Monday, March 2, 2015

Addicted to White Victimology: Artie Lange Doubles Down on His Chattel Slavery Fantasies of Raping ESPN's Cari Champion

Several months ago, former member of The Howard Stern Show, comedian Artie Lange, enjoyed several days of public infamy (and scorn) for joking about being a white Southern slave master who rapes ESPN sports personality Cari Champion, and then ejaculates as she runs away to freedom.

I feel a deep connection to Artie Lange. As I wrote then, I feel a personal connection to Artie Lange. Without exaggeration or hyperbole, in many ways Lange's first book (actually repeated listens to the audio book while sitting in a car outside of a sad and sorry mall somewhere in Michigan) saved me from surrendering to some of my worst impulses during that summer of darkness.

Artie has a generosity of spirit and transparency about his pain that is the reservoir--like many of the great comics--for his humor and wit. Artie is an addict. His honesty about that pain can also be a source of inspiration for others who can and should learn from Artie's travails. His life is a caution to others; I worry that he cannot save himself.

I reached out to Artie on Twitter. To my surprise we shared a brief correspondence.
He said that "he got it" about why his failed joke about raping Cari Champion, and the crime against humanity that was the Maafa, could be offensive to people on both sides of the colorline.
I also shared with Artie how I felt that his willful evasion of responsibility regarding his noxious and racist comments are rooted in the same character defect that allows an addict to live a life of denial by placing responsibility for his or her mistakes on to others.

Last week, Artie was a guest on the The Joe Rogan Experience. Instead of being contrite and apologetic for his racist and ugly comments of several months ago, Lange doubled down on them.

This is troubling, but alas, not surprising. I am worried for Lange because his energy suggested a return to his drug habit. I am not surprised by Artie's comments about his fantasies of raping Champion, he turned to the standard script for when white folks are called to account for their racist speech and other behavior.

Lange defaulted to humor, a cry that his critics are "overly sensitive", claimed that he was "angry" that those critics "took something from him", and enabled by host Joe Rogan, that Lange (and by implication "comics", i.e. white comics, are the "real victims" when people complain about racist humor.

Host Joe Rogan of UFC fame enabled Lange's victimology.

While doing so, Rogan let slip one of the main code words of post civil rights era white victimology and reactionary politics, what is the much maligned "social justice warrior".

In all, Lange and Rogan put on a clinic in how white privilege, and white entitlement combine to determine how and to what degree the Other shall be offended. This is a perverse reality that typifies life for people of color in a society dominated by white privilege and oriented towards protecting the material, psychological, and political advantages of white people over all others.

Social scientists have developed a rich set of frameworks for analyzing race and racial ideologies in the "colorblind" post civil rights era. Language, however dense and accurate, such as the "white racial frame", "backstage racism", and "white racial logic", does an excellent job of describing life along the colorline. However, said words are not as compelling as actually witnessing white folks prove through their behavior the validity of those concepts.

Racism is not an opinion. White supremacy and the white racial frame are concepts that are made real, living through both white folks' individual behavior and the aggregate that is known as "White America".

Artie Lange's hurt and pain at being criticized for African-American chattel slavery rape fantasies in which he assaults ESPN's Cari Champion exist within a cosmology of Whiteness and the White Racial Imagination wherein many white folks are more offended by the basic social convention that the word "nigger" ought to be verboten as spoken from their mouths than they are the violence, racism, evil, and violation of black folks' humanity that inspired white people to invent the word "nigger" centuries ago.

I worry that my well of sympathy and concern for Artie Lange is now spent and exhausted. He is rich, white, male, and a celebrity. Lange does not need any of my material assistance.

Positive energy? That is another matter all together.

I will also no longer be able to comfortably watch UFC if I hear Joe Rogan's voice because of his white victimology enabling politics.

When people show you who they really are you had best listen. They know themselves better than anyone else. Artie has shown us who he is--again. What to do?


Buddy H said...

Lots of self-hatred there. This is a man who tried to kill himself by sticking a knife in his stomach. Not swallowing a handful of pills, or jumping off a bridge... stabbing himself in the stomach.

I'm not surprised he doubled down. He wears the protective cloak of the white standup comic: "Jeesh! Can't you people take a joke???"

joe manning said...

He's chosen the dark side. Misogyny and white supremacy are socio-pathologies that contravene any practical concept of a healthy ego ideal and expose "othering" as mental illness.

skilletblonde said...

There is narrative from those in the Conscience Community about the plot to feminize African American men. I think this theory is absolute bunk. Black males, particular comedians, donning female attire and mocking women- is about ridiculing black females, not black males. But it's not just black male comics that do this. White men do it as well. The late Benny Hill, the British comedian, whose slapstick comedy used to air on PBS, would wear black-face and mimic African Singer Miriam Makeba. Chuck Knipp who wears black face and does a racist parody of a black female named Shirley Liquor. The character is an illiterate black female with 19 children. In spite of protest, he is making a killing doing this caricature. Then we have Artie Lange. When he was with Mad TV, he used to do a parody of a black woman called "That's MY White Mamma." The premise is Artie is driving down the street and hits an African American woman. Her spirit then inhabits his soul.

There is something about black women that comedians of all stripes feel compelled to parody. Not only is this true in entertainment; African American women are the victims of political defamation as well. Welfare Queens and Single Mothers are popular race code language among the right-wing and Republican party. This is something that needs to be examined.

Here is Lange in That's My White Mamma:

chauncey devega said...

Mental illness? Do we want to go that far as my worry is that those who practice such behaviors then have the out that they are not responsible for the consequences or their deeds?

chauncey devega said...

I think he is back on drugs. He is filled with lots of self-loathing and pain. All of his addictions--food, gamblings, drugs, etc.--point to that. I hope he doesn't kill himself.

chauncey devega said...

Cross dressing and race minstrelsy are also about feminizing black men. The tradition of race minstrelsy as you know is also about using the black body as a space for therapy to play out white anxieties in the 19th and 20th centuries about industrialization, new regimes of labor, etc.

One of my "favorite" accounts of minstrelsy and transvestism is how during the NY draft riots (I believe) white men dressed as women and in black face ran amok and burned down black orphanages, children's homes, churches, etc.

What is your analysis of that behavior?

joe manning said...

Good point. Racists in general are disingenuous and can't be let off the hook. But there's something definitely wrong with Lange

joe manning said...

From the feminist perspective women are second class citizens so feminizing males would serve to declasse them.

SW said...

Do folks like Arte Lange and Joe Rogan even begin to have any sort of depth of historical knowledge to understand the atrocity of which they joke about? They're ignorant. To them, slavery is some abstract scrap of inconsequential history that the whole of humanity should be able to blithely laugh at.

When called out for dabbling in racist humor, is it unreasonable to expect someone like Arte Lange to pick up a book and try to gain some understanding? I think so. Of course his ignorant ass is going to double down on his "humor". He's a dull comedian, who was never funny on Howard Stern, and certainly not on the comic B-list roll call that was Mad TV.

Also, as a Stern listener, I am always troubled by Stern's staffs attraction to racial humor. For example, when discussing Kristi Capel's utterance of "jigaboo music" to a black man on live television, the whole Stern staff couldn't wait to weigh in and say "jigaboo music", then giddily laugh at their words. It's as though the forbidden fruit could be safely consumed because after all, they didn't "say it", they were just describing a news story. The "n-word" makes a similar appearance on Howard Stern about once a quarter.

joe manning said...

The feminine half of the out-group gets the brunt of the ridicule.

skilletblonde said...

Indeed Chauncey the African American male body has been used by racists to project many of things. However, African American males have accepted the patriarchal model of family created by the very men that oppress them. The subjugation and ridicule of women is the crux of that mindset.

I've seen racist imagery of various groups. However, they tend specifically to target males. The racist depiction of Jews In Nazi Germany that I've seen were of males. The only image I have seen of a Jewish female was done by pornographer Larry Flynt, It was in his cartoon series Chester the Molester. I'm am certainly no expert on all racist imagery. I could be completely wrong. So please correct me if that is the case? However, what makes our circumstances different is not only were black males the victims of racist caricatures. So were the women- as well as the children. In a partiarcal society where women as view as trophies...seeing black women's hair, body and facial features projected as grotesque has affect the way black men view black women. There is a certain kind of shame that is present. And comedy is where it can be found.

Usually if an African American female who has achieved power or fame, dark complected, and does not fit a European ideal, meaning, as far from West Africa as you can get; que the black comedian. Redd Foxx was the first to call the great Shirley Chisholm ugly in a routine. Chris Rock tenure at Saturday Night Live was during the Clarence Thomas/ Anita Hill Hearings. In a segment Chris declare he didn't believe Anita because, "she didn't look good enough". Arnsenio Hall made fun of the singer Tracy Chapman's natural looks. I believed he called her Buckwheat. He also used to love to berate Whoopi Goldberg appearance. The Wayans did an ugly parody of the Williams Sisters. Tyler the Creator also did an offensive skit on the Williams Sisters. There is nothing David Alan Grier loves more than to dress up like a fat, tacky, loud, black woman. This is revealing since both of his marriages were not with black women.

Tyrone said...

Me 'n muh niggaz be poundin dem white bitches ta fight da powa.

The Sanity Inspector said...

Anyone who runs his mouth for a living is going to step in it from time to time; it's the simple law of averages. And anyone who makes a career as a shock jock is going to feel obliged to keep cranking up the outrage, and have few graceful ways of dialing it back down. Definitely not a career I'd want for me or mine.

Buddy H said...

I saw an interesting and revealing profile of Key & Peele. This quote stuck in my mind:
Once, backstage on a “Key and Peele” college tour, taking pictures with the student volunteers, hugging and chatting with them, Key mentioned to Peele that he sometimes had a bad feeling about the way he conducted these interactions. “And then Jordan said, ‘Why?’ ” he recalled. “And I said, ‘Because when I’m around the black girls I hug them and give them more attention.’ Because ain’t nobody been shit on more than black women. They just deserved more because of the fucking shit. It’s one thing to get whipped. It’s another thing to get whipped and raped. Do you know what I mean? It’s just horrible. And not that white women don’t have problems.” The painful history of black women in America, Key stressed, “won’t leave me. I think of my grandmother and my aunts. It reverberates. And so it’s, like, a woman with dark-chocolate skin should be an image of beauty for anybody just as much as a woman with milk-white skin.” Although, he added, “none of it actually should matter.”


But then during an appearance on Conan, Key joked that "there's nothing more dangerous than a black wife" which earned him some justified criticism from black women.

Dan Kasteray said...

Cardinal rule of comedy, punch up. Punching down is bullying. And ones pain is no excuse to do harm to others. Not to mention that hate motivated rape and murder is still a thing. We should be mocking the perps, not the victims

Dan Kasteray said...

The mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Besides, calling the racists mentally ill only excuses them

skilletblonde said...

I think the extra hugs may have been a ting of guilt. Both Key and Peele are married to white women.