"Don Imus Is a Good Man"
One of the more unbearable aspects of the Imus "nappy headed hos" controversy is the outpouring of smarmy defenses for the I-Man from his buddies in the mainstream media. Many are taking the form of assertions that "Don Imus is a good man who said a bad thing." I heard Mike Barnicle use this line on MSNBC yesterday afternoon, I just heard some friend of Imus say the same thing on Imus's show ("You're a good man, Don, and people need to understand that"), and Imus himself used this formulation during his on-air apology yesterday.
As far as I'm concerned, this is an amazingly inane thing to say. What is this abstract quality of "goodness" that has no relationship to a person's behavior? If you are "good" but repeatedly say and do vicious things that hurt people, what the hell does your "goodness" amount to?
This "he is a good man" nonsense is also a standard part of the Bush administration's defense of any friend who gets into trouble. Alberto Gonzalez may be a liar, a law-breaker, a political hack, a torture-enabler, and an incompetent buffoon to boot--but somehow his inherent "goodness" never changes, no matter how many revelations of his evil-doing come to light.
Interestingly enough, considering how quick these right-wing hypocrites are to claim the mantle of "Christian," Jesus himself specifically disavowed their use of the word "goodness":
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"You see the point. Jesus brusquely rejects the idea that "goodness" inheres in a person's character. Instead, it's all about behavior: "You know the commandments."
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" [Mark 10:17-19]
So please, pious phonies, spare us the homilies about how "good" you and your best friends are. Instead, devote your time and energy to actually doing the right thing--and let others decide whether or not your behavior merits the word "good." That's what Jesus did.
Tags: Don Imus, Mike Barnicle, George Bush, Alberto Gonzalez, Jesus