Monday, November 27, 2006

Page 1 Consider (11/27)


  • Stiflegate: I was home for Thanksgiving during the whole Kelly Ripa-Clay Aiken fracas, so forgive me for pointing out what others may have already. But is Rosie O'Donnell not the best thing since sliced bread? "To me, that was a homophobic remark," O'Donnell said. "If that was a straight man, if that was a cute man, if that was a guy that she didn't question his sexuality, she would have said a different thing. I guarantee if that was Mario Lopez, she would not have said the same thing." While I completely agree with Rosie on this point, you gotta love it when your "advocate" calls you ugly and outs you in one fell swoop on national television. ("Commack in the house!!!) I felt this photo of Kelly's putting her hand over Regis' mouth pretty much let the air out of her "it's cold and flu season" balloon, but my sister says it's different to do that to someone with whom you're friends versus someone you're not -- while my mom thinks that "Rosie doesn't need to speak on behalf of all gay people." Fair enough (and I quickly changed the subject). (TittleTattle)

  • Reading Into Things Is Not Fundamental: Newsweek has a piece about race this week, written in the aftermath of Michael Richards' "meltdown" at the Laugh Factory. The story says "it's time to tell the truth about what's too scary to say out loud." Now I don't really know anything about the Kramer incident, so what I'm about to say isn't really referring to that. But call me naive (and start sending me threatening e-mails), but am I the only one who thinks adjectives used in frustration often get twisted into something far more nefarious? Sure, when Mel Gibson got drunk and let loose an anti-Semitic rant, that struck me as his true feelings finally coming out. But if I get cut off by a black woman on the highway and I scream "You fucking black bitch!" to myself or aloud, is that being racist? I'd scream "Fucking Stepford Wife!" if a prissy blond woman in a minivan in suburban Connecticut did it -- and I may very well scream "Stupid cocksucker!" if some gay guy with highlights and a rainbow flag on his Mini Cooper did it in Dupont Circle. When someone pisses me, I tend to call 'em like I see 'em -- across the board. (I think others feel the same way.) So now it's time for me to tell the truth about what's too scary to say out loud. There is racism in this world (just as there is homophobia). But not everything is about race. (Newsweek)

  • Twins: Did you hear about the boy born in Chile with a fetus in his stomach? Doctors are saying it was a rare case of "fetus in fetu" in which one twin becomes trapped inside another during pregnancy and continues to grow inside it. I'm sure Bill Frist thinks the second baby will be just fine -- and Rick Santorum wants to bring it home for a few days and bond. (Reuters)

  • Wal-Mart Pulls a Ford: An anti-gay Christian group that had called on supporters to boycott Wal-Mart's post-Thanksgiving Day sales to protest the retailer's support of gay rights groups withdrew its objections on Tuesday. The American Family Association, which had been asking supporters to stay away from Wal-Mart on Friday and Saturday -- two of the busiest shopping days of the year -- said it was pleased that Wal-Mart had pledged in a statement to stay away from controversial causes. (AP)

  • Holiday Blues? I don't think I've ever felt more indignant about an op-ed piece than I did by today's Bob Herbert column on Iraq, in which he describes "competing news images" of Black Friday and the mass killings in Baghdad: "There is something terribly wrong with this juxtaposition of gleeful Americans with fistfuls of dollars storming the department store barricades and the slaughter by the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including old people, children and babies. The war was started by the U.S., but most Americans feel absolutely no sense of personal responsibility for it. This indifference is widespread. It enables most Americans to go about their daily lives completely unconcerned about the atrocities resulting from a war being waged in their name. While shoppers here are scrambling to put the perfect touch to their holidays with the purchase of a giant flat-screen TV or a PlayStation 3, the news out of Baghdad is of a society in the midst of a meltdown." At least half of all Americans -- including yours truly -- did not did not vote for the president, did not support this war, and believe this administration has made a mockery of this country's founding principles. It's the holiday season here in America --what are we supposed to do? (NYTSelect)
  • 20 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    RE; the Michael Richards incident and the daily personal similer incidents we ALL have EVERY day - -this was blown WAY out of proportion, as the media is known to do, and certain members of the public as well. Think about it. When we get angry we generally say something we think will HURT the person who is the target of our anger (Kenneth listed some great examples) - and NOT necessarily something that we truly believe (no Freud here, thank you very much). It's just common sense if you know anything about psychology...

    Bobby Rivers said...

    There's a big difference between an adjective out of frustration (like something you shout in frustration in a car on the freeway) vs a racial slur. If you were in a Chelsea club and a Black guy accidentally dropped a drink on your new shoes, would you say "Bitch, look what you did?!? or "N***er, you should be lynched"? Check my blog -- Gays & Racism. www.BobbyRivers.com

    Kenneth M. Walsh said...

    I finally got off my ass and watched the Michael Richards clip (nothing like knowing what the hell you're writing about!) and what I gathered was that he was guilty of the worst Richard Pryor/Chris Rock imitation in the history of stand-up comedy (insert black people can say things white people can't explanation here).

    To me, the thing Richards was most guilty of -- and as a comedian this is probably the most egregious -- was not being the least bit funny. But is this really a surprise for a has-been sitcom star doing stand-up?

    James said...

    Oh please. When did you ever call someone a stupid Stepford wife when you were angry? Don't get me wrong. As you said the whole thing was made too big and Richards wasn't even funny; HOWEVER, let's not try to make it appear as if race no longer matters. When a white woman from CT cuts you off, her do not think about race because she's white and one of the things about being white in the USA means you are seen as an individual. That black woman doesn't have the same privilege.

    As for Rosie, I sort of wish she would drop her spokesperson role. I'm glad she is out and proud, but she jumps on the bandwagon to speak for the community like she's our queen (I didn't give her my vote). Maybe Rippa was pissed because a C star like Aiken was acting like he was a B-star (which really has nothing to do with homophobia).

    Hope you had a decent Thanksgiving.

    peace

    sigmund freud said...

    James,did you deliberately change "FUCKING Stepford Wife" to "STUPID Stepford Wife" to try to make your point come to life or was it your subconscious white guilt at play trying to make the "FUCKING black bitch" comment seem worse?

    Me wonder ...

    James said...

    Sigmund,

    No need to wonder. It was a mistake and I apologize for that. As for my perceived white guilt, how do you know I'm white?

    peace

    sigmund freud said...

    lol! trust me, you're white!

    Anonymous said...

    bobby -- your point is well-taken and i don't think ken is putting richards's rant into the same category.

    that said, people who won't shut the fuck up during concerts, performances and movies DO deserve to be lynched, but it was nothing to do with race ...

    James said...

    Sigmund,

    Then I suggest you go back to school. I'm black. But I have been called an oreo a few times (last time by a former white boss).

    peace

    Steve said...

    I agree with James. Most angry whites would be far more likely to yell "stupid black b*tch" at a black driver than "stupid white b*tch" at a caucasian one. And yelling "Stepford Wife" is not quite the same thing as yelling "black b*tch," because it's more about the individual and less about her race.

    What's interesting is how instantaneously humans resort to race, both as an identifier and as an insult.

    The most surprising aspect of this story for me was that anyone would pay to see Michael Richards do standup!

    Chuck said...

    I have been cut off while driving and worse by all kinds of people but NEVER has the term "Nigger" entered my mind let alone left my lips when done by a black person.

    Anonymous said...

    Would somebody get Chuck a medal???

    larry david said...

    I think the black guys in the audience owe Michael Richards an apology. They screamed that he hasn't done anything but Seinfeld and completely neglected to mention his being an original cast member on "Fridays".

    Anonymous said...

    Like it or not, there is a lot of wiggle room for race, gender, class, etc. when someone is doing stand-up comedy. You have to be there to know the mood, the audience, the vibe.

    Now is Lisa Lampanelli's routine as racist as Michael Richards' rant? You betcha. But I've seen it and I've seen the people in the audience react to it. Because there's a thread of truth to what she's saying it's funny. Actually REALLY FUNNY!!!

    walter said...

    i love how sanctimonious people like steve and james are.

    people are complex. life is complex. situations are complex. it is so great that you can say I WOULD NEVER DO XXX and feel superior to everyone. i wish i could be you.

    James said...

    Walter,

    Please read what I wrote. Said the incident was not a big deal. Even said if Richards had been funny no one would have cared (in agreement with our gracious host Kenneth). But I also said race still matters. Saying that does not imply I'm perfect and unlike Richards my rants never make it to the front page.

    Steve said...

    Walter, I never said "I WOULD NEVER DO XX," and neither did James. In fact, when I say it's interesting how quickly humans turn to race, I'm including myself.

    S. Holmes said...

    I believe we all have our prejudices and we may say them out loud in front of friends and others like us. However, there is a difference between what Richards said and your scenarios (and for that matter, what Richard Pryor and Chris Rock have said) and average everyday frustrations.

    Nigger is not a word I use often and I hope none of my white friends use it at all, but I understand that people do use that word and it doesn't necessarily make them racist. When the word is yelled several times in conjunction with saying "50 years ago you would have been strung up...," I'm saying that's pretty racist.

    As a comedian, Richards should have been prepared with funny comebacks for hecklers, not sure about the rest of the act but lynching is not really funny (maybe it's just me).

    Be real, if a gay guy made a pass at a straight guy and he then went on a tirade about faggots and how at another time in history the gay guy could have been mutilated for doing that, shouldn't the straight guy be labeled a homophobe?

    Lavi said...

    We could have had a national day of anti-war protesting. We could have refused to shop on "Black Friday" and instead sent our money to organizations opposing Republicand and pro-War Democrats. We could have partnered with the largest retailers to close all stores on that day and give employees a day off to ponder the massive carnage in Iraq, including the death of our own service members. With all those wonderful families together for Thanksgiving we could have seen marches, protests, and rallies in towns and cities large and small callling for the impeachment of President Bush. Shopping is not the answer. We have a $500 billion dollar war to pay for, so we should probably be saving up for that. Or retirement. Or health care. Yeah, Black Friday was another great opportunity lost to protest, but what else is news. I shop therefore I am, apparently. I think they call it Affluenza. And on to Christmas.... Your ever cheerful blogger friend, L.

    Our Daily Ripa said...

    Kelly is Ripalicious!

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