The funniest thing to me about this whole Imus drama – besides how ugly he is – is that my mom used to be a big Imus fan during the 90’s. A huge fan. I had gotten her into listening to Howard Stern – my shock jock of choice – but she’d sometimes secretly sneak back over to Imus and sit by her radio in the kitchen eating Cheerios and chuckling.
Now, seeing as most people here do not know my mom, let me start by saying that among many other things, she was a very liberal feminist. When she was pregnant she’d go to pro-choice rallies (I think she liked the effect of being a pregnant lady who was for the right to an abortion) and as a kid I’d always try to wear her neon pink “CHOICE” hat because I loved the color. I’ve been wondering what she’d think of this current controversy and I’m pretty sure she’d be horrified, like most of us are. The fact that the targets of his words were positive young women probably would have pissed her off even more.
But since I’ll never know, I’m always going to remember her as an Imus fan. She never could tell me why she liked Imus, but she was so committed to the show that she bought an official piece of Imus merchandise, a hefty jean jacket with a giant American flag on the back. And she wore it a lot – all the while greeted by mortified glares from her teenage daughter – in between her more New England-y outfits.
My mom would probably be annoyed that I was telling the web-world this, as it only speaks to a teeny tiny piece of who she was from a certain time in her life. But it’s something about her that I love, unexplainable yet strong, and I think it’s a nice example of all our human layers. We can be a lot of things, and it doesn’t always fit nicely with everything else about us. I’ve loved Howard Stern since I was fourteen, and majored in Women’s Studies when I was in college. The contradiction used to drive my male roommate Tyler crazy, and he’d yell at me as I’d watch Howard’s E show from our couch.”I don’t get it!” He’d shout. “You’re a feminist and this guy is degrading women and talking about their boobs! how does it not bother you!”
Some things did bother me, but overall I loved the show so much (and still do). I remain devastated that I am currently too poor to own Sirius radio. I think about what I’m missing on Howard every day. Especially now – Howard, unlike my mom, hates Imus.