Archive for November 21st, 2006

Michael Richards… and the hits just keep coming

November 21, 2006

whew!  just when you think there is nothing new in the world Michael Richards inserts his big Kramer foot in mouth… and what a dirty little mouth it is!

Actually, it isn’t new anymore, is it?  Already people are comparing Richards ill advised outburst to Mel Gibson’s drunken racist tirade and are all aghast over it.  Like it is so shocking, like racism is a thing of the past.  Well folks, we know it is not.  40 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s  assassination we are still caught in the throes of prejudice.  Why?

Personally I think it is all taken out of context.  I wonder if there would have been as much of a flap if a black comedian had been chiding white folks for interrupting his act by heckling.  And there is no doubt that Richards over re-acted, but I have heard comedians spew worse and been applauded for it.  So the audience can be fickle, down right rude or unresponsive.  The experienced entertainer has to soldier through and wade into those moods, take it on the chin and move on.  Apparently Richards didn’t know how or didn’t think before he re-acted.

Problem is… he used the “n” word, and he is white.  There seems to be no worse slang out there in the English language than that one, and yet… it can be used by blacks and be seen as an endearing term.  So…  how it is used and how it is heard or applied makes the difference.  Sometimes we just might take it wrong.

Michael Richards obviously cannot act or speak impromptu.  Perhaps he thought his audience was agreeing with his being irritated and maybe they responded favorably at first.  There have been those who have heckled and been chastised for it by other audience members.  Ofcourse the recording that has been splashed all over the media hasn’t shown or implied that. 

56 years ago there was a Senator named Joe McCarthy who stirred up people about communism and in effect, made America paranoid.  We feared the “red menace” and were certain that they were out to get us.  Anyone thought to be associated with communism was considered to be a traitor.  Woe to the one who might have sympathized with any such people.

Now while we are being “politically correct”  if you are thought to be a “racist” it can tarnish your name and ruin your career?  Better not like that individual or you’ll be branded a racist, too.  I don’t get it.  I think we need to work on tolerance.  Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes to be prejudged or categorized because of their race, national origin or skin color… but it happens all of the time. 

Does that make it right? No.  Will it go away soon? No.  Has anyone besides Michael Richards and Mel Gibson ever used a racial slur in their speech (or thoughts?)  Yup.  Maybe even you and me.

I remember one time a child was running, slipped and fell down.  Stunned, he looked to his Mother for a reaction… as if to ask, “Am I hurt?  Should I cry? What should I do?”  The Mother simply smiled and said “Whew! that looked like fun!”  He got up happily and went on his way, unconcerned… unfazed by what had just happened.

If we make things out to be a big deal, they usually become one.  If we brush it off and go our way, the impact is gone… the incident minimized and soon forgotten.

But Rev. Al Sharptongue says it is not enough that Richards apologizes?  One of God’s ministers refuses to forgive?  Gee, Al…  where does prejudice end?  Do we have to run Michael (whose name means, “who is like God”) into the ground?  Humiliate Michael Richards in full view of the general public?  I wonder WWJD?  Yes, what would Jesus do, Reverend Sharpton?

Michael Richards apologized… that is good enough for me.