Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Michael Savage’s Perspective on the Tragedy of Racial Comedy

Once again Michael Savage, whom I have already stated for the record is one of the most honest and intelligent men in America today, has gotten it all wrong. In reference to the issue of Michael Richards, Savage connects the incident at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles with a comedy routine performed by one of the most popular and well known comedians alive, Chris Rock.

Savage often refers to what he suggests is the Rodney King effect, whereby the individual viewing the matter makes assumptions based on only the portion of the story which the video shows. The only way that a person can get a true picture of Chris Rock and what I call the “shopkeeper/cracker” routine, one of my personal favorites, is to see the entire routine in context.

Yet Savage, who openly admits not knowing much about Rock, makes a comparison to Rock and Richards basing that opinion on audio content and not by viewing the images and mood of the event. While Richards was clearly a man angry at the audience and out of control, Chris Rock performed his racial comedy bit to the laughter of the audience.

The “cracker” routine was understood to represent the reality of the feelings of an old black man and the bitterness which existed in that generation. The juxtaposition of the “polite” black shopkeeper serving a white customer and the true feeling which was vented by the “angry” black shopkeeper after the customer had departed the store made for a very funny routine.

The difference between the two situations Michael is clearly evident. All reasonable people can relate to the things which Chris Rock states as a matter of comedy. Yes, we can laugh at the shopkeeper who was the subject of the routine, because we see some degree of truth in the words spoken. They are an honest reflection of who we are as Americans. It was presented in such a fashion that we can just simply laugh at ourselves.

On the other hand the outburst of Richards touches a nerve because it has far too much of a feeling of raw hatred. There was nothing funny in those words. They were spoken with the intention of hurting people. Even if after saying them the person realized how harmful those words were and offered apology, to suggest that the routine of Chris Rock was analogous to Michael Richards outburst is simply wrong.

Savage you owe an apology to Chris Rock. What’s more, you owe an apology to your audience, not for your viewpoint which you are clearly entitled to, but you owe an apology for being wrong.

We can accept that you have an opinion Michael Savage, but we expect that such opinion should be well researched and well thought out. More importantly, you owe an apology to yourself for lowering the bar by which you conduct yourself.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

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