Diversity

Witless Movie Making

Reader Mikey D sent this to me:

A while ago, I railed against Who’s Your Caddy for playing up stereotypes and general buffoonery. This Witless movie is buffoonery of a different sort.

The redneck trailer trash stereotype has plagued white people for ages. And while things like the Blue Collar Comedy Tour rake in millions playing up the stereotype, it’s one I imagine many white people are probably tired of. It’s the new freaking millennium and we’re still allowing Hollywood pander to stereotypes. We’re all just one big caricature after another in their eyes.

And still, there’s a market for this schlock. And the Blue Collar Comedy Tour rolls on.

America: More Sexist or More Racist?

Rosie the Black Panther

This is meant as an intellectual exercise which popped into my brain meats as I had the misfortune of pondering this unfortunate election cycle. I highly encourage you to chime in with your own thought and opinions and be open to others who may disagree with you. I especially encourage those who disagree with what I put forth. I’m interested in hearing what you guys have to say, especially those outside the U.S.

America is both sexist and racist. Women and minorities still earn less per dollar than their white male counterparts. Both groups are still labeled when they run for political office (first woman President, first Black President, etc.). Both groups are exploited and marginalized in various forms of entertainment. And while it’s true that women and minorities have all the legal rights and privileges as anyone else in the eyes of the law, things are far from equal.

Now to the heart of the matter. We have come to a happy point in our short history when a woman and a minority have a real chance at becoming the next President of the United States of America. Regardless of the polls, regardless of the fact that the convention hasn’t happened yet, regardless of all the rhetoric, the policies, the rumors, the fighting, and all the other bullshit that has become the election process, who do you think has a better chance of becoming President, Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama?

Well, maybe it’s a bad idea to associate names with this discussion. Both have quite a lot of baggage that has to be dealt with before you even consider the question of who would have a better chance. So let’s break it down further. Two candidates, both equally qualified for the position. Great family lives. Amazing policies, policies that would take America into a new golden age. In fact, they’re basically the same. The only difference is that one is a white female and the other is a black male. Who do you think is more likely to win the Presidency?

Asked myself this question a few years ago and it was difficult for me to come up with a satisfactory answer. I figured that America was slightly more racist than sexist, but then I figured that it would almost be impossible for a woman to be elected without comments about how sexy she was looking or her wardrobe or a myriad of other things that really have no bearing on the job at hand. Statistically, there are far less women in Congress and only one on the Supreme Court. Going by that, it seems more likely for a minority to win the Presidency. But we now also have the first woman Speaker of the House. The time could be right for a woman President.

I invite you all to chime in with your opinion. In the end, we’re going to have to wait a while anyway. Anything could happen between now and the convention. For all we know, Edwards could get the nomination making this truly just an intellectual exercise. My sincere hope is that either Hillary or Barack get chosen. I know, I know, to root for someone based solely on gender or ethnicity is just as racist or sexist as rooting against them. But I’ve completely lost faith in the system and this is the very last stake that I have the energy to hang on to. So true believers, what say you?

Tokens in America

Aliens and Chicken

Why anyone would watch the CW on purpose is beyond me. But since our television now only gets Fox affiliates or CW affiliates, our choices are slightly limited (should probably invest in an antennae if we’re going to catch American Gladiators). We had just watched the Redskins wipe the floor with the Cowboys and were waiting around for “The Simpsons” to start so we decided to give “Aliens in America” a try.

The idea of an American family sitcom starring a Muslim character sounds absolutely brilliant. On paper. In practice, “Aliens in America” leaves quite a lot to desire. Here’s the set up. Justin Tolchuck is a typically awkward and shy 16-year-old high school boy with few friends and a dismal social life. Of course, by contrast, his younger sister Claire is quite popular and confident. To help break her son out of his shell, Franny, the mom, signs up as a host family for the foreign exchange program. Enter Raja, a 16-year-old Muslim boy from Pakistan. By the mere fact that he’s foreign, Muslim, and apparently the only non-white student in school, Raja is as much of an outcast as Justin. The two become fast friends and hilarity ensues. Only it doesn’t. It’s not funny. It’s not thought provoking. It’s not very good at all. Oh yeah, there’s a father in there somewhere.

I suppose my expectations were a bit too high. This show is the first of its kind and comes at a time when we need a broader cultural understanding of the Muslim world. There’s a real opportunity to explore diversity and to poke fun at how insane some of our popular perceptions of the Muslim world are. Instead, the CW plays it safe. Instead of a show that questions and challenges our perceptions, we get a cookie cutter sitcom about a “typical” suburban family and all of their quirks and hypocrisies with Raja functioning as little more than the group conscious. In fact, if you replaced him with Jiminy Cricket, I doubt many viewers would know the difference. Raja was hardly in the episode we saw, only appearing to give a little advice here and there, used more as a token than a starring role. It’s a great shame, too, because Adhir Kalyan who portrays Raja is a welcome change to an otherwise homogeneous and boring mix of characters we’ve all seen before.

Granted, this may have been just one episode. Other episodes may indeed feature Raja more prominently. And if it were actually funny, I might wait around a few more episodes to see if it picks up. It’s not uncomfortable funny like HBO’s “Extras.” It’s not balls out funny like “Dave Chapelle.” It’s not even situational funny like “Seinfeld” (which I can’t fucking stand so you might want to take all of my tele reviews with many grains of salt). It’s safe. And dull. And absolutely boring. And not worth your time at all.

Oh, and it rates rather low on the Jam Scale because Raja seems to be the only minority in the entire town.

[Via CW]

Dog, the Racist Bounty Hunter? Duh!

A&E has suspended production on Doug “Dog” Chapman’s show, Dog the Bounty Hunter, after the National Enquirer broadcast a tape of a private conversation in which Chapman uses racial invectives describing a young woman whom his son is dating.

Okay, this is total bullshit.

First, is anyone really surprised that Dog uses the “N” word? He’s Dog the BOUNTY HUNTER, not Dog the Fluffy Chow Chow Spreading Tolerance and Good Will Among the Masses. He hunts down mother fuckers who skip bail for a living. This is not someone you invite over for polite conversation.

Second, this is a private conversation that has been taken completely out of context. Who knows. The woman in question might indeed be a street walker or she might be Mary Fucking Stewart. We don’t know. Certainly it’s in extreme poor taste to insult someone based on their ethnicity, racist even. But if every single personal conversation is now up for public criticism, well shit, I’d never be able to work anywhere again. As bad as my language on this thing is, there are truly horrendous things that I’ve said in private that would get me lynched if I were in the public eye should they be taken out of context. People say hateful shit once in a while no matter how high and mighty they may think they are and in this country, we have that right goddammit! If we let Big Brother watch over every little thing we say, we might as well let Big Brother converse for us.

Third, anyone saying that he’s a role model needs to seriously have their head examined. Just cause someone is on the tele doesn’t automatically make them a role model.

Fourth, as far as I can tell, Dog is an equal opportunity asshole. He’ll take you down no matter what your ethnicity. Sure, he might say some really racist stuff in his private life. But his actions certainly don’t demonstrate a hatred to any one particular ethnicity. He has the right to be racist all he wants as long as it doesn’t affect his work. Whoa, that’s a very odd thing to write.

A&E should continue production of his show. Chapman should apologize on air. And if people really have a problem with him, don’t watch the show and let the ratings speak for themselves. Hell, if Imus can get another gig, certainly Dog deserves his day.

[Via Washington Post]

Editorializing Gonzales

Speaking of Alberto Gonzales, on Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” yesterday, one of his analysts described Gonzales as a “political pinata” for the administration. Pinata? Really? What, did he give out candy during his hearings?

“Mr. Gonzales, were you involved in the firing of those attorneys?”
“Hey homes, I don’t remember! But here’s a bag of bon bons! ODALAY! VIVA LA RAZA!”

How fucking racist! If he was Asian, would they be claiming “he’s taking a kamikaze dive for the administration?” I expect off hand remarks like that from blow hards like Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or even Carlos Mencia. But a news organization? Completely unprofessional and uncalled for. Save that kind of editorializing for the opinion pages and the pundits.

Can you tell I’m becoming a little disenchanted here? Man, working back in D.C. has sort of sparked the militant angry ranting within.

Johnny Quest Movie?

How does that make you feel nondescript ethnic extras?

quest.jpg

[Via Filmwad]

Who’s Your Buffoon

caddy.jpg

If you would, take a horrible moment to subject your self to the trailer for Who’s Your Caddy. I’m sorry to do this, but the rest of this angry post won’t make any sense without some context. Go on, I’ll wait.

Back? I’m so sorry you had to see that.

Aren’t White people tired of being pegged as racist and old fashioned? Aren’t Black people tired of buffoonery and being funny because they don’t talk or act like White people? I mean, who the fuck in their right or left mind green lights this dirty piece of rubbish?

This evil thing reinforces so many unworthy stereotypes. Let me count the ways. No, let me not count the ways because to dwell any more on it would make me shake with rage.

How is our entertainment ever going to attain real worth if we keep reinforcing these caricatures of each other?

If I thought it would do any good, I would call for a boycott of this stupid thing. The sad truth is that if there wasn’t an audience for this buffoonery, they wouldn’t fucking make them. I like Big Boi just fine and Outcast happens to be one of my favorite groups. But this is not a project that’s worth his energies. Too bad it might end his film career before it even starts.

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