Vantage point

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Kramer's last tactless outburst

Michael Richards, who played Kramer on Seinfeld find himself in hot water after he liberally used the n-word on a group of hecklers. To further compound the situation, he appeared on Letterman's show via satelite to apologize. His apology was so lame that the audience started laughing, and frankly I too was laughing. Especially his claim that he was not a racist so he was surprised at his own reaction. Hilarious. Reminds me of Darren Lehmann.

Everytime someone makes a racist comment, he turns around and says "But I am not a racist. I just lost control." or something. Mel Gibson has done that too. As Sinbad, a comedian said on CNN yesterday said, that's like shooting someone dead and then saying "I am so surprised I killed him. I am actually not a killer."

Update: Here's a clip of the said outburst.

The n-word is a hot potato in the US. No non-black man can get away with saying it. I attended an 'Uncensored - Everything Goes' show at Improv when I was in New York. It was fun. The were picking on members of the audience in a no-holds-barred way. ompletely uncensored. Completely? No. Not really. One of the comedians, a white guy while picking on a black member of audience said "Hey man, I'll pick on you. But I won't use that word."

I personally find this touchiness about the word a bit mystifying. Not talking about the Michael Richards case here. If used in that way, people have the right to be offended. Of course, Richards has a right to say that word, but then he must also be prepared for the public outrage and disgust that has followed. I am talking about the way blacks will get offended even if the word is used in a non-pejorative way. For instance, I heard an Indian comedian talking about how black members of the audience got upset when he greeted his black friend saying "What's up, my nigger?".

And at the same time black rappers, comedians, and actors will spray the word liberally in whatever they say. If they really feel the word is so bad, they should stop using it themselves. And if they use it themselves to take the sting out of it or whatever, they shouldn't mind when someone says it in a non-offensive way.