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So, I haven’t really been paying attention to this Don Imus insensitive comments crap, because it’s like the Michael Richards thing last fall. There will be about a month’s worth of outraged people in the media going on and on about bigotry and then it’ll pretty much fall off the radar until people are referencing it during the next little flare up. So, I wasn’t going to say anything. Then, I get a message from Marty Beckerman‘s mailing list pointing to an article he wrote for Reason Magazine on the Imus topic. I was in need of a laugh this morning, and Marty’s a clever bastard, so I followed the link. Marty then proceeds to ruin my morning with a thoughtful and interesting article about why shock humor works when done by some folks and sparks after-school-special rhetoric when done by others. Marty makes the point that some people get away with it because it’s parody and people generally get that, and others don’t get away with it because, as far as we can tell, they weren’t really joking. Of course, there are the folks out there who jump right onto that high horse’s back and start spouting the rhetoric as soon as they think someone even thought the words: nigger, faggot, cunt, retard, spic, wetback, towel-head, sand nigger, ummm … crap that’s about as far as I can get right now without looking up more words … I’m a crappy bigot. Just go here and get your fill of slurs.

Any folks who’ve spent time with me socially in the past 2 or more years could potentially accuse me of racism or sexism or some other form of hatey-hate. They generally don’t. Not because I hang out with a bunch of Neo-Nazis or Ann Coulter devotees but because I generally go a bit over the top with the joke and try to only go there in a crowd I know understands. I’m just making a tasteless joke and the joke is more to make fun of the sort of people that would say it and believe it than it is making fun of whatever sub-group I’m making fun of. That seems to be where the line is. If you’re going to engage in the “shock humor” it needs to be directed at the sort of person who would make the joke in earnest not the subject matter of the joke. That black men have enormous cocks is not funny, the assumption some people make that all black men have enormous cocks is funny.

Funny thing about Marty writing an article about this is I remember Marty from “way back when” and he was prone to the unfunny mean-spirited type humor. Good thing about Marty is he’s smart enough to get that one might accuse him of hypocrisy.

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