Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Maybe Imus Was Right

I don't know why this really pisses me off, but it does. One of the women who played on the Rutger's basketball team is suing Don Imus (and his co-host and CBS Corp and CBS Radio) for defamation. "This is about Kia Vaughn's good name," says her unctuous attorney, Richard Ancowitz. "She would do anything to return to her life as a student and respected basketball player."

You mean that Imus' offhanded comments that didn't even mention Miss Vaughn by name resulted in her being expelled from school and in her no longer being respected for her basketball prowess? You mean that people heard those comments and REALLY believe that Kia Vaughn is a prostitute? Come on Mr. Ancowitz and Miss Vaughn! The tastelessness of Mr. Imus' off-the-cuff remarks of April 4 pale in comparison with the slimy venality of your preposterous lawsuit!

I thought the whole brouhaha over Imus's remarks was ridiculous in the first place, but this takes ridiculousness to a whole different level. As Bill Maher said last night on the Larry King Show:

"I thought it was overblown to begin with, so I'm not surprised. You know, America has a way of just going crazy, out of control, buck wild, bat nuts about everything. We are such a nation of 10-year-old girls. No matter what happens we go oh no, this can't happen. We've got to get rid of that guy, made me uncomfortable for two seconds. Of course what he said was wrong, yadda, yadda. Let it go...You know, I was offended. I'm offended by something every day because it's a stupid country and I read stupid things and, God, that's so stupid. You know what I do. I turn the page and I move on with my life."

I guess I should follow Maher's lead and just "turn the page" on this whole stupid lawsuit issue. But not until I vent my spleen and say that I feel nothing but disgust for Kia Vaughn and her shyster attorney and hope that they not only don't make one red cent off this travesty but that they both suffer a SERIOUS loss of respect and all that goes with it for their actions.

Of course, Imus will settle with them, and the rest of the Rutger's women may well take their places in line weeping crocodile tears over their "damaged reputations" and holding out their hands for their share of the booty. But I hope not. I hope that the rest of these women have the integrity Miss Vaughn and her slimy attorney clearly do not, and that we can all "turn the page" and "move on" from this egregious abuse of the legal system and begin to stem the tide of America's obscene litigiousness.


Tom said...

I agree with your post for the most part, but not with the title you've given it or with the Maher quote.

We participate in forming our society from examples that bubble up. Stark examples, not generalities, are what we most easily relate to. Imus's tasteless comment became a sensation, but that is simply the way it is: A few crazy things become what everyone talks about. Imus is famous; his remark was extreme; it had different interesting aspects to it that delved into problems in our society. It was rather healthy, really, that the topics came up and society reacted, overwhelmingly, in condemnation of Imus's remarks.

As for Kia Vaughn's lawsuit: She has a right to sue, but we can hope the legal system might work as it should. If facts are what they seem to be, she won't get anywhere, we can hope. Her lawsuit seems to be a demonstration of legal shenanigans; but her suit may be abruptly dismissed and the legal system may work just as it should.

Nagarjuna said...

Tom, I understand your questioning my title. I guess you could say that it arose more from my anger than from a dispassionate look at the circumstances. But I wrote what I did partly to "nakedly reveal" my anger and to, perhaps, raise the issue now or later of why I reacted with so much anger to this whole story. Might it be touching upon some "shadow issues" of mine? I wonder.

Having said that, I'm not sure it's such a tremendous stretch to suggest that Ms. Vaughn and her lawyer may well be abusing the legal system and that she may be prostituting her integrity for a quick and undeserved payoff that she will no doubt receive.

As for Vaughn's "right to sue," I reluctantly agree that she has this right, but I'm wondering how long these kinds of lawsuits can continue before this right is or should be taken away or at least curtailed to prevent these legal travesties from continuing at their present rate. I, for one, am sick of these frivolous lawsuits and the greed or vindictiveness that they manifest and reinforce.

Tom said...

I only know what I do about law from what I learn on TV and in the movies, but I would hope that court costs would be borne by Vaughn's side if she were to try to press her case and as expected it has no merit.

While there are exceptions, I *think* that justice is mostly served, but with a few exceptions that get a lot of press.

I respect your opinion that there is too much tendancy to litigate. If that is so, laws should be adjusted to make the sting of pressing frivolous lawsuits move painful.

I guess I'm more "optimistic" about all of this. The burden of proof will be with Vaughn. Generally, laws are well written and judges and juries are well-meaning and commonsensical.

Nagarjuna said...

Tom, the problem with this and many similar cases is that the person being sued will settle out of court to avoid a protracted and more expensive battle in court. I have no doubt that Imus will do this with Miss Vaughn even if he might well prevail in court or, at least, should do so on the merits of the case. It's simply more cost effective for him to avoid a trial. Besides, suppose he gets an O.J. jury and loses. So, Miss Vaughn and other unsavory money-grubbers have, under the current system, all the incentive in the world to sue, and if, like her and her slimy lawyer, they lack the moral scruples to resist the temptation, we'll see what we're seeing in this unfortunate case.

Of course, I don't know what alternative would be better than the system in place, but surely there are some bright and ethical legal minds that can come up with something. Perhaps they already have. And, in the meantime, maybe sufficient numbers of the public ostracizing the likes of Miss Vaughn and her lawyer will discourage some of these legal outrages.

Finding Fair Hope said...

I'm sure you read about my feelings on this on my blog, Steve, but your outrage exceeds mine. I actually used to enjoy the Imus show and regret, that although CBS settled with him and he will be allowed to return to the airwaves, he certainly won't be on his old MSNBC show where they have tried many a lame substitute already and settled on the rather nondescript Joe Scarborough.

And Kia Vaughn was just a sidelight on the matter. It was bound to happen. I believe she is the one who made the comment that his remark had scarred her for life. She doesn't have tattoos, but she may have indeed been the one whose picture he saw that prompted his tasteless joke.

I am less passionate about this now that my side clearly lost to the Sharpton/Jackson/Roker side in April. I'm interested to see how it will finally play out.

Nagarjuna said...

Hi, Mary Lois--
Yes, I did read your recent entry about this. I confess that I never cared much for Imus. I watched him for a few minutes a few times and wondered why he was popular enough to have a successful radio and TV show. He struck me as a big, dour-faced windbag with nothing substantive to say about anything. But perhaps I didn't watch or listen to him enough. And, in any case, I thought the public's reaction to him was blown out of proportion and that he didn't deserve to lose his job. But after he issued his apologies and even had a long meeting with the team to apologize and there was a public statement that, to the best of my recollection, his apology had been accepted, and everything pretty much died down, I thought it was all over. And then I read that Miss Vaughn is suing Imus, and I saw her lawyer on TV explaining why she was suing, and I just didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit.

I still don't, and I still hope she doesn't get anything but trouble for her efforts, although you and I both know that Imus is going to end up settling with her rather than face a protracted and even more expensive lawsuit. It's the American Way.