« Home | And so it begins » | Coup in Boliva?! » | URGENT SOLIDARITY CALL FOR OAXACA » | A Politics of Nothingness: "Trade-unionists" and P... » | Republicans Pick Twin Cities for 2008 Convention » | Too Important Not to Note » | Single Spark Collective, New U.S. Maoist Organizat... » | On defining the vision for an oppressed peoples' m... » | The New SDS: Somewhere Between Moderate Disinteres... » | New Solidarity Website » 

Monday, November 20, 2006 

I never thought he was funny anyways.

Disclaimer: Michael Richards said some racist shit, I reprint what he said with real words with one exception. This isn't out of any fear of the word; I just don't see the need for me, as a white person (non-Black person generally, actually) to use it while making the below points.

Comedic hack Michael Richards (best known as Cramer on Seinfeld) resorted to the use of racial hate-speech during a show Friday night at Laugh Factory in Los Angles after being interrupted by an unnamed number of "loud" black people. The former co-star of yet another TV sitcom with an all-white cast set in a fictional all-white New York paradise had choice words for the African Americans in the audience. Some gems from the routine:
"Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass."

"You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now motherfucker. Throw his ass out. He's a n----r!"

"N----r! N----r! N----r!"
As shocking as the statements are, the fact that the above was uttered by a white stand-up comedian is far from surprising. Racism, even the over the top, expletive slinging kind that Richards engaged in is anything but new when it comes to mainstream comedy. It's beyond even being par for the course, it's a fundamental, a constant. Flip on Comedy Central any hour of the day and you will be greeted with bigoted jokes about immigrants, women, gays and oppressed nationality folks. The Laugh Factory certainly wasn't deterred; they had him back on-stage not even 24 hours later.

If anyone knows of a good piece on the role played by hegemonic ideas in comedy, I would love to read it. My general sense is that humor, unlike most other forms of culture, is much more difficult to use in constructing counter-hegemonic thought. Comedy can certainly take aim at power, and at points this is help enough in spurring on an already developing crisis of legitimacy. But I have real doubts of comedy's ability to surpass the point when ridicule and satire must be replaced with the purposeful introduction of new counter-hegemonic ideas. The role of this system's "common-sense" is just too great for the medium to surpass. All that's to say I hope that this incident can be seen for what it is - one note in the overall composition - instead of the "woeful exception" that systems of white-supremacist capitalism and patriarchy love so much.

On a somewhat contradictory note (given my emphasis on systems of oppression as opposed to individualistic interpretations of reality), here's to hoping that Mr. Richards is the oh-so-unfortunate victim of a random act of "kindness."



Posted by tw

Hey comrade. Just checking out your blog. good post and also sad since i though this guy was funny on Sienfield. Just hittin you up and saying whats up. Peace 

Posted by Red Bolivarian

The mainstream media won't dare call it racist, much less white supremacist. And media figurehead after figurehead has uttered the cry of "just let it go already." For me, this denial is as revealing as anything Richards said that night. 

Posted by Yolanda Carrington

About Me

Recent Comments

Current Books // Articles

Previous posts

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates