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Sam Katz
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I don’t know what is more fascinating -- this charity blog’s assessment of the Imus Ranch or the Comments section that follows. It seems Don’s listeners and fans have absorbed his sense of entitlement and his uncontrollable bullying impulses through over-exposure to his radio waves. I don’t know if this is a “first in media” phenomenon or whether this dates back to the days when Orson Welles so mesmerized his listeners that some of them leapt to their deaths during his broadcast of “War of the Worlds.” But, if I were checking this site to decide whether or not I would donate to the Imus Ranch or send my child there, I might hesitate, based alone on the comments left by the obscene, aggressive, and downright scary fans who sound as if they all just stepped out of a Mafia social club rather than a summer facility for ill children. No one posting here seems at all concerned with either the very valid points the writer has brought to light or how their vicious and illogical demeanor(s) might scare away an impartial, potential donor. It really doesn’t matter how much the Ranch cost if it’s not your money; nor do the motivations of the founders matter very much, either. The question still remains as to what Imus’ broadcasting facility has to do with the camp, unless, of course, Don wants to start teaching the visiting kids something about radio, which would be a wonderful concept to develop. It could open up a whole new world to these children to allow them to explore what it is like to be on-air, to interview each other about whatever topics they like (including their illnesses or just their time at the ranch), or to spin records like the disk jockey Imus once was, or read aloud, or write and perform plays or skits, or any of the myriad ways radio was and is utilized and enjoyed in our society. If Don were not so anti-social, he might find some colleagues who could overcome both the New Mexico altitude and his rotten attitude and turn the Ranch into something more productive than a place to dig manure out of the hoof of a pony. He might actually impart something of real value, like the talent he was naturally gifted with; after all, he is in the Broadcasting -- not the Rodeo -- Hall of Fame. Imus once told me that, “whatever you deserve is what you get.” I guess that means that he deserves his celebrity and his fortune, but that he also deserves the scrutiny of his motives and his finances. Unfortunately, it also means that at one time he truly believed that these ill children deserved the lousy hand that God netted out to them. That is not and has never been a charitable way of looking at life, but that is who Imus was and will always be to many of us who got too close to his fire and were not afforded the delusional comfort level of those posting here. Well, what they don’t know won’t hurt them and forgive them, they know not what they do. But for the rest of you, think twice when it comes to financing the canonization of the Imuses. There are many non-profits and cancer facilities, including dozens of cancer camps, in America, founded by people with much less power and money. And they, too, deserve your time and attention. And whether a man with four Marconi Awards, a huge waterfront estate in Connecticut, a penthouse on Central Park West, and an insult and insouciance for everyone and everything deserves your hard-earned donation … well, that’s something to think very carefully about.
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Apr 23, 2011