November 29th, 2006


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02:20 am - on efil4zaggin...

Kramer
nig‧ger[nig-er]
2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
a person of any race or origin regarded as
contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.
(I mean, seriously... look at him!)
So if you've been watching the news the last week or so (and my last post says that maybe some of you aren't), you might have heard that Michael Richards, TV's Kramer, apparently lost his mind at a comedy club on Nov. 17th and decided it was a good idea to call a black man seated in the audience a nigger. Repeatedly. As one might have guessed, this didn't exactly go over well with the American public, particularly those of the negro persuasion. Go figure.

Anyway, Richards later appeared on Letterman as a special guest of Jerry Seinfeld and apologized. I'm sure it was quite heartfelt and sincere, and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact Seinfeld DVD boxed sets that normally go for $50 a season were down to $16.99 at Best Buy when i was there this weekend.

So now, Jesse Jackson has called for a boycott of Seinfeld DVDs. Silly, but sure, I kinda get that. Makes sense. I'm not sure what Jesse hopes to gain, but ok fine. The owners of the Laugh Factory (the club where Richards went crazy) have called for Richards to donate half a million dollars to charity for each time he used the word. Kind of ridiculous for a guy who was a supporting actor on a TV show that ended eight years ago. But OK. But now comedian, Paul Mooney has joined with Jesse in asking for all comedians and regular people world wide to ban using "the N word" forever. Excuse me for a moment...

NIGGA PLEASE!

Ok, I'm certainly not going to excuse what Richards did. His little tirade was clearly full of malice and venom. But, you know what my favorite part of the word nigger is? Racists are so fond of using it that it makes them very easy to pick out. If anything, the casual usage of the word by the kids these days depowers it. Does it still have bite. Yes. Is it ok for people to just throw it around and not expect a certain response? Of course not. But Mooney has used the word enough in his life that he knows better than anyone that the word, like any other word, is just that. A word. Its the meaning behind it that matters. The intention of the speaker. Even if there was a law passed that made saying nigger punishable by death I could just as easily begin referring to blacks meanly as spics or kikes or chinks or melonheads. And a rap song can say nigga, bitch, ho or motherfucker and mean it endearingly. At the end of the day there's a lot of ugly in the world and there are a lot of words that identify that ugly. But if you look at ugly through rose colored lenses it's still ugly.

It's just pink.

(34 comments | Leave a comment)

 
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Comments:


[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: November 29th, 2006 - 07:55 am (Link)
I wonder what the appropriate response to this sort of thing is. It seems like what people want is for the racist to offer the most sincere-sounding, heartfelt apology possible, and then to hate him forever anyway. Which seems maybe counter-productive. I think that racists, in all likelihood, vastly outnumber people who approve of racism. That is, people pretend not to be racists because they see what happens in a case like this, and they've even got themselves fooled...but they're still racists. So should we confront what we are and try to improve, or is the point just to play nice and avoid unfortunate outbursts?

Also, Seinfeld for $16.99? Dude!
From: ludimagist Date: November 29th, 2006 - 08:28 am (Link)
I saw a joke not long after this happened about it being a new trend for celebs whose careers were floundering getting a lot of free press for making an obnoxious remark in public followed by an insincere apology.
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:16 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:14 pm (Link)
From: ludimagist Date: November 30th, 2006 - 12:16 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 30th, 2006 - 12:54 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: inmostlight Date: November 29th, 2006 - 12:37 pm (Link)
While not defending him and I've avoided watching the tirade, I am disturbed by the way comedy clubs are now banning certain words or subjects. Seriously, I'd be upset if I went to see a comedian and they didn't say something offensive.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:23 pm (Link)
well, yeah, that's why Paul Mooney should know better. One of the base tenets of comedy is insult. Who is being insulted and why shouldn't matter. What should matter is whether the comic is talented enough to make it funny. Granted RIchards wasn't funny, but oh well.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: November 29th, 2006 - 02:40 pm (Link)
If ugly through rose-tinted lenses is still ugly, then your rose-tinted lenses are broken... biatch!
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:24 pm (Link)
those aren't rose colored lenses, they're beer goggles, fool!
[User Picture]From: kenoubi Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:00 pm (Link)
You know, I have to say, I watched the video of Richards flipping out, and I was a bit baffled as to how he was acting. But for some reason I didn't take him seriously anyway. I guess no one is allowed to publicly be a racist these days, whether they are privately or not, and since a lot of people probably are and just don't say it, I viewed him as violating a societal taboo more than having an unusual contemptible viewpoint (though I do in fact find that viewpoint contemptible, primarily because I believe people should always be judged as individuals rather than members of groups, if possible), and I don't place much value on conformity to societal norms per se.

There's an episode of Seinfeld syndicated on a TV station that I watch just about every weeknight, and I haven't stopped watching or found Kramer to be any less funny of a character since this started. I guess I might be slightly more likely to pirate Seinfeld rather than buy the DVDs now, if I wanted to collect them, but honestly, they probably weren't that high on my list anyway. Point being, I don't seem to be motivated to punish Richards in any meaningful way for his behavior or views. I guess my moral compass is a bit weak (and of course, I'm rarely personally disadvantaged by racism, so it tends not to be one of my key issues).

I think I'm really tired of (and to a large extent, bored by) this whole "celebrity/politician scandal" pattern in general.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:25 pm (Link)
Most people aren't cut out for stand-up comedy. Michael Richards is obviously not. Someone who is cut out for stand-up would've spun that into part of their act.
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:39 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:38 pm (Link)
From: kenoubi Date: November 29th, 2006 - 07:25 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 10:22 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:27 pm (Link)
This really changed my opinion of him, although, admittedly, I didn't know much about him other than his character as Kramer--who I adored immensely and thought was a good guy. He really ruined that for a lot of people.

Even though I hadn't planned on buying the DVDs, I definitely won't now and I hope more people do follow suit. Sure, maybe he just slipped and maybe he isn't through and through a racist, but I think time needs to pass and he needs to learn a lesson. I know that my boycott is "punishment" toward Seinfeld and not just him; I wouldn't have any other way of letting him know I don't think his slip up was ok since I don't think he plans to tour here, to the best of my knowledge.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 03:42 pm (Link)
ok, that's what I was looking for. So what lesson do you hope to teach him? I'm not saying you shouldn't boycott the show. I'm saying, much like max1975 and I were discussing above, what is it you would hope is gained?
From: sonbanon Date: November 29th, 2006 - 04:02 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 04:21 pm (Link)
From: sonbanon Date: November 29th, 2006 - 04:33 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 05:00 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: akiramich Date: November 29th, 2006 - 04:14 pm (Link)
I was on vacation while this all happened, and so only saw some of the coverage. IS there any place that has the entire performance? Like was he trying to build to something--was there some sort of comedic bit he was trying for? Or did he just start freaking out at the heckler? Was it something where he was trying to do something in a bit or did he just totally lose it on the heckler?

Whatever the cause, this is going to be with him for the rest of his life.

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 04:27 pm (Link)
All I've been able to find is that little bit. As I understand it, he wasnt' very far into the set. He wasn't specifically trying to build to anything. He just got heckled and tried to turn it into a bit. It went poorly and he eventually walked off stage. That said, I've heard some other audio clips on the Stern show of him freaking out at other hecklers and using anti-semetic remarks. So its unclear whether he thinks the freaking out at hecklers thing is part of his act or not. In any case, he just isn't very funny. It's not the racism that bothers me. I use racial humor all the time, and I quite enjoy it from other comedians. I just like my humor to be... you know... funny.
From: jameel Date: November 29th, 2006 - 04:33 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 04:43 pm (Link)
From: akiramich Date: November 29th, 2006 - 05:19 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 29th, 2006 - 10:18 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: November 30th, 2006 - 12:05 am (Link)
Maybe it's too late for us. But wouldn't you want your children to grow up in a world that doesn't use the "N" word?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 30th, 2006 - 01:11 am (Link)
Actually no. I'd want my children to grow up in a world without racial prejudice and cultural ignorance, but seeing as how that's impossible, I'd settle for raising them to understand those things and I think banning "the N-word" is worse for that.

You see, the power behind the word "nigger" isn't intrinsic in its spelling or pronounciation. It is embued with that power by the reminder of the hatred and intent that it represents. If everyone suddenly stopped using the word tomorrow it would simply be replaced with some other word. Hence my joke about calling people melonheads.

Take for instance FCC regulations. You can't say "shit" on TV. So instead when someone on TV wants to say them they say "shoot" instead. Little kids say "darn" instead of "damn." Is that somehow less offensive? Why? The meaning is the same. If everyone stopped saying "shit" all of a sudden and started saying "shoot" instead then sooner or later the FCC would decide it was derogatory and block that instead.

Should my kid be offended if someone called them a nigger? Of course, but should they be any less offended if someone called them a "a dirty, ignorant african american?" I don't think so. I'd rather spend my energies teaching my children to rise above such petty racism. Not resorting to it, and understanding where the offense actually lies. With the feelings, not the verbiage.
From: kenoubi Date: November 30th, 2006 - 02:28 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: November 30th, 2006 - 02:37 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: sexcow Date: November 30th, 2006 - 06:09 am (Link)
Sadly , this is the most promotion/press he has got in quite a while.

I know the old saying "theres no such thing as bad press" but I dont think it applies.

if you look at ugly through rose colored lenses it's still ugly.

It's just pink.


AWESOME quote
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 30th, 2006 - 04:20 pm (Link)
thanx. I was pretty proud of that myself.
 

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