Monday, September 29, 2008

Politics as Popular Culture: Chris Rock was Quite the Pundit Over the Weekend

Compiled for your viewing pleasure, Chris Rock on Obama, McCain, Hillary, and the 2008 Election.

Rock on Howard Stern: Can a black man become president?

Rock on Letterman: Hillary lost and needs to get over it...

Rock on Larry King: McCain needs to stop holding...


Anonymous said...

Rock, I am here to report, is an ASS. He said in his standup special (poorly edited, BTW) that Black women are an impediment to a man's success and that by having a Black wife, Obama has a hurdle -- Michelle, aka, a Black wife -- that no other presidential aspirant has had to overcome. He also spoke nastily foul about Black women in general and placed white women on a pedestal (they know how to play their position and with them, you will win). Never will I again patronize anything Rock; I will never speak his name in my classes (I teach graduate level students; I have found some of his bits to be useful; now, I reject them, as they come with a price). I must say, this standup was akin to Eddie Murphy's "Raw." VERY BITTER. I had the feeling that Rock was trying to push his wife out of the door.

gordon gartrelle said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for commenting.

But you do realize that Rock is a comedian, don't you?

You know that comedians are supposed to take social realities and exaggerate them for effect, right?

Since when does comedy have to be affirming?

This reminds me of our post on the reaction to the satrical New Yorker cover depicting the Obamas as terrorists/radicals.

This desire to express public outrage at every potential source of offense is not only hurting smart humor; it's damaging political discourse as well. And yes, conservatives are masters at this kind of overblown outrage, but I think it hurts progressives even more.

Your example is especially puzzling, given that Rock was highlighting the negative perceptions that black women have to overcome.

It's not that you don't have the right to be offended; it's that the response to withdraw from or boycott speech that upsets you is a huge problem.

I'm especially saddened to hear this from an instructor, whose job is to deal with tensions and problems. So do you refuse to teach Frederick Douglass or Malcolm X because of certain comments that women might find offensive? Do you refuse to teach Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Susan B Anthony because of their racist speech?

macon d said...

Yes, gordon! I was going to write something like that, but you got it covered. Chris Rock is brilliant, and thanks for these clips (though I wish the third was still available). Reminds me of later George Carlin--SMART, politically astute comedy.