, in short: genius.

The show is a textbook example of why blacks and whites (and other races for that matter) cannot get along. White refute every valid point that blacks raise, as if racism can't possibly still exist, and if it does, then by golly, why haven't you folks just gotten over it yet. The black callers fall for the bait and keep calling getting angrier and angrier. Core feigns more ignorance, further stoking the fire, and the ratings just keep going up, up, up.

Having done some work in radio in the past, I know that 75% of the medium is moving people to call in and stay dialed in. You lose money when people don't listen, and consequently your job. Thus, staged calls, and a host who says things they don't personally even believe to rile up callers are standard tricks if you wanna stay employed (and don't we all).

Still, I can't help but wonder if some of Core's viewpoints are true. If so, I can't help but feel sorry for him. Maybe he actually needs to meet a real black person, as opposed to his "friends" at the gym, or the dude from the mailroom that he always talks Redskins with. I'd like to help the guy, but hey, I have a real job that I'm habitually running late for, so who has time to call in?

Chris Core, if you'd like, hit me up. We'll have lunch (your treat), and I'll gladly school you on an issue or twenty.

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