English grammar was challenged this week when journalists scrambled to determine the correct spelling for the plural of the word, "ho."
It's not the usual challenge newspaper editors face, but talk show host Don Imus's controversial comments this week have brought this dilemma to the forefront of American linguistic debate. I've seen it spelled "hos," "hoes," and "ho's" by various media outlets.
(I personally vote for the spelling, "hoes." It follows all the conventional rules, yo.)
Imus, we all know, got into trouble after referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team on his radio show as a bunch of "nappy-headed ho(e)(')s."
But it seems Imus is not the only person in the media using this controversial word.
Personal note to the editors over at cnn.com: You guys really need to be careful how you crop your photos of Dana Perino, the new White House spokeswoman.
First, MSNBC pulled the plug on the TV simulcast of Imus's radio show. Then, earlier this evening, CBS gave him the shaft as well and told Imus not to come back to their radio airwaves. This is after Imus referred last week to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as a bunch of "nappy-headed hoes."
Both networks are claiming their decision had nothing to do with the fact that sponsors were bailing from the show in droves. NBC News president Steve Capus said in an interview on MSNBC the decision to cut ties with Imus was not financially motivated, and that the network did it because it was simply the right thing to do.
Lovely, Mr. Capus. Yay for doing the right thing. But let's review. According to CNN, here are some other comments Imus has made in the past:
In the mid 1990s, after the New York Times hired African-American journalist Gwen Ifill as a White House correspondent,
Imus said it was nice of the paper to "let the cleaning lady cover the
White House." (You kept him on the air then.)
In 1998, Imus called media commentator Howard Kurtz a "boner-nosed, beanie-wearing Jew boy." (You kept him on the air then.)
In 2006, Imus referred to CBS Radio's "Jewish management" as "money-grubbing bastards." (You kept him on the air then.)
But wait! There's more! According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
Last month, Imus's producer, Bernard McGuirk, called Barack Obama a "young, colored fellow." (You kept him on the....)
During Yasser Arafat's funeral in 2004, Imus's producer, Sid Rosenberg, said Palestinians are "stinking animals," adding, "They ought to
drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now." (Yup....)
I could go on, but I'll spare you.
Now, NBC and CBS are basking in the glory of having "done the right thing."
Way to go, networks! What took you so long? I can't help but notice you kept Don Imus on the air when Imus and his producers' racist / sexist / homophobic / anti-Semitic / anti-Arab comments in the past were making you lots of money.