Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Cable Flashback

My memories of watching Comedy Central back in its infancy is chock-a-block with comedians that have come and gone. Back then, they filled up a lot of their airtime with video of stand-up comedians doing their thing at comedy clubs. This is not to belittle this programming choice, but too much of it got old really fast and we were happy for actual original programming when it emerged (Thank you, MST3K).

So I tune in to The Huffington Post this morning and find an essay by none other than Elayne Boosler. There's a flash from the past. And though she never went out and got her own show like some others that frequented Comedy Central back then (Tim Allen, Ray Romano), she's still got a great wit:

When people write, "Is America ready for a female president?" they need to know how insulting that is to women. These are the doubt planters. Tell 'em to go to hell. They're not asking, they're undermining. If you want to make someone feel unwell, don't say, "You look terrible", because he'll immediately bounce back with, "I feel fine!" But if you ASK, if you say, "Do you feel all right?" the doubt sets right in. "Why? Why do you ask? What's wrong?" That's what they're doing. "Is America READY for a woman president?" "Why? What's going to happen??"

Is America ready? The rest of the world probably reads that and shakes its head in bemusement, or incredulity, plain confusion, or maybe even sadness. Is America ready for sliced bread, covered wagons, indoor plumbing, math, the wheel, air travel, computers? Duh. You're so cute.
This actually ties in with the whole Biden-Obama snafu of last week. Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck expressed exasperation at the whole business and felt as if they need to walk on eggshells around blacks for fear of offending them. No, you dolts, you just need to use some common friggin sense when speaking (which, granted, you probably don't have a lot of practice in).

Phrasing it as he did, Biden made it sound like the the discovery of an articulate and clean African American was about as rare as a Stradivarius. It's all in how you say it.

But let me give O'Reilly and Beck a better example: Why don't one or both of you guys take a trip down to the Deep South, walk into a bar or restaurant and chat up the first married couple you see. Ask about their family history and then express in utter astonishment, "That's wonderful that you two aren't cousins!".

Maybe that will better communicate the difference to you and you can go on your shows and talk about it ... through what little teeth you have left.

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