Imus is back on the air this morning, after an 8-month vacation. Makes a big bluster about how the Rutgers team realized he "wasn't some vicious racist," and naturally makes no comment about his misogyny. Promises "I will never say anything in my lifetime that will make any of these young women at Rutgers regret or feel foolish that they accepted my apology and forgave me. And no one else will say anything on my program that will make anyone else think that I didn't deserve a second chance."
Two minutes later: "Not much has changed. Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, Hillary Clinton is still Satan and I'm back on the radio!"
For the dim-witted among us, let me explain why that is not equivalent: A valid legal argument can be made that Dick Cheney is a war criminal. There is no valid argument to be made that Hillary is Satan. (No matter how many times Chris Matthews makes it.) And there is a very specific history of (literally) demonizing women by casting them as Satan, "she-devils," or tools of the devil that goes all the way back to Eve. It is meant to suggest the intrinsic evil of womanhood. But I'm sure Imus didn't mean it that way, just like he didn't mean the Rutgers team were prostitutes when he called them hos. Like every other modern bigot, he just wants to employ the negative associations of terms like "Satan" and "ho," without the literalism—as if it's the literalism that's the problem.
Conferring legitimacy on this racist, misogynist douchebag's return to the airwaves: presidential contenders and Senators John McCain and Chris Dodd.
Chris Dodd should fire whoever told him that was a good idea, because it really, really wasn't.