Monday, November 27, 2006

Kramer Vs. Kramer

(I flirted with titling this post "Kramer Vs. Nigger," but thought that might be easily misunderstood, enamored as I am of shock value. I have no sympathy for racial hatred, but I also refuse to be cowed by empty-headed liberal pieties on race-- it's a balancing act.)

Once more, we see an obviously already troubled and psychologically unstable celebrity destroy his career before our eyes by doing the one unforgivable thing: insult a racial or ethnic group designated as "extra-special protected." The guy from Seinfeld and Weird Al Yankovic's underrated comedy classic "UHF" is catching all kinds of hell for responding to hecklers at a stand-up comedy show with the dreaded "n-word." Of course, the guy from Seinfeld was also called a "cracker" over the course of this exchange, but equally of course, that's considered utterly irrelevant to the story. The use of the word that cannot be named but which rhymes with "trigger" is the main point here. Nothing else matters.

To be fair, I don't know who started slinging the racial epithets first, the black hecklers or the white comedian. The question of "who started it" is not irrelevant, and I don't mean to dismiss it here, but I do know one thing damn well: were it a black comedian getting called "snigger without the s" by a white heckler, it wouldn't matter if the comedian started the ugliness by calling the heckler a "cracker" (notice how I don't have to disguise the epithet for white people? Gee, why is that-- perhaps because whites aren't stamped "extra-special protected" in today's world the way many other groups are?) first-- the story would be about how the black comedian was called a name that no black person, under any circumstances, should ever, ever-- EVER!!!-- be called, no matter what.

Kramer is no Mel Gibson, but like Mel, he's likely to be ostracized by "respecable" people from here on in, no matter how much he apologizes for his rash and imprudent behavior on this one occasion. Like Mel, he's got tons of cash, so the end of his career really shouldn't be regarded as too great a tragedy. Still, fair is fair, and double standards are double standards; the upshot of events like this is to further fuel resentment among white working folks who can't just retire with their millions, like Kramer and Gibson can. This reasonable resentment, in turn, can only be exploited by true apostles of racial hatred-- Nazis and Klansmen and what-not. It ultimately benefits nobody to hold the screws to one racial group while giving everyone else a pass.

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