Friday, November 24, 2006

For Michael Richards

Oh Michael. I feel for you. I wouldn't be the first person to tell you that I was deeply shocked by the things you said. I find it almost impossible to imagine those words coming from the mouth of a person who harbors no racist thoughts. Your interview on The Late Show showed you to be very much out of touch. Afro-Americans, Michael?
You're the same age as my father. I can't imagine the ridiculously out-of-touch things he may say if he were a comedian in this careful world. I imagine you were trying to blow people's minds with your insightful and ironic ranting. We've all seen you as Kramer. You put everything into your performances. That desire to be loved by everyone must burn hot inside. You seem well educated, which means that you'll never be able to explain your thoughts in a soundbyte.
I believe you think you're telling the truth when you say you're not racist. Remember Pryzbylewski from the Wire after he shot that black cop. How do you know if that's inside of you? I'm sort of Calvinist on the whole issue. If you go your whole life racist to the core and conceal it so well that you don't even know it, then you are de facto not racist. Because there's probably a murderous part of everyone, but everyone who's never committed murder is, naturally, not a murderer.
When I saw you in the Letterman interview I felt for you. Not for the you I saw on Youtube, but the man you are the rest of your life. I'm fascinated by the wakes of PR nightmares. Public perception is so final. Hey, that's racist old Kramer, case closed. You were rambling and you clearly didn't know what to say. I could imaine myself in your shoes, seeing everything spinning well out of my control. Turning yourself over to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton must certainly be a last resort. It's so Faustian. When you have to give yourself up to powerbrokers like them you're playing a dangerous game. Jackson used this debacle to get into the news his proposed legislation prohibiting that word (I won't even use the first letter) and making its use a hate crime. Imagine, now you're in his pocket. This man wants to make a word a crime and you'd better do what he says or you're done for good.
But really, Michael, the most shocking thing to me is how self-absorbed you are. I imagine that you've spent more than a little of your sitcom money on therapy, the way you kept talking about your rage and what's inside you. And then Letterman throws you a nice softball question like "What's the next step?" and what do you say? You've got some self-work to do, or something like that? You are lost in your own world Michael, you didn't even apologize to anyone who wasn't in the room with you, like your 'rage' was the only problem. And a social problem at that! Ridiculous.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I too am fascinated by the PR nightmare scenario. I always thought about how easy it would be for some white sports broadcaster - not even a racist - to just let a little one slip and how quickly it would all be over after that.