Shameful Guilty Pleasures

radio and cable talk show host Don Imus, WFAN Radio
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Speaking with a black friend of mine, I confessed that I sometimes listen to Don Imus.

Kind of a guilty pleasure, I said.

He said, "You know, I feel the same way about Howard Stern. Some of the things he says are horrible, but they're funny."

Why are these guilty pleasures?

Because deep down, we know so much of their humor is rooted in misogyny, homophobia and a catalogue of biases and prejudices as deep as the human psyche.

About the time political correctness became normative, there was a normal reaction.

Stern and Imus and others live to blow holes in convention. No cows are sacred. No politician or celebrity is safe from skewering.

They attract audiences in the millions in part because people like to share in the sense that they, too, are not bound by civility — if only to laugh out loud in the car on the way to work. What can it hurt?

Don Imus seems genuinely shaken by the reactions to his racial slur. Those of us who have listened should share in the shame.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith