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Because I didn't want to threadjack ....

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by old_tony, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    Shockey asked a question that basically said, "Is it bitchy ..."? and with the recent Michael Richards blowup, Shockey's use of the word "bitchy" made me wonder, and I had this conversation with a co-worker on a long work drive yesterday, so here goes.

    Michael Richards used the "N" word and a lot of people will from that time forward always consider him a racist. I'm not saying he is or isn't, but his use of the word certainly doesn't weigh in toward the "isn't" on that argument.

    But it made me think that that word is such a flash word that there's no way anyone -- at least anyone who's not black -- can ever use it without being labeled a racist.

    But there are other words that are pretty degrading. For instance, "bitch," as Shockey used it. But here's the catch. A man can call a woman a bitch and, sure he's a prick for doing so, but unlike the other word, would he for the rest of his life be labeled a woman hater and ostracized by society? We all know the answer to that is no. A man can even go so far as use the "C" word. Yes, he'll be ostracized at the moment, but the people who heard him call the woman that word will not forever label him a woman hater.

    Now, I'm not real big on this society of therapy for this and therapy for that. But suppose a person such as Richards went to some kind of racial sensitivity training and came out a changed person. What proof would satisfy society?

    I know I've seen some on here say Richards' career is over. Is it really? And should it be?

    Any thoughts?

  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    1.) Richards' career was already over.

    2.) The "C" word is the Unspeakable Word of the English Language. It's like the big red button of relationships. You push it and the fallout poisons all within a 100-mile range and lingers for decades.
  3. I think his career was pretty much over when his last two sitcoms bombed and he was back doing stand-up, but I take your point. It'll be the shorthand for the guy for the foreseeable future, but he'll get work.
  4. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    I agree with you both that his career was basically over. I kind of enjoyed his first post-Seinfeld sitcom but it wasn't of the utmost quality. I kind of wonder if he's really only capable of playing the quirky Kramer-type character, much like Gary Burghoff was only Radar from MASH on.

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful replies.
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Yes. Yet, Woody Paige dropped it in his newsroom and yet they've welcomed him back. Maybe he has a lead-lined suit.
  6. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    I don't think he's going to have problems making the car payments, but it's unlikely he'll get another TV show, for instance. Or even a guest shot, at least for a while.

    Should it be? Yes, even if he didn't mean it, or has a demonstrated history of non-race baiting (for want of a better term). The networks aren't going to want anyone that divisive on their entertainment programming. It will invite protests, and he's just not worth the hassle. So he won't get any work for a while. Maybe in 10 or 15 years.

    Remember what happened to Al Campanis, who had done quite a bit to bring Jackie Robinson into the majors. His career was just done after his gaffe.

    Of course, if he IS an asshole who likes to drop N-bombs, then he richly deserves to be shut out.
  7. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    I guess part of my question is kind of like that: As HH points out, that C word is "the Unspeakable Word of the English Language," and to an extent, it is. But I'll go out on a limb here and say that no political reporter will ever dig into a candidate's past friends to ever see if he used the C word like they did this past campaign with the N word.

    As best I can tell, both words are complete and utter poison, but only one will kill a career. And it appears to me also that racial slurs against other ethnic groups aren't exactly career-killers, either. No one believes Gibson's career is over, do they? If the hecklers had been hispanic and Richards used the S word, the story would have been much smaller, too, don't you think?
  8. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I'm not so sure that Michael Richards is suddenly a colder property because of this. Being "out there" is attractive to some. (Don't jump; I've said from the start this was totally over the line and inexcusable.)

    Andy Kaufman didn't miss any paychecks after the wrestling bit, and there was an entire section of America that hated his guts for that.
  9. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    Wrestling is different. Those who do the hiring in Hollywood probably didn't like wrestling anyway because it was so "flyover country." N-bombs are different. He's done.
  10. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Perhaps. I wouldn't bet MY next paycheck that you're wrong. Let's just say he won't get cast as an offbeat but lovable dad with four adopted children anytime soon.
  11. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Hey! I called it the unspeakable word! Damn righties! :D :D

    I agree with you re: no political reporter bringing up a candidate's use of the "C" word, but I think you're wrong on Gibson. It seems to me his star has been badly dulled by this. He's doubly damaged because he's at the age, 50, where he's not really a viable action star anymore. He had been moving behind the camera for a while, and people were already wondering what his agenda was with "Passion of the Christ." Spouting hatred toward Jews is only going to increase the scrutiny.

    My original Richards comment was a bit flippant, but the truth is his career was over regardless of what he said. But now, the first graph of his obit will be about his comments, not his role as Kramer.
  12. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    Lenny's got it pretty much right there. It's almost like the word nowadays is viewed as worse than the actual bigotry that would fuel its use. I would go so far as to say that Richards could have said some really crude, awful things to the hecklers -- including statements that would be obviously racist, but if he didn't use that word the story wouldn't have been nearly as huge.

    I mean, imagine if he'd said something like "Get a rope and a tree, etc .... " it would have obviously been racist, but would the story have been as big? I don't think so. Or he could have used other euphemisms such as (I'm not even comfortable writing it, so I'll just say it's a two-word expression and the last word means small rabbit). It obviously would have been abhorrent. But the one thing that made this such a huge story nationwide was that one word.
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