Will it ever happen? I am beginning to have my doubts. It seems everywhere I look; there is another story or report about the fallout from the now famous racist rant of the less than funny Michael Richards. First, it was his apology on David Letterman; an apology thought to be another one of his bits. This was because at the time the apology was offered, not many had seen the now infamous cell phone generated video.
Having seen said video before getting to see the less than believable apology offered; at least I had the "luxury" of understanding the context. While this really didn't make much difference to me, and still doesn't, at least I had a frame of reference for the beleaguered "comic's" act of contrition. That put me just one beard whisker ahead of the poor saps in David Letterman's audience who could only wonder why Seinfeld was chastising them for taking an apology for the kind of comic bit for which Richards is famous.
Being the realist that I am, I knew that wouldn't be the end of it. I figured there'd be a few more days worth of mileage to be derived from Richards' sorry tirade. After all, Iraq was getting ready to fall into complete anarchy and cross the line into all out civil war. There would have to be some story in the news trumped up beyond all reasonability to smooth over the lumpy truth that at long last, a match had been dropped upon the powder keg we created in Iraq. What better story to fill that need to divert than the hate-filled hostility hurled by a half-baked has-been humorist harassing a heckler?
It truly is the perfect concoction to keep us all in a snit as Iraq continues to implode. It has intrigue. It has righteous indignation. It has racism. And it offers up a scapegoat; a better focus for our societal anger than the person who should be the focus, DUBYA. Oh yes, we can now hate Michael Richards because a white man dared to say the word "n-word".
Therein lies the part of the story that just makes me want to puke. Since I live near "beautiful" downtown Dallas, I have a rather unique perspective. Air conditioning season is over here, and that means the windows on my car are down more than usual. That means I get to hear the "musical" choices of drivers around me. Therefore, I get to hear the thump-thump throb of numerous "hoopties" polluting the air with [C]rap "music". That means I get to hear the word with incredible regularity. Now whether it's pronounced with an 'er' or an 'ah', the meaning is still the same to my untrained ear.
The point I am making, in case it was lost because I dared to spell out the word instead of using the euphemistic "'n' word" is the word is used all the time in its unbridled form. [C]rap "musicians" would be forced to only "sing" about cops and bitches without that six-letter gem. Richard Prior's comedy would have been barely half of what it was without the word. Without it, one of his most famous albums, That n-word's Crazy wouldn't exist. Blazing Saddles would have had no plot whatsoever without the word. The Def Comedy Jam circuit would have a lot less material without it. Dave Chappelle and Carlos Mencia's routines would be much shorter. It's ok for all these to say this word, apparently because they are not Caucasian. Caucasian comedians can't conjugate it correctly, I guess.
Speaking of comedy, I think there is a point that is missed. From what I have seen of the "tape", the audience was laughing about it for at least the first couple of minutes. Yes, in what I see as just another bit of irony, until it became clear that Richards was spewing anger-filled hatred, people were laughing about it. They thought it was part of the routine. Until it became clear that he wasn't doing a bit, everyone thought it was a joke.
Of course they did. Stereotypes and epithets are just a couple of the weapons contained in the arsenal of the comedian. Had that not been the case, no one would have been laughing. The outrage would have been immediate instead of coming when it became clear it wasn't a bit.
What hypocrisy! If the word was so offensive, then it was offensive from the first utterance of it from his lips. Since it wasn't offensive from that point, how did his tirade morph into the biggest "hate crime" to be perpetrated in public, in recent memory?
Easy. Remember what story it is hiding? Oh yeah, that's right, we have turned Iraq from perhaps the most stable part of the Middle East into a region now embroiled in all out civil war. Goddess knows America really doesn't want to face that stinking, festering reality. It's a lot easier to focus on the racist diatribe of a washed-up comedian than it is to face what we have wrought in Iraq.
I am not saying there's no story. I'm saying the response is a bit overblown in reference to its real importance in the state of our world and country today. Sorry if I am not jumping on the crucify Kramer bandwagon. I think it's a complete waste of space in the news cycle. It also supplants other stories that are much more important.
Just a few weeks ago, an association of Southern Baptists publicly called for open hatred and discrimination against gays. Further, they threatened members of their flock with what amounts to excommunication for being friendly to gays in any way. Where was all this f*cking righteous indignation then? Other than maybe one or two articles here, a very small smattering of sound bytes and a bit of grumbling, there was no righteous indignation; none at all!
Yes, a religious organization more or less says "God hates fags, and we hate fags, and if you don't hate fags, you're a f*g," and it barely rates a half a day in the world of 24 hour news. A has-been comic hack shows his unfitness for his chosen career, and the story is the hottest thing since the announcement of the invention of the telephone. The story gets almost a full week of coverage, with the promise that there are a few more days left in its tired run.
Frankly, I'm over it. Maybe it's time we talked about a story that's a lot more likely to directly affect our lives, and the lives of those to come after us.
Iraq is imploding! Oh, but that's boring. It only has blood, death, destruction, and carries the threat of growing beyond the borders of Iraq. There's nothing we can do about it now, so let's continue to harp on racial slurs spewed from the mouth of a "comic".