Wednesday, January 14, 2009
By the way, they would like the comedy show to not have any swearing, sexual, political, racial, religious or otherwise offensive material.
Words. Again, were talking about words. And, excuse me but a week before the Inauguration of Americas first African-American president and I am asked to not acknowledge the history we all share at this moment? It would be bad enough if this were yet another company obsessed with creating a thought free zone for their staff of sterile minded cubicle drones, but this is for a college. College! You know, the place invented by the Greeks to mentor new minds in the way of critical thinking and philosophy.
The gig goes great. I actually end up talking about things that are political, religious, sexual, racial and otherwise offensive if handled improperly. I perform on a beautiful stage in a college theater at 10AM. Oh, thats the other thing, its at 10AM in the morning. Is anything funny at that hour? Actually, an audience of smart progressive teachers is an ideal crowd for me. After the first few minuets get steady laughs, people relax a bit and it goes well.
The whole thing got me thinking about our preoccupation with words and feelings in America.
When did the Land of the free and home of the brave get so intimidated by words? Its no wonder corporate America became a nest for illegal plotting. You weren't allowed to think about anything else.
The thing is, each side of the social spectrum practices censorship. Strangely enough, the right tends to control access to knowledge while the left wants to ban concepts. Racism, sexism- things of that nature. With the right it is military hardware, ancient books- things like that. Both play games. Semantics as propaganda is one. All these terms are designed to obscure the actual meaning or purpose of what there describing.
Land mines are anti-personal deployment devices.
Retarded became challenged.
A man and a woman married with kids is a traditional family.
Homosexual is now gay.
Putting more pollution in the air was named the clear skies initiative.
These are not descriptions of real things. These are slogans. Advertisements for ideas. Brand names for a way of being.
Eight years ago, right after 9/11, being in debt was practically elevated to the same level as flying the flag. Look where that got everyone? Obviously we can be talked into doing something against our best instincts. The entire advertisement business relies on this. And its all done with words. They are the roots that keep everything in bloom. All the shades of meaning and the bright colors of adjectives are all supported by the true meaning in older words. We even call them root words.
We demand others not use certain words.
We ask others to refer to us with these words.
Some words can be said on TV at set times and some words can only be used late at night on TV.
The president weasels out of a question by asking what the definition of is, is?
Words have become our primary concern in this country. You would think that we solved all our other problems. But no, its words and the power we give them that concerns us most these days.
A boy walks into a school with a gun and kills several students and himself. Its the top story on the news for a few days. Everyone shakes their head in disbelief.
No one understands why.
A boy walks into a room with a word on his T-shirt that offends someone and a lengthy legal battle starts. Years drag by as court after court and appeal after appeal all pass some judgement on not just the word, but if a person has the right to show that word in public.
Judges, lawyers, jurors, reporters and public opinion all debate the way to argue with words, the words that can be used in the fight and finally the intent and meaning of the word that brought them all to this point.
I wrote a blog recently about Prince Harry getting in trouble for using racist terms while in war. Everyone agrees that war is bad but in the middle of this mass murder he uttered something so terrible that it required a royal apology. Not for the death and destruction unleashed from the barrel of his gun- for the words falling from his mouth!
A person even posted a comment taking issue with me. In their eyes, it is a just cause to want a world free of racist terms. I agree. But if we slump our shoulders at the inevitability of war and loose our collective shit when a bad word is spoken out loud, we might be in worse shape than anyone wants to admit.
Word to your mother, Bitches!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I had to get up early this morning for a radio call in. It was to promote the Obama-Ha-Ha tour I am a part of this week. I was bleary eyed, delusional from lack of sleep and kept hearing voices on the radio say my name and laugh. I have to think this is how Bush felt everyday in the White House.
How does Ann Coulter get on TV to promote her books anymore? In her latest book she attributes much of our nations problems to single Mothers. According to her, single mothers’ raise rapists, burglars and dropouts.
You can also add first black president to the list now too, bitch.
In the past three months ten people I have known directly or indirectly have passed away. People seem to take comfort in repeating the old phrase “God has a plan.”
Of all the options, God is real but doesn’t care.
God is not real and it is a waste of time to appeal to it.
God is dead.
The whole, God has a plan thing makes me the most angry. If this is how things are suppose to be going then I think it’s a shitty plan. In my own personal life experience this tells me one thing about “God.”
He must have an M.B.A. and work for F.E.M.A.
This weekend I taped a local TV show, completed voice over work on a cartoon for an independent producer, performed at a sober show, opened for Norm McDonald and signed a woman’s cleavage. Half way through she asked me, “is this your first breast?”
These are the moments that make me think, I can see how celebrities go crazy on the drug that is fame!
At this point in my career, I can only get fame cut with a lot of debt, mixed in day job and anxiety.
Man I want the good stuff!
Note to high seas Pirates: Before taking a ship hostage and collecting a three million dollar ransom, learn to swim!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Every once in a while you encounter a perfect example of societies inability to really understand what we should be upset at.
This is one.
Prince Harry of the British Royal Family is in big trouble. Apparently videotape surfaced of him while serving in Afghanistan in 2006 where he uses the terms “raghead” and “Paki.”
The media went into a tizzy and he was forced to release an apology to anyone he may have offended with his thoughtless use of racist terms.
OK. No argument that the words are offensive. No argument that he shouldn’t be using those terms for other people. But let me get this straight. When you go to war it’s OK to kill people but if you call the people you’re killing a derogatory word, then you have to call a press conference to apologize?
I don’t get it. Is this what Political Correctness has given us after more than 20 years of influence? We have replaced real physical harm in war with words as the cruelest thing you can use on other people.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but use the wrong word and now you have really hurt me! I highly doubt that any of the people killed or wounded in Afghanistan seriously gave a shit about what the white guys were yelling as they pulled the trigger.
Do you think that with their final breathes they looked into the eyes of their enemy and said, "Put a few dozen bullets in me, fine. But calling me raghead? Now you have hurt me deeply!"
I don't think so.
This is our greatest weakness. Think about it. The rest of the world has been trying to match our weapons technology forever. They don’t need to. If they want to cause damage to America all they need to do is fly over us with a loud speaker attached to the bottom of a plane and start screaming slurs. America would be brought to a stand still! It would be the top story every night. Think I’m wrong about that? The Prince Harry bullshit was the lead story on the CNN and BBC websites for two days. Beneath it ran news of the war in Gaza. I can’t think of a more pathetic example than that.
The thinking with all this do-gooder Orwell approach to words is familiar to anyone who ever took an office mandated sensitivity training class. When we use hurtful words to demean a person we take away their dignity. When you do that enough times, so the thinking goes, then it is easier to see that group as less than people. When that happens, well, you know history. When we no longer view another group of people as people it makes it far easier to kill them. It sounds nice and it sounds reasonable and we have all bought it. But it doesn’t seem to have ever worked. Talk to anyone in the military. They will tell you that while no instructor or commanding officer directly tells you words like “raghead” are OK, they don’t discourage anyone from using those terms either. Why? Because in war the first thing you have to do is dehumanize the enemy. The simplest way to begin that process is by calling the enemy by a derogatory often racist word.
Prince Harry was really doing what his training for combat taught him to do. It doesn’t matter that his training is in direct contradiction with the dictates of modern polite society. Murder we can accept. Causalities of war we can accept. Calling someone a “Paki” is something we simply cannot. The thinking is of course that by stopping the use of these words we will see everyone as equals and war will become a thing of the past. That is, until we need to bomb them. Then, go for it! Bomb, shoot, destroy-just don't use any racist words while you do it. That would be mean.