Friday, May 09, 2008

It's a friggin' joke, people!

My most recent AMERICAN IDOL recap also ran this week on the HuffingtonPost. Among the comments I received was this:

Ken, there are a MILLION sad, pithy movies you could have chosen to compare Syesha's tears to. I got a sick, racist rumbling in my belly over your choice of "Old Yeller." If she were caucasion, I wonder what film would have been appropriate?

May I just respond by saying WHAT THE FUCK?!

At what point did we become the most politically correct, thin-skinned, overly-sensitive nation in the universe? This is beyond ridiculous.

Comedy by its nature is subversive. It is sometimes pointed, sometimes biting. Larry Gelbart once said:

If what you're writing isn't likely to offend or annoy anyone at all, go back and start again.

We need to stop taking ourselves – and everything else – too seriously. I’ll leave you with one other quote, this by Erma Bombeck:

When humor goes, there goes civilization.

LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE!

It’s an Old Yeller joke for crissakes!

56 comments:

Cage Free Brown said...

but, Ken!
Old Yeller SAVED YOUR LIFE!!!

Carlo Conda said...

I think I recall Reverend Lovejoy saying something along the lines of this post's title. I can't quite remember it though.

Grant said...

Okay... I was wondering what the hell was racist about the movie (it's not like it's "Song of the South") but I guess there are some scenes with Indians, err... I mean Native Americans, that aren't appropriate.

I remember reading that when "Apocalypto" came out Mayan Rights Groups were protesting because it reinforced negative stereotypes. Like someone isn't going to get that job because the boss is afraid he's going to start ripping people's hearts out on his lunch break. Gimme a break.

Anyway, the Huffington Post doesn't exactly have a balanced viewpoint (even your American Idol post would've been enough to get you blackballed during McCarthyism), so I'm not surprised to see a wacko comment there.

TCinLA said...

Ken:

I rather suspect I am a good 87 degrees to the left of you on the standard political compass, and I have to say I find it amazing that you are not aware of the fact that homor-impairment is a standard risk factor for being Very Seriously Involved in politics. In fact, humor impairment in politics is one of those things that proves that the continuum of politics is not linear, but is rather circular.

And paying any attention to the Oh So Serious at Arianna Sassinopolous' blog (the "Huff"ington Post") shows how little you know about our little Greek social climber, Arianna the Famous Author. 30 years ago, she was a jumped-up English Rightie, then she "married well" (to an inherited multi-millionire unsure of his sexuality) with the help of the Ladies Who Lunch in Beverly Hills, and after shje failed to take down Dianne Feinstein in 1994 and jump her little Greek peasant patootie up to Senate Wife (she was really sweating the Christian right discovering her pet gnu, er, I mean Guru, Jolly John Roger, gnu (er, I mean guru) to the cadillac of cults, the "Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness" (that's the feeling you have when diarrhea hits at Oh-Dark-Early, said as someone who watched that con-artist first hand for awhile).

Th Huffington Post is proof of why I think that Westsiders are a lower form of primate life, and definite proof that there is no connection whatsoever between the brain and the billfold.

Short answer: don't worry what those over-educated uner-intelligent boobs have to say about anything.

I used to know that bimbo. Not only is she ugly, she's a fucking moron.

They're what I used to call "Socialite Socialists."

Said as a solid lifetime/forever leftwinger.

iabanon said...

never mind Ken. these days you can ask someone the time and cause offence.

sephim said...
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TCinLA said...

Actually, it's Arianna Stassinopolous.

Carlo Conda said...

Right right, Sephim. Thanks for clearing that up.

Hehe, funny scene. :P
Ken, was the title of this post supposed to be a spin on that line? ("It's in Revelations, people!")

Gnasche said...

The poster must have gotten the movie confused with something else. I did a google search and couldn't find any other ramblings about Old Yeller being racist.

Hey Mr Tambourine Man,
get a fucking job.
'cause all you do all day long
is play that tambourine

Willy B. Good said...

My dog Monty was perplexed at a huffer implying Old Yeller was racist as dogs don't even know what racist means.

ps- are Tcinla and Arianna married?

Bitter Animator said...

For someone who isn't black, or hasn't seen Old Yeller, can anyone explain the reference and why that guy perceived it as racist?

All I know is that it's about a dog.

sephim said...

I tried explaining it, but my comment was deleted... probably because I used the "n" word.

Bitter Animator said...

Ah, okay. Is there an n-free version?

jbryant said...

Haven't seen "Old Yeller" in ages, but I think it's a fair bet that the poster who took Ken to task got it mixed up with some other movie, like "Birth of a Nation" or "Big Momma's House."

When I was a researcher for "Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego," we called a Native American group for some fact-checking on a story we were developing that was largely centered on aspects of their culture. Without hearing any details, their spokesperson suggested, in as rude a manner as possible, that we should just drop it because movies and TV "never get it right." I wanted to say, "Gee, could it be because when they call you looking to get it right, you tell them to piss off?"

I met Arianna Huffington once at some work-related kids' event, before her turn to the left. I gave her some innocuous compliment like "I enjoy you on Politically Incorrect." She looked at me (barely) like I'd offered to fart in her face. Nice lady.

sephim said...

Let's see...

Basically I said the reason that the reference of "Old Yeller" was a racist term for n-words because long before King N-word himself, Martin Luther King Jr's time, when a boy's n-word got rabies, he'd have to take his n-word out to the woodshed and shoot his n-word in his n-word head.

I also presented the suggestion that the caucasian version of this reference would be "The Yearling", except it was a deer and not a dog, and the deer didn't do a thing wrong.

But I got deleted last time, even though it was Ken himself who quoted Larry Gelbart, who said:

If what you're writing isn't likely to offend or annoy anyone at all, go back and start again.

And I bet Ken thinks that nobody ever listens to him or takes his advice.

Maybe I can sort of justify my use of the word by saying one of my favourite movies ever is "Joe" starring Peter Boyle.

Vermonter17032 said...

What the hell is racist about Old Yeller... perhaps the Huff poster has rabies!

Ben said...

She probably meant the movie "Sounder."

John Pearley Huffman said...

It's The Huffington Post, for God's sake! Know your audience!

All humor must point out the evil nature of the Bush administration.

All commentary must reveal the evil nature of the Bush administration.

All references to old movies must be indictments of the evil nature of the Bush administration.

All references to old yellow dogs, must be clever and subversive metaphors aimed at the evil nature of the Bush administration.

Play to the room, Ken. Play to the room.


Disclaimer: Since by posting this I will inevitably be accused of being an apologist for the evil nature of the Bush administration, I regret the inevitable degradation of this thread into a mud-slinging debate about how evil the Bush administration is and therefore how evil I must be.

My point here was limited to the obsessive nature of those who comment on HuffPo posts. It is not a defense of the Bush administration. Because, while I'm not obsessed with how evil the Bush administration is, I can't really think of a good reason to defend it either.

There, that ought to be enough of a buzz kill.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Take all those pointy-headed, Volvo-drivin', hairy-legged, hyper-sensitive Fans of Offense...

...line 'em up...

...and let Old Yeller bite 'em in the ass.

Woof! Enough already!

rob! said...

didn't Hillary Clinton just suggest Barack Obama will only win the Old Yeller vote?

Jeff Tompkins said...

Ken, I'm glad there are still people who stand by what they say/write when it comes under attack by the speech police, especially when the PC sqaud seems to be actively looking for something to be angry and earnest about, which is always.

Thanks for not giving in, apologizing (for nothing) and validating these people.

Watch out. Next, someone will accuse you of being sexist because...because...well, just because, dammit!

fatal flaw said...

Aw man, we can't even go look at the comment in situ :(

Maybe it's racist to expect an African-American to cry when a white kid has to shoot his dog?

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This Space Left Intentionally _________. said...

It's a good thing Syesha wasn't wearing a red dress, if she had you'd have linked her to the movie Reds or maybe to The Man with One Red Shoe or even The Lady in Red and some idiot would be accusing you of being a communist and then you'd get blacklisted. And if that happen where would we find the funny?

Man, some people are soooo uptight they need a double shot of 3-and-1 oil just to make it out the door in the morning.

Fuck the PC Police.

Michael said...

I wish all you guys saying "Screw the PC police" would please spend some time at the Cinematical and TV Squad forums. You are needed to balance out the gasping, outraged, offended poop-butts who take umbrage at the slightest whiff of a trace of a hint of... anything!

A. Buck Short said...

This weekend, I’m finally fixin’ to git home to mah wife and mah kid and mah dog. I’m going home to see Old Yeller. Old Yeller’s mah wife.

Save yourself the effort, this joke demeans women, and on Mother’s Day, yet! Maybe from now on we should only submit to the Punnington Post. But let’s not blame the Daemon Failure Notice to complete the delivery on the messenger. It was not Ms. Arianna who took umbrage. Comment poster needs to kindly put the umbrage back where he/she found it and have a cookie.

But y’all totally missed the point, people. The actual meaning. Down here in the ague belt, yeller retains it’s original meaning. It’s a COLOR people. That’s where the racism comes in. But I’m guessing she’d have to be Asian?

Now tsli, it’s not just the left that would have been offend by linking Syesha with Reds. If Ken had donned his sports cap and said something like, “They should have blitzed Simon in to red dog that bitch out of the competition, “ well the folks here at work could rightly have taken offense (or would that be “D”-fence)?

I am the token Jew in an otherwise Native American-owned film company here in Texas. We seem to be comfortable employing Native American and Indian interchangeably, albeit slightly influenced by the level of solemnity if not scholarship to be implied. I.E. our Native American heritage, but our Indian casino. This is the kind of stuff the guys let me get away with:

 Insisted on adopting a JeWindian name. Settled on Smoked Whitefish.
 Insisted on joining a tribe. Couldn’t decide between Judah and Benjamin. Hey, tribes is tribes. Rushed Benjamin, because although Judah was stronger academically, Benjamin had great keggers.
 Still feeling a little too Jewish, and sioux uptight, changed name to Pahoo-ka-ta-wah– Wolf who stands in water. Should have killed, but nobody in office old enough to remember Yancy Derringer TV series.
 Whenever asked how I like working here, always reply, “They’ve got me jumping through hoops.”
 Regularly employ traditional Navajew greeting: "Hi, how are ‘ya." Then dancing: "Hi-howaya, hi-howaya, hi-howaya, hi-howaya….”
 Inform could have gotten them Manhattan for $23.95.
 Impressions. Nixon signing the 1974 Indian Financing Act into law. Oval office, gathering of congressional leaders and Native American representatives. Nixon checks all his pockets, cannot seem to find a pen handy. Without a second thought, reaches up and pulls a feather out of one of the observer’s hair. Dips quill into inkwell and proceeds.
 Not feeling JewIndian enough. Change name to Pahoo-ka-ta-witz (Wolf who stands in seltzer).

Old Yeller, my ass.

Amber said...

It's OLD YELLER!

The film has become a cliche for making a person CRY REALLY HARD! That's what was meant by the reference; ZERO to do with her race.

I get a sick, non-racist rumbling in MY belly when I read of someone so friggin' DENSE!

empirecookie said...

How is it that Ariana Huffington is personally responsible for some idiotic comment left on one of the dozens of columns on her blog?? You people are just as idiotic as that commenter.

R.A. Porter said...

Ken, I don't watch American Idol so I usually just skim your AI posts. They're pretty funny without context, but I know I'm missing too much to truly appreciate them. So I didn't even remember your Old Yeller comment from the other day and had to go back and re-read it.

I'm happy to not be one of those people who's offended by everything. It must be tough getting through the day like that.

Anyway, in the immortal words of Bill Murray:

We're all very different people. We're not Watusi. We're not Spartans. We're Americans with a capital 'A' and do you know what that means? Do you? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts. Here's proof, his nose is cold. But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more lovable than the mutt.

Who saw "Old Yeller"? Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot? I'm sure. I cried my eyes out. So we're all dogfaces. We're all very very different...

whatfor said...

See, "old yeller" aproximately equals "high yaller".

and never use the word "niggardly"

cpo snarky said...

Ken, I always cry watching "How Green was My Valley". Maybe you should have said that. Then again, the word "Green" might suggest aliens, which could offend oversensitive Latinos.

Also, when responding to nutcase blog readers, it is important to spell "ridiculous" as "rediculous". I'm just sayin...

Warren Fleece said...

Is the problem here that she is old or that she is yeller?

Barking Up Trees said...

anybody remember the cosby show episode where bill cosby compares himself to old yeller, whereupon his wife reminds him they shot the dog... ?

got a laugh...

Lex the mom said...

I got my chuckles from your comment, but I am not easily offended. I was with your commenter Amber on how I perceived the reference. Old Yeller = a good cry. Syesha in a yellow dress = crying uncontrollably.

I don't think my mind is capable of seeing that any other way.

jbryant said...

The goober who wrote the comment also seems to be confused over the meaning of the word "pithy."

jbryant said...

Wait, I just noticed that Ken ended his post with "LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE!"

Maybe he IS a racist after all! :)

Annie said...

What is a 'caucasion?' A 'caucasian?'

I bawled my eyes out at 'Black Beauty.' Come get me.

jb's right - watch the 'lighten up' comments. Tsk, tsk. And I certainly hope 'for chrissakes' isn't referring to Christ.

Years ago in LA, when OJ was touring our freeways with his police buddies, a network news channel had a 'legal expert' commenting live on the situation:
"....OJ is quite the enigma...."
Realizing some people might 'mis-hear' that word, he stuttered, turned even more caucasioner than he was, and started to backpedal - "Not that that's a BAD thing..."

Max Clarke said...
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emily said...

I wonder if that Huff-commenter ever got a "sick, racist rumbling" in his/her belly while listening to the latest rap offerings. Scan some of those uncensored lyrics if you want a rude awakening.

Hang in there Ken, and don't let the ol' yeller-bellied bastards get ya down...

Emily Blake said...

Whatever, Ken. Deny it all you like, but we've all seen how racist you are.

You wrote an entire show devoted to glorifying the eternal conflict between white people and Koreans. How dare you, sir! How dare you.

emily said...

No. I never saw a Korean in Cheers...

Mike Bell said...

I know this may be a bit off topic, sort of, but why am I a Caucasian.

According to my parents, I'm Scotch-Irish.

I couldn't even find Caucasia on a map.

Mike Bell said...

I'm also a bit lacking in the punctuation department.

Annie said...

emily - maybe Koreans weren't allowed in Cheers. Maybe that's the racism Blake is referring to. So 'Old Yeller' is another insult to Pacific Rimmers. Aha! We are on to you now, Mr. Levine!

Graham Powell said...

Next time use "Where The Red Fern Grows".

Whoops - Red. Too bad.

Kevin said...

Mike, it's Scots-Irish. There is no such place as Scotchland and nor are the people from Scotland referred to as Scotch. It's a malt, not a people.

Rory said...

Kevin is right. Although here in Scotland we mostly just call it whisky. Without an 'e'.

Mike Bell said...

I stand corrected. Now if someone will kindly point me in the direction of the bar...

Anonymous said...

Oh come on people, can't you read? She said she felt racist rumblings in her belly. She's not calling Ken a racist, she's mad at him for evoking her inner racist. If Old Yeller is racist against African-Americans though, would that make it more appropriate for caucasians, thus making her second question redundant? Maybe you should have used Brian's Song though, the black guy lives.

Anonymous said...

I went back and read the Idol review. How can anyone in their right mind equate Old Yeller with racism? Sometimes I think people who see racism where it doesn't really exist are closet racists who are trying to not to look like racists.

The Anonymous PA said...

I don't think it's even a subversive joke. Suggesting that you'll cry at the end of "Old Yeller" is an old stand-by that's been around for years. Who could be offended by that?

Dave NJ said...

At what point did we become the most politically correct, thin-skinned, overly-sensitive nation in the universe? This is beyond ridiculous.

You tell me.

Some of us have been saying this for decades. It's hilarious that liberals, who encouraged thin-skinned political correctness in the first place, are just now figuring this out!

Not as much fun when the false charge of racism is aimed at you!

Big Black said...

If he were really racist, he probably would have said "High Yaller"...

jim treacher said...

It's not like you compared it to Planet of the Apes.