Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Michael Richards: The N Word and The PC Police

Michael Richards had a bad night at a comedy club with his performance and with some hecklers who didn’t like his use of the N Word. In a rage Richards screamed the N word at a black heckler who evidently took offense to part of Richards’ skit in which the N word was used. Today the media and PC police including other comics are attacking Richards over the incident. Richards made an apology on Letterman last night while Seinfeld sat next to Letterman and tried to add some seriousness to the performance of Richards.

The Hollywood World and the Politically Correct Police are now out in full force demanding the blood of Richards because they feel his act of contrition was not good enough. Perhaps nothing in our PC society is as superficial as this moment in time and the condemnation of Richards whose comedy routine just didn’t make it to say the least. We are a nation of superficial acts while Rome Burns. Comedy will always push the bounds of race, politics, religion, culture, and sex to mention just a few.

The thing which is most amazing is when rappers and music artists use the N word time after time and treat and call women whores and hoes in songs and videos where is the outrage from these same people? In fact, many of the celebs and comics who condemned Richards attend parties by these musicians and their record labels. I guess that martini in your hand can numb the effects of the N word being used in their songs. There is a double standard at work here and the media refuses to touch it.

Black comedians like Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and others have pushed the envelope on race, sex (including gays), and have said numerous things which patrons could have taken offense to. But it is alright when they use N word, or fag, degrade women, or make sexist comments but it’s not alright if a white comedian does it! Why? Well obviously there is a double standard and readily apparent to anyone who wants to see it.

I photographed a few professional sporting events in my life including some professional basketball games. I don’t know what it’s like now sitting underneath the basket at a basketball arena doing photography but years ago I heard the N word from players yelling at each other on more than one occasion. They aren’t calling each other brother when they smash each other underneath the rim!

I am an Italian American. The movies, videos, and books paint all Italians as being in the mob. Look at the great success of the Sopranos and movies like the Godfather etc. If you did a statistical analysis of the movies using Italian characters I ‘m sure it would show that we are normally portrayed in a bad light and have some connection to crime. Do I go ballistic every time I see such a portrayal? If I did I wouldn’t get anything done in my life because it’s a constant reinforcement of these stereotypes. I don’t know if Michael Richards is racist I personally don’t think he is but it really doesn’t matter what I think. But I do know this if the PC police are going to swing the sword and want more of Richards’ blood there are two edges of that sword , and they might be very careful because the edge that they are not looking at may swing right at their heads the next time. Where does one draw the line between bad tastes versus racism? Where does one draw the line between political discourse and outright hatred whether it’s on the right or the left? Where does one draw the line between what a black comedian can say and a white comedian can’t? Where does one draw the line between free speech and oppression of that speech because it offends someone? If Richards is guilty or racism instead of bad taste and a poor comedy routine then who will be the next to take the hit because you talked about a fat chick or gays, Republicans or Democrats or whatever. Get over it! The world is going to hell in Iraq and the environment is being destroyed and we are wasting time over this! This is what democracy is about. It’s about bad taste. It’s about bad comedy skits. It’s about bad political views ….because democracy isn’t here to protect what you think is right, it’s here to protect what you find offensive and perhaps to some of you racist too! But just remember that when someone thinks what you say is offensive and labels you that. Whether it’s the N word or Wop or Dago perhaps we should remember the context it was said in and get on with our lives quit parading out the PC Police in our superficial world!

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