Friday, November 03, 2006

"Hi! Look at me! I am EDGY. Witness my edginess!"

and party like it's fucking 1991. ($1 to the first to spot the phrase "politically correct,"* and a kick in the 'nads to the genius using it) Or 1881, really. Kevin at Slant Truth sums it up: "Not Again?" Yep, you guessed it: yet another so-sharp-you'll-cut-yourself (it's like Lenny Bruce and Mark Twain and Voltaire all rolled into one, I'm telling you) defier of stuffy convention broke out the blackface. Apparently said Revolutionary Satirist did not read ebogjohnson's handy guide as to when and whether this would be apropos...

eh. I can't be bothered, actually. Go read Kevin and then some of the other folks talking about this (Kai, Sunrunner, ebogjohnson, Prometheus 6, Wampum, Sly Civilian, probably others by now. I'm fairly certain that whatever else, they'll be a lot smarter and funnier than the actual doof-in-threadbare-"rebel"-clothing they're fisking.

*edit! just clicked over to the non-apology "apology;" it's already there! the genius is the author of the image himself! yay! I get a dollar! as for the kick in the 'nads, the gods of karma and i have discussed it and decided he is owed one spiritually speaking at least; personally, i take a raincheck on delivery.

edit the twoth, addendum:

The Unapolegetic Mexican speculates in comments over at Zuky,

I think he wanted to be the One Who Could Do It Right or something. Or maybe show he independent he is. Beholden to NO STIFLING FROM PC FUCKERS!

and I responded,

yeah, i think you're probably right. which frankly leaves me less impressed than ever. Look, you stupid arrogant fucks: it's bad enough that you've apparently internalized the right-wing message that "apologies are a sign of weakness!!", now you, what, just -have- to turn around and put the beans up your nose, just to show NO ONE CAN TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. what are you, four? for fuck's sake.

i'd never read him before, of course, which makes this much easier for me. Hi, Billmon! Nice to meet you! According to some other people you've written some good shit in the past; pity my first impression of you is this, innit? I meant pity for me, obviously; clearly you are above such concerns.

seriously, wasn't there a bit in ebogjohnson's 'chart about "are you funny?" 'course, Billmon's white excuse me-NOT-liberal, so he wouldn't have made it that far anyway, but still. Lenny Bruce, he's not, you know?

I mean, when Bruce did his -throw-every-racist-term-in-the-book- out at the audience and then wound up with the conclusion that using the words meant losing their power; well, maybe he was right and maybe he wasn't; point is, AT the time it was still shocking to nice liberal audiences. that was, what, 1960 or so? In the interim, we have had: Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, Living Color, Dave Chapelle; and on the white side, in rapidly descending order: Tom Lehrer, George Carlin, South Park, Sarah Silverman...Howard Stern, Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, all of Fox News. This entire administration. How is this shit shocking or even remotely surprising, never mind funny, never mind -biting political commentary-? It isn't. It is SO OLD. and SO TIRESOME.

Bruce's piss-take of "The Defiant Ones;" THAT'S funny, even now; anyway, -I- think so, even on paper; and i haven't even seen the bloody original.

WHITE (pensively) I never thought of it that way. Maybe if everyone in the world knew that "yet" had only three letters it would be a different world, Randy. If they knew that "yet" had only three letters and "knish" had five letters, it would be a world of three letter and five-lettuh "yet-knishes." (Passionately) You'd like to say it, wouldnya, Randy?

RANDY: (whispers) Yeah.

WHITE: -Say- it, buddy.

RANDY: (Pause. This means so much to him. Finally...) Yet-knish!

WHITE: Lemme say it withya. Say it togethuh.

BOTH: "Yet-knish, yet-knish!" (begin to sing it in the tune of a hymn)

WHITE: Kugel. Say it, Randy: Kugel.

RANDY: Kugel.

WHITE: Goddam, you say that good, Randy. Yet-knish-kugel.

RANDY: Yet, yet-knish-kugel.

WHITE: (screaming) Jus yell it out, Randy! Say it, Randy!

RANDY: (screaming) Yet-knish-kugel!

WHITE: (screams) GODDAMN IT MAKES YA FEEL CLEAN, DON'T IT? Boy, Randy, think of jus runnin round the whole world, and yelling that. We just run over to Rooshia, then tell all them Eyetalians about it and just scream at evvryone and jus run over there and yell, "Yet-knish-kugel, Mr. Krushchev! Boy, they'd really know it then, wouldn't they, buddy? An then, Randy, it won't mattuh, it won't mattuh any more even if you are colored and I'm Jewish, and even if Fritz is Japanese, and Wong is Greek, because then, Randy, we're all gonna stick togethuh--and beat up the Polacks!

--from The Essential Lenny Bruce

""How to Relax Colored People At Parties"" (ca. 1960), that's funny and on point, especially for the era. (now it'd be retitled, and some of the popcult references would be updated, but actually...i wonder, you know, things have -really- changed).

Or, Bruce, here, quoted mid-routine, waxing meta and reflective:

"I think that a comic that satirizes--it depends where your sense of humor lies--but the general picture of a sick comic is an individual that satirizes handicaps, unfortunates. Joe E. Brown said that he wished that he could be that kind of a mean, you know, comic, but he just can't do that, he's just -corpus christi,- and he doesn't like sick humor.

I don't think he was referring to me, cause I don't do any, you know, deformity jokes in my act at all.

But I think that the comedy they had -before-, actually did cruel comedy. There was the Jew comic, they used to call them; the Wop comic, they used to say; they used to do the blackface, real stereotype Uncle Tom with the curls and the fright wig. They did what they called the German comic, which satirized and made fun of ethnic groups, the way they spoke, and their racial characteristics, which you don't find too much today. I think the comedy of today has more of a liberal viewpoint."

plus ca change, eh?

Bottom line: the reason crap like blackface is offensive isn't because it's so very shocking and bold. It's offensive because we've all seen and heard this shit a million billion times. First as painful real-life-sock-in-the-gut, and then as ever-drearier exercises for some other snotty little white reactionary whoops i mean liberal no wait excuse me i mean PROGRESSIVE, NO, WAIT!, i mean so advanced beyond all these categories anyway, so HIP-I-can't-see-over-my-own-pelvis, to exercise his spavined attempt at wit. The real sin here is laziness. Lazy "humor." Lazy writing. Lazy thinking. if these people spent one quarter of the energy they later spend trying to defend their egos ("I AM NOT A RACIST MIDDLEBROW TWERP! I AM A RADICAL REVOLUTIONARY WITH BIG BRASS BALLS AND A HEART OF MOLTEN GLOP!") that they did "creating" whatever it was in the first place, we probably wouldn't be having this problem.

and then, of course, the inevitable thrashes and blow-ups, assuming anyone's even noticed you of course; because, hello, you kick someone in the shin in a crowded room and of course it's gonna turn into a full-out brawl, that's how it works. It's easy. It's tiresome. But of course we have to go through it all again, every last little bit, because for SOME PEOPLE it's just too fucking EXCITING to have these fights, you know: see! I am, i AM shocking! i AM saying something Important! I have Created a Controversy!! Look at all these people yelling at Me! Hot damn!

It is depressing. I think it must be sort of like the transaction that happens with the dog, you know:

"Hey, look what I did! I crapped on the carpet! Pretty cool, huh? NO ONE'S ever thought of doing that! It's ART, I tell you, my own creation; and it's ALL MINE MINE MINE MY MARK MY TERRITORY MINE MINE MINE. If you yell at me in the next five seconds i might still make the connection and be ashamed (for five more seconds). Whoops, too late! --Oh! Shiny toy! --OH! She's SHOUTING at me! She's SHOUTING and WAVING HER ARMS!! I know what THAT means!! She wants to PLAY!! WOOF!! More shouties!!! Bark more?! BARK MORE!!! OKAY! OKAY!!!...."

...until, fed up beyond exasperation, someone finally brings out the rolled-up newspaper, and he whines and slinks off...until the next time.

good times, really.

...edit the hopefully last: meanwhile, not very far away, a Miss Behaving Badly has unearthed another source of "edginess:" "Phat Rags: Funny and Sexist T-Shirts." In so many words. go there for the breakdown.

i know, i'm shocked, shocked, too. sexism? on a crappy T-shirt? and they actually think this shit is funny? my preconceptions! my preconceptions!!


Taihae said...

what a twat. we have a kid like that that just left my department at school, after being kicked out of the sculpture department. his "so sharp you'll cut yourself" moment was when, in response to the assignment, "create the ugliest thing you can", he tore around the room destroying everyone elses sculptures, howling insanely.

i especially love the non apology. funny how everyone that objects to his stupid picture, which, by the way, was incredibly poorly done anyway, can be filed into one of two categories of dissent for one of two reasons.


belledame222 said...

heh, just updated along those same lines. and yeah, i've met many many folks like that kid. they seem to be overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, male. "I'm so cute and yet misunderstood" syndrome. zzzZZZzzz. even less charming when they're seventy instead of seventeen (*coughHarlanEllisoncough* and STILL doing it).

Rootietoot said...

Whenever you write anything longer than a paragraph, I have to fix meself a drink before I read it again...I'm still going to have to read it again after that. It should be telling that I'm perfectly willing to do so!

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez said...

man. i'm not sure the last time i watched someone get their ass kicked for like a week straight. i just hope after all these fine writeups, the perps take away more than spite. you know? we all have knuckles...but we'll all benefit if these people (us, all of us, them) actually come to understand something, too.

nice ass whuppin. :)

i think i have to go back to kai's and see if i missed anything else.

belledame222 said...

yeah, it would be nice. i don't know this particular dude well enough to speculate if he will or not. hopefully -someone- will; as Kai put it, it's only part 10 of a 138 (but who's counting) series, this...

i do think that at bottom, you know, much of "sadism" is simply desire to get the other's ATTENTION maybe a little EMPATHY, FINALLY revved into overdrive.

zwrk said...

Smells like entitlement to me. You know, I'm a linguistic badass, and nobody's gonna tell me I can't play with whatever rhetorical tools I want, right? Racism is a tool of the bad guys, and I think he honestly doesn't get that using racist structures against the people who usually profit from racism is a really goddamn tricky thing and generally a bad idea all round. If it's usually a male thing, it's cause males are mostly the ones trained in entitlement.

Billmon's pretty good at what he does, and what he does is anger, cynicism and bleak humor against whoever's the established power. This style - well, it speaks of a man who's very secure in his worldview and has quite a lot of self-esteem invested in being smarter than everyone else. He's not gonna learn shit.

belledame222 said...

yeah, I'm pretty well over the Angry Young Men, I gotta say. okay, we get it, you're mad as hell and you're not gonna take it any more. now what? oh, more of the same? okay, bored now.

belledame222 said...

...and, as you say, they don't change; and the Angry Young Men become a lot less charming as they fossilize into Angry Old Men.

which of course they know, and only makes them...angrier.

miso said...

"it's like Lenny Bruce and Mark Twain and Voltaire all rolled into one"

hilar. you know what's really scary is that these people dont' know they're a caricature. I face wannabe mark twain's every day - it's really depressing.

thanks for a spot-on post.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez said...

i respectfully disagree, zwrk. everyone can learn. and often surprise us. i choose to retain that belief.

belledame222 said...

my own general belief is this: literally nothing is impossible; but some things are a hell of a lot more likely than other things in this particular reality.

one pays one's money and one makes one's choice.

Nanette said...

Mostly I think that, for all their vaunted intelligence, brilliance, political acumen, etc, etc, many people just do not understand their own actions, nor can they conceive of any other effect of their actions other than what they intend.

Sly Civilian has a heartbreaking and thought provoking post up at the moment, on the Haggard thing and the likely after-effects of not only his actions, but that of the left (and others) taking such joy in his downfall.

No matter where we fall on the political, economic, class or cultural/race scale in this society, in the US especially we share a common pathology - either as perpetrators of various things, or on the receiving end of them or both (and most likely it's also shared in many other countries).

I am definitely PC and proud ;). I don't see anything wrong or weak at all in having a care for marginalized people and groups. Easiest thing in the world is to use them as props in the pursuit of my own ends, or in the service of what I feel is more important. Where does the courage come in there, especially when you know you'll have the backing of those that also consider themselves "cool and iconoclastic" no matter how banal or mundane you actually are?

I think it's possible that some, in order to combat what they feel is the power of the right wing, are sucked in to actually believing in, and applauding, the right wing's definition of power itself.

One wonders where some people feel the power lies, in this photo.

belledame222 said...

You know, every time I return to this site, it strikes me as freshly relevant in some way:

>Narcissists are (a) extremely sensitive to personal criticism and (b) extremely critical of other people. They think that they must be seen as perfect or superior or infallible, next to god-like (if not actually divine, then sitting on the right hand of God) -- or else they are worthless. There's no middle ground of ordinary normal humanity for narcissists. They can't tolerate the least disagreement. In fact, if you say, "Please don't do that again -- it hurts," narcissists will turn around and do it again harder to prove that they were right the first time; their reasoning seems to be something like "I am a good person and can do no wrong; therefore, I didn't hurt you and you are lying about it now..." -- sorry, folks, I get lost after that. Anyhow, narcissists are habitually cruel in little ways, as well as big ones, because they're paying attention to their fantasy and not to you, but the bruises on you are REAL, not in your imagination...>


>Narcissists pay attention only to themselves and stuff that affects them personally. However, since they don't know what other people are doing, narcissists can't judge what will affect them personally and seem never to learn that when they cause trouble they will get trouble back. They won't take other people's feelings into consideration and so they overlook the fact that other people will react with feeling when abused or exploited and that most people get really pissed off by being lied to or lied about... >

Chuckie K said...

On the T-shirts. I actually saw what has to be one of these puppies Friday afternoon. "Tell your boobs to stop staring at my eyes." At least, I would guess, leering is about as good as it's gonna get for him. Perhaps he could join the folks in the big doom room.

Dharma said...

Hey there Axe, I continue to skim but am waist deep in the big muddy over here. But I just wanted to share the chuckle over the concept of the "non-apology apology". A list I'm on, has been rife with this, I have even received on of them. They are by turns, aggravating, humourous and very very sad statement about the author.

Popess Lilith said...

I have the Essential Lenny Bruce on my own bookshelf--it's a classic. And it helps illustrate what so-called "edgy humor" fails to grasp. You don't make humor by taking something that makes you laugh and using it to make others squirm. You make humor by taking something that makes you squirm, and using it to make others laugh. YOU must squirm first--otherwise the only laughs you'd get are from those who are merely acknowledging your social sadism, not those who recognize the squirming you went through in order to tell the joke.

belledame222 said...

yes, that's well put.

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