Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Former Seinfeld Star Revealed As Racist, Total Dick

Via Racialious and Zuky, this TMZ story:

Michael Richards exploded in anger as he performed at a famous L.A. comedy club last Friday, hurling racial epithets that left the crowd gasping...

Richards, who played the wacky Cosmo Kramer on the hit TV show "Seinfeld," appeared onstage at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. Kyle Doss, an African-American, told TMZ he and some friends were in the cheap seats and he was playfully heckling Richards when suddenly, the comedian lost it.

[video here].

The camera started rolling just as Richards began his attack, screaming at one of the men, "Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass."

Richards continued, "You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now motherfucker. Throw his ass out. Throw his ass out...

then screams about 50 n-bombs at the guy. I'm surprised he hasn't tried Tourette's as one of his defenses. Apparently he's tried everything else.

Racialicious covers his "apology" on Letterman: (see Letterman segment video at the Think)

So Michael Richards, who played Kramer on Seinfeld, was on Letterman last night to apologize for his racist-ass rant on Friday at Los Angeles’s Laugh Factory. (See our previous post on this.)

I’m always amazed when these racial outbursts happen, and the apology is something along the lines of “I’m shouldn’t have said that” or “those words were very offensive.”

What the perpetrators of these racist statements don’t get is that it’s not the words themselves that are shocking or offensive. It’s what the words reveal about the person’s values and true beliefs.

The fact that Richards, when provoked by a black man, immediately reminded him that it wasn’t so long ago that he could have been lynched and made a public spectacle of, to me indicates that he is resentful of having to tolerate blacks being equal to him, and longs for the days when he could exercise his “god-given” superiority. Kinda makes you wonder what dinner-table conversations are like at the Richards house, no? If you didn’t believe this stuff, it wouldn’t be the first thing that came to mind.

Anyway, Defamer has some behind-the-scenes scoop on how insincere Richards’ apology is:


As he was walking out, he said to the women accompanying him, “…so you go on these shows and apologize and apologize but it’s never good enough.” One of the women murmured something about him having a PR person to handle this kind of thing and he replied, “I don’t have anyone handling this. If I did, I wouldn’t have gotten into trouble in the first place.”


Right, not having a PR person is why everyone thinks you’re a racist.

Maybe he can hire Mel's.

As also noted at Reappropriate:

And so, we were exposed to about fourteen classic “Ooops, I did it again…” excuses for unabashed racism (recently popularized by George Allen and Macaca-gate).

My favourite? Michael Richards was bitten by the racist fairy.

According to Seinfeld and Richards, who are both “mystified by what happened”, it’s like some Blackface Tinkerbell crawled up Richards’ ass and shot him full of that Strom Thurmond fairydust. Think racist thoughts, and you can make minorities fly — far, far away from you!! After all, Richards is absolutely shocked by what happened (it’s one of those “awful, awful things”, says Seinfeld) – he’s not a racist, he just came down with that racist funk.

...I love how Richards describes how he went into “a rage” — like he Hulk-ed out into some horrid 1860’s slave owner with green skin and a ripped purple tuxedo. Like, did he encounter some gamma rays in the NBC backlot sometime last decade, and now he periodically transforms into an irradiated Thomas Jefferson?

And yeah, sure enough, as always, immediately people start contorting themselves into pretzels to explain it away. To wit, a commenter at The Think:

Isn’t it possible that someone could be so angry that they say hurtful things to someone that they don’t really mean? Oh, wait. People do this to their spouses and significant others all the time. I’m not sure this does show that he has the kind of racist attitudes his words reflect, for that simple reason. He was mad at these people, and he was willing to take advantage of an immoral racial dynamic that he didn’t mind perpetuating with his very comments. That’s despicable. But it doesn’t mean he actually longs for the days of lynchings.

As I responded over there:

>Isn’t it possible that someone could be so angry that they say hurtful things to someone that they don’t really mean? Oh, wait. People do this to their spouses and significant others all the time…>

-Do- they? call their S.O. racist epithets and tell them that (essentially) they should’ve been lynched? or some sexist equivalent? Yeah, I suppose some people do do that to their “loved” ones; when -that- happens, it’s called “abuse.” And no, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me” wouldn’t cut it then, either.

If he’s not a “real” racist (no one’s ever a “real” racist. no one) then he sure played one well on T.V. More to the point, he’s an abusive person who needs anger management, stat. And from the looks of it, some rehab wouldn’t hurt either. And oh yeah: in terms of lost credibility, viewers, etc., he deserves whatever he gets. No sympathy.

UPDATE: Kai finds that this is not the first documented incident of Richards being an irredeemable fuckwit. Viddy: rageoholic with the misogynist epithets, did blackface (there's a shocker) and screamed at another audience member, in this case one of those fucking Christ-killing Jews.

He sounds like a lovely man. He should write children's books.


Howard said...

Best headline ever on this blog. It would be so cool to see it in a national paper.


He *IS* a complete dick.

I originally caught the news via The Assimilated Negro's blog before I heard about it on the news. And, honestly, I was AMAZED when I eventually saw the full TMZ clip.

It's not the fact that MR is racist, mind you. (Although I was born up north, I was raised as a small little brown girl in rural Mississippi; very little phases me in that respect.) What amazed me was the fact that he was so OVERTLY racist.

And, the apology on Letterman? Almost as absurd as University of South Carolina Chi Psi brother David Corcoran suing the makers of Borat.

At any rate, thanks for calling attention to what Racialicious says: "What the perpetrators of these racist statements don't get is that it's not the words themselves that are shocking or offensive. It's what the words reveal about the person's values and true beliefs."

belledame222 said...

apparently he's a real piece of work, overall. anger management issues (well, hello); but he's done this sort of thing before, it turns out...

belledame222 said...

and yeah, of course it's the context of the word, not the word. hell, he could've made the "fork up your ass" remark all by itself and never once used the actual epithets, and of course it still would've been far more offensive than...well, Sarah Silverman uses that sort of language in her routines, i think, and while mileage varies on how funny she actually is (i think "meh," but) clearly she's not getting -this- sort of response; because, hello, telling "outrageous" jokes as part of some routine and viciously laying into an audience member are -not the same thing.-

Kai said...

I'm with Howard, for some reason I totally busted up when I saw the headline.

belledame222 said...

not -just- the word, i should say--again, mileage varies there, too. but: well, anyway.

Unsane said...

on a totally different note, and extract from a children's book:

As I am writing now two cars have collided outside my window. I cannot see much blood because I think its inside, but there are four police cars and several ambulances (police are called pigs in elite society). Ambulance men are called warthogs because they rape you (girls of boy) if you are unconscious – they think doing that to unconscious people is a great experience.
Who are you
Fuzzy Goo? (by Mister Marechera)

Marti said...

Ya know, there's a part of me that thinks about the song from the soundtrack to "Avenue Q" called "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist." We are all racist, in some form or another. Not overtly, not conciously, but if you dig deep enough in your self to see it. That being said, if I had done the same thing, and truly regretted it, I'd have went on Letterman and said "Look, I'm a human being, I fucked up, I feel like shit, and I'm sorry." Obviously he's worried abou this gravy train, not how his words hurt others.

sleepflower said...

I love how he tries to personalise it so much. Like, "oh, no, I'm not a racist," as if he's arguing that being racist isn't central to his identity. Maybe he's not a racist, but he sure as hell is racist.

Tom Nolan said...

People who fit the description "s/he is a racist" - people, that is, who live in a persistent state of hostility towards some race or other and create pseudo-rational reasons as a justification - are relatively rare.

But people who are passively racist - who, though they have no strong animus against any particular race, still see nothing offensive when others make it an object of loathing and, on the contrary, are inclined to smile indulgently when racist jokes get told - are far commoner.

I don't know anything about this Michael Richards guy, but I think Mel Gibson falls into the "passive racist" category. The trouble is, if you spend a lifetime indulging other people's racism (his father's, in Gibson's case), if you persuade yourself that racism is at worst a foible, then there's nothing to stop you using racist language when some member of the race in question gets in your face.

Gibson is probably telling the truth when he protests that, sober and unprovoked, he doesn't hate Jews. But there is still the teensy problem that he thinks it's ok to hate them.

belledame222 said...

Well, there was also that eensy matter of the entire "Passion" movie, and the sect he belongs to, and his Holocaust-minimizing father, and...

as per MR, throwing the epithet is one thing; racist, obviously, but it's not like that sort of thing isn't readily available to anyone who breathes this cultural air, it's true, even if it's also true that hello, a deeply racist person's gonna be the first one to grab for them.

but for someone to come out with the "fifty years ago we'd have you hanging upside down with a fork up your ass"--dude, does that even automatically -occur- to anyone? Because while I can see--just barely, mind you--a case for very well known racist epithets leaping Tourette's-like from peoples' lips simply because they know it's the last thing they -should- say, basically telling someone "yeah, well, shut up and be grateful we're not lynching you" honestly would never have even crossed my mind.

i suppose it's in my mind -now.- thanks, Kramer, really.

"with a fork up your ass." I mean, sincerely, WTF? people don't pick up that shit out of nowhere; that's gotta be deeply ingrained, with him.

belledame222 said...

and here's the video of his Letterman apology; it's oddly riveting. yeah, mask is really off there, second mask: under even the seething rage and hate, the confused and creepy-pathetic loser, who's honestly appalled at not so much his racism but the fact that yes, as he's just been painfully reminded, he IS a hate and incoherent-rage-filled loser, and, just as he'd always feared, now everybody knows.

and no, Letterman is really not the place to address these things. either personally or politically. for fuck's sake.

belledame222 said...

and if you watch the original video at the Laugh Factory, the sheer level of raw rage is pretty unmistakable. he's not funnin'. it's quite quite obvious even if you didn't understand a word he was saying.

sleepflower: that's pretty much the classic response, though.

1) A racist is a Bad Person.
2) I am a Good Person.
3) Therefore, I cannot be a racist.
4) Also, saying something racist=-being- a racist;
5) and being a racist is something that can never, ever change.
6) Therefore, whatever I just said cannot have been racist. If it's completely unavoidable that yep, okay, it -was- racist (as with Richards), I, uh, was possessed or something. It ain't me, man. Usually, it just wasn't racist in the first place.
7) Lather, rinse, repeat.

(--hi, funky brown chick!!)

Tom Nolan said...

"i suppose it's in my mind -now.- thanks, Kramer, really"

That's right, BD, the next time somebody annoys you and they happen to be black "fifty years ago we'd have you hanging upside down with a fork up your ass" is going to come tripping off your lips like a storm trooper goose-stepping out of a barracks.


Hi belledame222!!! :-)

drydock said...

Jackie Mason Defending Mel Gibson on Fox News (via counterpunch):

Mason: Jealousy and hate and contempt for a guy who’s doing too good. Also with this guy Abe Foxman, this head of the ADL. Another fake from top to bottom. I don’t talk about people, it’s not my nature, but he’s a total fake. Let’s be honest about it. Anybody who makes a life out of fighting racism in effect has to blow-up racism in order to justify himself and the job he has, otherwise he’d have to go to work. Otherwise he’d have to get up in the morning and get a real job.

belledame222 said...

...says the undead standup comic.

belledame222 said...

>Ya know, there's a part of me that thinks about the song from the soundtrack to "Avenue Q" called "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist." We are all racist, in some form or another. >

Well, sure.

problem is that in this case, it's gone a -bit- beyond "a little bit..."