Monday, November 13, 2006

What We Cannot Say

All of the brouhaha over the new film Borat, featuring a Jewish comedian portraying a stereotypical Polish man mispronouncing "Poland" as "Kazakhistan" brought something to mind that has been bothering me for a while, but not enough so that I would post about it.

It is strange that in the current culture, we can laugh at things while having to deny what we are actually laughing at. In this case, we are laughing at eastern European Gentile stereotypes (okay, I admit that all of this part of it I amn taking from Steve Sailer), but pretending to be laughing about people from a more isolated area (the reason being, of course, that Kazakhistanis have not entered our national consciousness enough for people to be worried about offending them as much as we would Jews, Poles, or Gypsies. Plus, unlike Arabs and Muslims, we aren't as worried about retribution [Salman Rushdie, anyone?]

What this brings to mind is something they had on VH1 a year or so ago. It was something like "100 funniest television moments," and one of them was about Crank Yankers character "Special Ed." (Crank Yankers is a show where they re-enact prank phone calls with puppets). When describing him, he was described as "a really enthusiastic kid," or something like that.

At no point did anyone mention that he was mentalli retarded, or even say something along those lines. Which one might argue was necessary, because to mention that fact would be offensive. But for Pete's sake, that he was mentally retarded was the entire joke to his character! His name made fun of the classes that people with mental deficiencies (amongst others) take. So it's okay to make fun of the retarded, provided you don't actually admit that that is what you are doing.

It's as if there was a skit about a black man with huge lips eating a watermelon, and people laughed at it and called it funny, but for some reason no one pointed out that the humor was based on racial stereotypes. Is it somehow less offensive if you pretend not to know what the joke is?

This also reminds me of the Supreme Court case a few years back about affirmative action, where it was ruled (essentially), that affirmative action was okay provided that you were vague enough about ho it worked. Any method of affirmative action that actually quantified anything or that had any sort of paper trail to show how it worked was verboten.

Something is very wrong in a society where this level of hypocrisy is maintained.

That is all.

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