Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's only Tuesday, but Michael Richards is Already Having the Worst Week Ever

Well at least the media doesn't discriminate: they sink their fangs into exposed flesh and rip it to shreds in such a manner that the World Shark Conference recently met in the Pacific Ocean and formed a Task Force to learn from the media's efficiency.

In case you didn't know, or hear, Richards, aka "Kramer" was caught on tape in a racial tirade that was exceedingly uncomfortable to watch. Fortunately, most media outlets have spared the general public the actual footage.

Last night, I watched him apologize on The Late Show with David Letterman:

This was uncomfortable television, at best. Most surreal is Jerry Seinfeld, Letterman's guest, shushing the audience, "Stop laughing, it's not funny," as the audience laughs uncomfortably about Richards' awkward handling of the apology.

I feel bad for Richards, who obviously "flipped out," but question the difference between this incident and the Mel Gibson arrest earlier this year. Michael Richards says "I am not a racist". Mel Gibson says he is not an anti-Semite.

The difference perhaps, is that Richards is a comedic actor, who is not a media-savvy figure who does not do interviews regularly. He has always been off the beaten path, and does not have a reputation for any sort of racial comedy.

Gibson, on the other hand, is the son of a Holocaust-denier and has made a movie that was condemned for anti-Semitic content. Gibson is also a larger, more successful entertainer.

Does my own personal character play off of these burning spheres of media attention?


This is what I'm thinking about this morning.

I have rewritten many portions of this post and wish to clarify: for any entertainer to use hateful racist language is unacceptable, under any circumstances. We are all different, and our diverse backgrounds make us see things differently with different perspectives.

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