Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is a columnist for The American Prospect. She is research director of People for the American Way, and a winner of the Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism.

Recent Articles


DWEEBS AND BAD BOYS. Reader Howard, commenting on my last post, called my attention to a wonderful piece by Sam Tanenhaus that ran in yesterday�s New York Times . In an essay in the Week in Review, Tanenhaus, now the editor of the New York Times Book Review , recounts his own seduction into Imusland, a phenomenon that occurred after Imus took an on-air shine to Tanenhaus�s biography of Whitaker Chambers , and began having Tanenhaus as a regular guest. By now, I was tuning in regularly. It had become part of my routine: waking up each morning to WFAN and the frisson of hearing my name broadcast on the radio. Of course, I was hearing other things, too, and they were disturbing at times: slurs against black athletes, an �impersonation� of Clarence Thomas that didn�t sound like him at all (unlike the impersonations of white figures), but instead drew on the stalest of the �here come de judge� grotesqueries of a previous era; the almost...


LITERAL WORDS. Yeah, I know that I should've given this horse his last lash a while back, but I simply cannot resist bringing to Tapped readers (in case you missed them) the words of New York Times columnist David Brooks on the Imus affair. Talking to NPR's David Folkenflick , Brooks answered this way a call for penance by historian and author Philip Nobile for having appeared with apparent glee as a guest on "Imus in the Morning": "You know, when you're dealing with humor, you're not dealing with literal words. You're dealing with people who are putting on a costume." It would seem that Brooks could use some tutoring from his colleague, language maven William Safire , on the application of the word "literal." I have always thought that when one is speaking, one is using "literal" words. By their nature, words are literal. I presume here to deduce that what Brooks intended to say was that a humorist donning the costume of, say, a bigot -- for the benefit, most likely, of a bigoted...


IMUS IS GONE. RIGHT THING DONE. Last night, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone promised that CBS News honcho Les Moonves would "do the right thing" with regard to the future of Don Imus 's program on the CBS radio network, but would not say exactly what that right thing is. Today we learned Imus has been fired from his radio show. I do hope that this does not end the discussion on race and gender that was sparked by Imus's egregious taunt. And I have no intention of letting up on the cable news shows for their lack of women commentators -- especially African-American women -- even when the discussion focuses on the treatment of women. It will be interesting to see with whom MSNBC fills its guest analyst roster tonight. For a look at who's been commenting so far, check out this list . -- Adele M. Stan


SINCERELY DISAPPOINTED. When the venerable, D.C.-based public radio talk show host Diane Rehm takes on an issue, I like to pay attention. Rehm asks pointed questions in a non-threatening way, evoking some of the most thoughtful conversations one is likely to hear on radio. But today, in taking on the issue of Don Imus 's extraordinarily mysogynist remarks, Rehm featured only men as commentators. I find it maddening to hear all these men talking about how African-American women have been so degraded. Are there no African-American women willing or able to discuss this issue? Of course there are! So why do even the best talk show hosts continually turn to only men for commentary on the degradation of women? --Adele M. Stan


MSNBC DUMPS IMUS; EXPERT PANELS STILL BOYS' CLUB . . Don't get me wrong; I do see real progress in MSNBC's dumping of its "Imus in the Morning" simulcast, even if it does give us the sad spectacle of a senior member of radio royalty suddenly dethroned for doing pretty much what he has always done. Indeed, given all of the slurs with which Don Imus has gotten away over the years, it's not that difficult to understand how he can really believe that he's not a racist even though he says horribly racist things. After all, he has just been giving the people what they want. But the Imus show seems to have been a guilty pleasure for his listeners -- sorta like porn, one imagines. Fun until someone knows just what you're getting off on. (Not that I would have any idea.) This time, it was the double-whammy of Imus's sexism combined with his racism that did him in, along with the particular distribution of racial characteristics among the people in this story: powerful white man with lots of...