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Foreigners Around the World
December 28, 2005 9:32 AM   Subscribe

"A Brief Survey of the Various Foreigners, Their Chief Characteristics, Customs, and Manners." Israelis, "They were personally responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire, the 1929 stock market crash, and the loss of World War II by a prominent European country." On Canada, "It is thought to resemble a sort of arctic Nebraska." It's okay because it's both unapologetic and National Lampoon circa Animal House. Harvard boys in the 60s were original ironic hipsters!
posted by geoff. (361 comments total)

 
Dad?
Mom?
posted by jonmc at 9:36 AM on December 28, 2005


Wow, was this ever funny? I like offensive humour as much as the next white guy. But these jokes aren't just offensive, they're mostly lame.
posted by Nelson at 9:45 AM on December 28, 2005


*Stupid comment about the modern day, truly conservative P.J. O'Rourke, and how he probably views foreigners the same way now but isn't joking*

Just to save someone else the trouble.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:47 AM on December 28, 2005


I laughed. PJ O'Rourke can definitely be funny when he puts his mind to it.
posted by jonmc at 9:48 AM on December 28, 2005


Isn't PJ O'Rourke just a racist anyway?
posted by delmoi at 10:00 AM on December 28, 2005


It's funny, but it is neither ironic nor hip, both of which would require a hefty dose of self-mockery.
posted by solipse at 10:04 AM on December 28, 2005


Isn't PJ O'Rourke just a racist anyway?

Aren't we all? I say better to throw all the stereotypes and prejudices on the table rather than the banal faux-politeness we're all practicing.
posted by jonmc at 10:06 AM on December 28, 2005


it is neither ironic nor hip, both of which would require a hefty dose of self-mockery.

I always equate rich, white kids making jokes about race as being hipster. Maybe that's just a Viceland thing.
posted by geoff. at 10:11 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm having a hard time finding the irony or humor here. It's okay because it's unapologetic? So because someone wasn't ashamed to be laughing at dumb racist jokes they get a pass? Seriously. I'm confused.

Also - I read lots of National Lampoon circa Animal House and I'm sure this wasn't funny even then. SNL and others back then could do this with plenty of humor and irony. But the National Lampoon take is just asinine.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:12 AM on December 28, 2005


At least this is a demonstration that was passes for offensive humor nowadays is just conservative claptrap, whereas, in the grand old days, it was balls-to-the-wall racism.

Bravo!

Now let me track down the 9-year-old version of myself who used to read this crap and find it funny. I've got to kill that kid for his abominable taste.
posted by maxsparber at 10:12 AM on December 28, 2005


Hey! PJ O'Rourke used to be funny! Stop the hatin'...
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm having trouble believing many of you. You may not have wanted to laugh, but you laughed. Therein lies the rub.
posted by jonmc at 10:15 AM on December 28, 2005


jonmc, I am not a racist, and I would not smother "everyone" with that title like you have. Your last 2 comments seem to say "Hey, be a racist, eveyone is doing it". What's the deal?
posted by parallax7d at 10:18 AM on December 28, 2005


I didn't laugh.
posted by maxsparber at 10:20 AM on December 28, 2005


Your horse is dead. No one wanted to ride it anyway. Time for a new agenda that you may hold us all in contempt with. We get it already - We're hypocrites when we show any dislike for racism. Right.

No, we did not all laugh. It's your fixation. Don't confuse it with reality.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:21 AM on December 28, 2005


Your last 2 comments seem to say "Hey, be a racist, eveyone is doing it". What's the deal?

No, but I'll happily admit to laughing my ass off at some of it. Mainly since O'Rourke is a good comedic writer.

And anyone of any race who claims not to be a racist is either lying or in denial. Racism's still a bad thing, but let's start with honesty, please.
posted by jonmc at 10:21 AM on December 28, 2005


Your horse is dead. No one wanted to ride it anyway.

The vociferousness of the reaction to it says otherwise.
posted by jonmc at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm not a racist.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:24 AM on December 28, 2005


I am.
posted by Witty at 10:25 AM on December 28, 2005


i'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony
i'd like to buy the world a coke ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:25 AM on December 28, 2005


Maybe I'm just naive, but isn't this satire? He makes racism look ridiculous by going over the top, see the above Israeli joke.
posted by geoff. at 10:27 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm not a racist.

Keep telling yourself that. No being on earth is free of some kind of prejudice. I'm not defending it, just stating a fact. Generally speaking, I'm suspicious of people who deny this, since I assume they're mainly doing so to accuse others and deny their own part in things.

As someone once said: You're either part of the problem, or you're a fucking liar.
posted by jonmc at 10:28 AM on December 28, 2005


I don't think there's anything particularly funny about most of these. I guess the point was to present the stereotypes in the most outrageous, over-the-top possible way, to make them look absurd or something, but I don't think it worked.

That being said, I did laugh at the part about the English often having large collections of useless things like lamp finials or toad eggs.
posted by feathermeat at 10:30 AM on December 28, 2005


"The vociferousness of the reaction to it says otherwise."

My bad. I forgot. Anything which is denied is true. You make a very persuasive case sir. As to your accusations that I'm a racist, let me embrace this newly rediscovered grade school playground logic - I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:30 AM on December 28, 2005


Keep telling yourself that. No being on earth is free of some kind of prejudice. I'm not defending it, just stating a fact. Generally speaking, I'm suspicious of people who deny this, since I assume they're mainly doing so to accuse others and deny their own part in things.
posted by jonmc at 1:28 PM EST on December 28 [!]


Jon, respectfully, while I understand what you're getting at, I have to wonder if you sometimes revel in it a tad?
posted by Rothko at 10:35 AM on December 28, 2005


anyone of any race who claims not to be a racist is either lying or in denial.

Hey, now - some of my best friends are washed-up, mailing-it-in humour writers who were actually at their best as Rolling Stone political correspondents.

Now, O'Rourke's recollections of his hippie days? That shit is funny . . .
posted by gompa at 10:39 AM on December 28, 2005


"You're either part of the problem, or you're a fucking liar."

So it's not enough that I think of all men and women as fundamentally equal? It's not enough that I find racist comments objectionable and I refuse to find them funny? If everyone is a racist and no amount of not being a racist will prevent that, then what is your point?

If we don't find that funny, how can we stop pretending we don't find it funny?

If not being racist isn't enough to avoid being racist, how might one go about not being racist?

And to contrast - If one has pernicious issues that they insist on projecting on everyone else, that might be resolved by just dropping it after looking foolish for the 120th time.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:40 AM on December 28, 2005


Yes, Rothko, I do revel in showing up hypocrisy and self-serving gestures. Ya got me.

First of all, y6, if you think I don't take racism seriously you obviously didn't read this thread earlier today.

Second, with the exception of a few drinking buddies I hold the whole human race in contempt, not just you.*

Third, my point is merely this: we all fall alover ourselves to be the first to declare how offended we are by stuff like this or to make brave statements like "Racism is bad!" and wait for someone to pin a rose on us. It's self serving, just like many white liberals I know who crow "I just loove black people." I always want to say, "Of course you do, you don't know any."

*I exaggerate. I love people, I just hate humaity. Most people are the other way around.
posted by jonmc at 10:42 AM on December 28, 2005


y6y6y6 - What has six balls and fucks black people?
posted by Witty at 10:42 AM on December 28, 2005


"No being on earth is free of some kind of prejudice."

jonmc, I can agree with this statement. I have several prejudices I routinely work on every day. Nearly all of them have to do my politics, though. i.e. I am prejudiced against people who drive SUVs - I secretly believe they're all soulless, self-centered red-staters. This is a ridiculous prejudice and I work on contradicting it every time it pops into my head.
I'm still sort of prejudiced against old people. I don't know what it is, but I always assume that they'll think my ideas are stupid or worthless and so there isn't really any reason to even speak to them. This is a dumb prejudice, many older folks are actually quite open to new ideas.
Cops. I have a really hard time with this one. I fucking hate cops. Cops make my blood boil. For the longest time I thought it was an "authority" thing, but I'm not so sure any more. If a fire-chief or a professor or a judge or a doctor tells me to jump, and almost always do. But there's a tiny part of my brain that screams "all cops hate you and are out to wreck your life" whenever I see the man in blue.
This is incredibly stupid, especially because most cops are probably more interested in keeping me safe, rather than hurting or attacking me. Cops aren't dumb, in fact most people who work as hard at something as cops do aren't 'dumb'.

But I am not a racist. I grew up in an extremely racially diverse setting, I work with a diverse bunch of people, I've lived in other countries and even been persecuted because of my skin color. I cannot think of one time in my life when I've looked at someone of a difference race and had a stupid stereotype pop into my head or that I've acted in a prejudiced way against them because of their race.
Maybe it's because I'm only 22 and haven't had racism beaten into my head by apologists like you, jonmc.
But you can take your whole, "Racism is ok because everyone is a racist," act and shove it.
It's bullshit, and I think you know it.
I think you're just stirring the pot.

And just for the record -
I think the material linked to in this post isn't funny - I think it's slack-jawed idiocy. It isn't even mildly humorous. It's sensationalist - the only people I can imagine finding humor in it are old racist guys. I'll defend its right to exist, but anyone who laughs at it should crawl back into the frathouse they were spawned in.

Fratboys. I guess I'm prejudiced against them, too.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:43 AM on December 28, 2005


jonmc, while as you know you're one of my favorite guys around here, you should stop and ask yourself how much you're accomplishing when your comments are so predictable they could have been written by a jonmcbot. Fine, you found it funny; you could profitably have left it at that. Everyone who agrees with you that we're all racists already agrees with you; nobody else is going to be convinced by your vehemence.
posted by languagehat at 10:44 AM on December 28, 2005


So it's not enough that I think of all men and women as fundamentally equal?

You think of them that way, but do you always act accordingly? I'm sorry but I have yet to meet anyone, myself included, who is without sin on this front (and I mean all kinds of prejudices, not merely racial ones). If we accept that, we can lower the accusatory, emotional tone of the debate and maybe make some progress. Just one an's opinion. Feel free to disregard and continue showing us how great you are for believing differently.
posted by jonmc at 10:44 AM on December 28, 2005


jonmc - I'll buy that we're all a little racist, but that doesn't make it OK to say racist things. If you walk down the street and see a fat person, you might think "cut out the cakes and get some exercise, you slob", but you wouldn't think it's appropriate to say it.

I found these pieces not even slightly funny. Except the joke about the Chinese people going into a bar, though even that's a less funny version of a better joke.
posted by athenian at 10:45 AM on December 28, 2005


Jon, is it okay to say though some of it made me laugh a little, I was offended? Or does that make me a bad person?
posted by Rothko at 10:45 AM on December 28, 2005


"Racism is ok because everyone is a racist,"

Strawman. I never said it was OK, merely that it is.
posted by jonmc at 10:46 AM on December 28, 2005


Rothko: *applause*

Thank you. Give the crazy gay welshman a cheroot!
posted by jonmc at 10:46 AM on December 28, 2005


The Virginia Lottery!

Now that's funny. No?
posted by Witty at 10:47 AM on December 28, 2005


Oh christ, not another thread about defender-of-the-underclass Jonmc and race..
posted by SweetJesus at 10:48 AM on December 28, 2005


I, for one, laughed. Those who didn't, did not get it.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:50 AM on December 28, 2005


Nobody brought up any underclass but you, SweetJesus. Now do you want to deal with the substance of what I'm trying to communicate or do you just want to brawl or something?
posted by jonmc at 10:50 AM on December 28, 2005


That's just SweetJesus' prejudice talking.
posted by Witty at 10:52 AM on December 28, 2005


Third, my point is merely this: we all fall alover ourselves to be the first to declare how offended we are by stuff like this or to make brave statements like "Racism is bad!" and wait for someone to pin a rose on us.

Yeah! Like those people who fall all over themselves to be first to point out perceived hypocrisy (every fucking time) then spend the rest of the thread defen... oh fuck it.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 10:52 AM on December 28, 2005


Now do you want to deal with the substance of what I'm trying to communicate or do you just want to brawl or something?

we want to brawl, of course ... isn't that what you wanted?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:53 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm a racist, but that wasn't funny.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:56 AM on December 28, 2005


I am not a racist because I hate everybody equally.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:58 AM on December 28, 2005


Nobody brought up any underclass but you, SweetJesus.

Jonmc: Third, my point is merely this: we all fall alover ourselves to be the first to declare how offended we are by stuff like this or to make brave statements like "Racism is bad!" and wait for someone to pin a rose on us. It's self serving, just like many white liberals I know who crow "I just loove black people." I always want to say, "Of course you do, you don't know any.

Ahhh yes, nothing to do with class. Just a discussion about how we while liberals, who loooooove black people, even though we don't know any. Nothing to do with class what so ever (as if race and class aren't intertwined).

You have a habit of coming into every fucking thread that has even a tangential relationship to human sociology, and ranting about how we're all racist white effite liberals who are secretly terrified of black people, even though we profess to love them. Eventualluy, the thread just becomes all about jonmc. You've made your point, let it die.

Sorry, but it's just gets old. It's hard to have a discussion with a broken record.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2005


On Wednesday nights, I have dinner with my daughter, then we go to the library. While she does her homework, I leaf through old issues of Life. It's fun to read the old ads, like the one for Banquet lemon-cream pies: “sultry! suave! sybaritic!" The most amazing thing was a story I found from the week my dad was born, in 1938. Georgetown University had a Nazi party! No, not a chapter of the National Socialist German Workers Party, but an actual party, with a Nazi theme. See, it was funny then to have 100 or so college boys dressed as Hitler, goose-stepping around the quad (or whatever they have at GU). Quite bizarre.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:03 AM on December 28, 2005


For some reason whenever I think "Harvard in the 60s" the image that comes to mind is that of Tucker Carlson -- white, probably family-wealthy and wearing bow ties.
posted by clevershark at 11:03 AM on December 28, 2005


ranting about how we're all racist white effite liberals who are secretly terrified of black people, even though we profess to love them

I'm saying that everyone, of every race, every class, in every country is to some degree guilty here. And if we realize that, we can maybe have the discussion more calmly and maybe make some progress. I'd actually like to discuss the merits of that idea. Maybe you want to talk about me, I dunno.
posted by jonmc at 11:03 AM on December 28, 2005


Somehow I'd be surprised if the "Recommend this to a friend" link is seeing much action today.
posted by clevershark at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2005


It is possible to get a joke and not find it funny. And I do not for a second believe that O'Rourke was exploding racism by exaggerating it to show how ridiculous it is. I think he thought he was being a naughty little comedy rebel by indulging in the most reprehensible behavior he could muster, and trying to excuse himself from criticism, as people on this thread are trying to excuse him, by claiming that it's just comedy, and Jesus, get a sense of humor.

I will remind you that the greatest weapon of the schoolyard bully is mockery, and that doesn't make it allowable. And, because others laugh at other's expense, it doesn't mean such jokes are funny. Just that those who laugh wish they were bullies too.
posted by maxsparber at 11:08 AM on December 28, 2005


African
Probably not people at all. Probably some kind of monkey. They eat each other and worship bundles of sticks and mud. You can never remember the names of their countries, which have a new Main Nigger every half hour and too many snakes and bugs anyway.

Indian
Dismal, obsequious deminiggers ... 'Sub-' is no idle prefix in its application to this continent.


Jesus fucking cheeerist. Can some of you that found this amusing explain the humor to me, or why I don't "get it"? In order for something so patently offensive to be funny, it should have some measure of self-reference, or recognition that the observer is some kind of ignorant half-wit. Instead, this reads like some kind of White Power or Klan tract.

I'll admit that despite our best courses of PC re-education (I went to college in the late 80s), I still have some racist impulses that make me extremely disappointed in myself, but I really can't see any humor on any of that.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 11:11 AM on December 28, 2005


"At any rate, they are apparently able to train Frenchmen to play hockey, which is more than any European has ever been able to do."

Come on, that's funny.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:13 AM on December 28, 2005


It is funny, crash. Until you hear it in your head in PJ's squeaky nasal drone. And then, it kind of sucks.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 11:15 AM on December 28, 2005


Ah, good point.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2005


I'd actually like to discuss the merits of that idea. Maybe you want to talk about me, I dunno.

I'm not sure if you really want to have a discussion. I just think you like to profess your somewhat strange views on race ad-infinitum, and wait for the fur to fly. Maybe I took the bait, and I shouldn't have. Whatever, I'd rather not derail into this further.

As for my take on the link, this is my favorite:

AUSTRALIANS: Violently loud alcoholic roughnecks whose idea of fun is to throw up on your car. The national sport is breaking furniture and the average daily consumption of beer in Sydney is ten and three quarters Imperial gallons for children under the age of nine. "Making a Shambles" is required study in the primary schools and all Australians are bilingual, speaking both English and Sheep. Possibly as a result of their country's being upside down, the local dialect has over 400 terms for vomit.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm saying that everyone, of every race, every class, in every country is to some degree guilty here.

it's amazing how you manage to talk to 6 1/2 billion people and still have time to post to metafilter ... but, you know, just the other day, i was looking at a 3 month old baby in a carriage and she called me a "honky", so maybe you have something there

do you know what the real problem here is? ... you're indulging in gross, obvious generalizations that don't actually SAY anything ... it's like posting to a thread about cancer and pointing out that everybody dies of something ... it might be true, but is it a really useful thing to say?

do you really think you're the first person to come up with this concept that everybody is racist? ... do you really think that the reaction's going to be anything but "yeah, whatever" or self-righteous denial? ... do you really think you're going to come up with any insights from anyone that wouldn't happen in a freshman high school communications class?

did you really think we were going to have a deep conversation with a link like that in the first place?

here ... just type EIAR for "everybody is a racist" next time you want to comment on a thread like this and we'll all know what you've said

Maybe you want to talk about me, I dunno.

well, it's bound to be more interesting than the link or what you've had to say about it
posted by pyramid termite at 11:18 AM on December 28, 2005


I've never found P.J O'Rourke funny, but this was stupid even for him. If you want good racial humor, rent Blazing Saddles.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:19 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm not sure if you really want to have a discussion.

I honestly do, FWIW. Why else would I keep bringing it up? I don't actually enjoy fighting, contrary to popular belief.
posted by jonmc at 11:19 AM on December 28, 2005


Tommy Gnosis, P.J. O'Rourke is a well known political satirist. The National Lampoon is a well known satirical organization. It's not "Look how stupid black people are, LOL" it's "Look how stupid racism is, LOL."

Think reading Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" and getting upset that he wants to kill Irish babies.
posted by geoff. at 11:19 AM on December 28, 2005


jonmc: you bring it up because you are a troll.
posted by Rumple at 11:21 AM on December 28, 2005


Bullshit. I maintain that it's O'Roarke being racist and thinking it's funny.
posted by maxsparber at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2005


Stay back, I've got a gun!
posted by caddis at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2005


I actually thought it was funny when it wasn't being racist. The entry about Australians, for example, was chuckle-worthy. The problem was things like this:

"You can never remember the names of their countries, which have a new Main Nigger every half hour and too many snakes and bugs anyway."

I probably would find some guilty humor in the confusing names of African countries and their tendency toward violent, corrupt, and impermanent leadership. But this is just lazy and witless.
posted by bjrubble at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2005


Rumple: please. That's a nice way to dismiss veiws you might not like, but grow up.

maxsparber: now you're a mindreader. Quick, what am I thinking right now?
posted by jonmc at 11:24 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm 38 years old, geoff, I know who P.J. O'Rourke is. As a matter of fact, I thought Eat the Rich was a stupid, self-inflating piece of shite, much like the author himself. We'll have to disagree on whether the "meta" of that is very funny.

We can debate on whether this is good satire, but as you know, good satire doesn't necessarily have to be funny. What I'm saying is that teh funny isn't there. It's not twisted or clever enough, in my view at least.

Perhaps I'd have felt differently about it, if I didn't know who the author was. We'll never know.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 11:25 AM on December 28, 2005


it's like posting to a thread about cancer and pointing out that everybody dies of something ... it might be true, but is it a really useful thing to say?

Pyramidtermite has it. It's not that jonmc is factually inaccurate, but that the truism that the human brain engages in generalizations doesn't get us very far. Harping on that fact comes across as an excuse to do nothing, a recipe for paralysis.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:26 AM on December 28, 2005


Why else would I keep bringing it up?

I have no fucking idea, yet I could set my watch to your racial philosophizing. Like swallows returning to Capistrano, it's just so predictable..
posted by SweetJesus at 11:29 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm not a mindreader, johnmc. I'm just a reader. I know O'Roarke's writing here is hateful because nowhere in it does it indicate that it's not hateful, that it's a parody of hatefullness. Instead, it tells racist and xenophobic jokes, and I'm not going to find them funny just because some immature part of my psyche hasn't yet completely overcome the racism and xenophobia that is the sadder part of my cultural heritage.
posted by maxsparber at 11:30 AM on December 28, 2005


Serious question, jonmc: You say you honestly want a discussion; however your premise is that anyone in the entire world who claims not to fit into your generalization is a liar. Without arguing the point, I can't really see what you think is left to discuss since you've preemtively dismissed any possible counterpoint.

1) You are a racist
2) Am not
3) Now you're a racist liar
4) Troll
5) See? What do you have against Trollish-Americans?

/okay - mostly serious question
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:30 AM on December 28, 2005


Harping on that fact comes across as an excuse to do nothing, a recipe for paralysis.

That may be how it comes across, but I can assure you my intent is the opposite. Like I said, I seek to lower the emotional and accusatory level of the race/ethnic/gender/whatever debate, since nothing ends rational discussion quicker than accusations of prejudice.

I could be wrong or misguided, but it's an idea I've had for a while.
posted by jonmc at 11:31 AM on December 28, 2005


Really uneven, more misses than hits. Being over the top racist can be funny but it is still only one joke. He repeats the same joke virtually every sentence because there is so little insight in most of his observations.

Including "boy" with racial slurs applied to blacks is funny in a way that calling blacks monkeys isn't; it's somewhat novel. The problem with most of these racist jokes isn't just that they're racist but that they're old and have been old for hundreds of years.

British food is bad? No shit, that wasn't news in the 60s. British people collect stupid shit? That rings as true, but it's novel. I wasn't around in the 60's so maybe the lots mexicans in the car thing was new then, but I kind of doubt it.
posted by I Foody at 11:32 AM on December 28, 2005


I'd say to jonmc that he chould wait to find a better-written wagon to attach his populist horse to.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:32 AM on December 28, 2005


It's Raining Florence Henderson: I can only say what I've seen on that score. I've yet to see any adult human completely innocent of some form of bigotry. I think accepting that makes it more difficult to scapegoat and forces us to actually get down to changing the behaviors.
posted by jonmc at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2005


Tommy Gnosis, conceded. Sorry if I sounded condescending. I found it funny when it didn't rely on old, over-the-top racial stereotypes such as what you highlighted above. Of course funny or not, it apparently is effective saitre as this thread demonstrates.
posted by geoff. at 11:34 AM on December 28, 2005


Maybe we could start putting together a new, more current list of racial stereotypes. Perhaps everyone would feel a little better then. Who would like to go first?
posted by Witty at 11:38 AM on December 28, 2005


This wasn't even funny when Jacob Riis did it seriously in his 1890 How the Other Half Lives:

"Cleanliness is the characteristic of the Negro in his new surroundings, as it was his virtue in the old. In this respect he is immensely the superior of the lowest of the whites, the Italians and the Polish Jews, below whom he has been classed in the past in the tenant scale. . .Poverty, abuse, and injustice alike the Negro accepts with imperturbable cheerfulness. . .He loves fine clothes and good living a good deal more than he does a bank account."

Jacob Riis is a respected journalist with a bunch of parks named after him in New York. This might be a parody of his ethnographic b.s. But still not funny.
posted by Marnie at 11:38 AM on December 28, 2005


Witty, seems to me like Jewish girls love to knit ugly things.
posted by I Foody at 11:41 AM on December 28, 2005


nothing ends rational discussion quicker than accusations of prejudice.

True enough, jonmc, and the "all humans stereotype" fact is worth bringing up, especially among those, typically left-leaning, who are prone to let loose with that accusation.

That said, this thread is a somewhat suboptimal place to defend that point of view against all comers. The Africans and Indians stuff is creepy and unfunny, even tho intended to be satire.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:42 AM on December 28, 2005


Maybe we could start putting together a new, more current list of racial stereotypes.

Spike Lee did in Do The Right Thing. Remember that set of speeches that began with "Garlic breath, Lasagna eating, spaghetti bending..."
posted by jonmc at 11:42 AM on December 28, 2005


Minnesotans like cassoroles that combine marshmallows and cocktail weenies. They also talk funny.
posted by maxsparber at 11:42 AM on December 28, 2005


sometimes, what people expect of others can be revealing

i have to go to work ... bye
posted by pyramid termite at 11:42 AM on December 28, 2005


Detectives sweat too much and love to complain about the weather even when its sunny. They tend to have thick eye brows and beat their wives if they aren't gay. They talk like slow witted children that grew up watching "Nell" everyday. The best thing about detectives is that they sometimes wear disguises that obscure their ugly faces.
posted by I Foody at 11:46 AM on December 28, 2005


I Foody wins.
posted by maxsparber at 11:47 AM on December 28, 2005


I'm with jonmc. This is somewhat funny stuff when you learn to lighten up about this kind of stuff. One can't get offended unless one thinks there is some truth to these kind of descriptions. Once one understands the joke that these are shorthand ignorant generalizations that are patently false, one can see the humor in the piece. Everyone makes prejudiced assumptions about The Other, so once you admit that, you can then set about showing how laughably silly those prejudices are.

Japanese Good Point: Frequently commit suicide.

Now that is funny. And it would be funny as a "good point" for anyone category of people one "dislikes." The cultural artifact of hari kiri just makes it all the more funny.
posted by dios at 11:49 AM on December 28, 2005


jonmc, why can't you just speak for yourself? I can respectfully disagree with your self-fashioned roughneck authenticity on race and politics (because it's dumb and obvious), but realize that having ideals and not meeting them every waking moment is part of life. Yes, many "white liberals" are hypocrites, but don't you think it's a good thing that in many parts of America telling racist jokes can get you ostracized, if not fired? I'd call that a step up, with many more to go.

Your disillusion with it all doesn't make you special or interesting.
posted by bardic at 11:49 AM on December 28, 2005


You're either part of the problem, or you're a fucking liar.

oh i get this meme. if you could only acknowledge yourself as racist (i.e. admit that you are so irreversibly flawed in that respect) then you're more likely to overlook/forgive the same shortcoming in others.

sounds awfully like to the familiar bnp 'common ground' pub meme trodden to death by 30-something barstool philosophers in suburban 80's britain. even when taken with a lager or two it didn't sound too convincing then, i have to wonder what really prompted this turd chestnut back into mass circulation. and here of all places.
posted by rodney stewart at 11:53 AM on December 28, 2005


jonmc, why can't you just speak for yourself?

I never claimed to speak for anyone else.

but don't you think it's a good thing that in many parts of America telling racist jokes can get you ostracized, if not fired?

Depends on the joke, depends on the context.

Your disillusion with it all doesn't make you special or interesting.

I never claimed it did.
posted by jonmc at 11:53 AM on December 28, 2005


if you could only acknowledge yourself as racist (i.e. admit that you are so irreversibly flawed in that respect) then you're more likely to overlook/forgive the same shortcoming in others.

No.

If you acknowledge your own prejudices your less likely to get accusatory and judgemental of the prejudices of others, thus if we all acknowledge our guilt, we can discuss the problem less emotionally and maybe make progress.

Howw many times do i have to say it?
posted by jonmc at 11:55 AM on December 28, 2005


dios, you're in fine form today. People who didn't find this shit funny are the true racists? Dear lord. You have read about "scientific" approaches to race studies in the 19th century, right? That stuff about Africans and Indians used to be quite true, in a relative sense. And it's pretty sick to find that funny.

What pyramid termite said. Don't smear the rest of the world just because your own viewpoints are limited and/or regressive. Racism will probably never go away, but that doesn't give anyone license to not try and fight it, or worse revel in it.
posted by bardic at 11:56 AM on December 28, 2005


Howw many times do i have to say it?

Once more for whites, twice for Arabs and three times for blacks.
posted by Witty at 11:58 AM on December 28, 2005


Your disillusion with it all doesn't make you special or interesting.

I suspect that nothing does.

My take on it is that O'Rourke is actually being racist and culturally elitist and that he actually holds many of the beliefs in the article; he has certainly shown enough elitism, mean-spiritedness, narrowmindedness and abject stupidity in his other works. And he's never been subtle, sensitive or ironic enough to pull off the "no, look, I'm making fun of the horrible people I'm imitating" schtick.

As for myself, I'm racist and try not to be. I spent much of my childhood on a First Nations reserve and had to put up with sloth and anti-white bigotry the likes of which I have never seen since. I now live in a part of town where I might be one of a dozen white folks within a dozen blocks, where I take my life into my hands every time I try to cross the street because of the number of people out Driving While Asian. I have prejudices. We all do. There's nothing hypocritical about trying and failing to overcome them while denigrating others who are even more prejudiced than you are.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:59 AM on December 28, 2005


Racism will probably never go away, but that doesn't give anyone license to not try and fight it, or worse revel in it.

Better that we should treat it superstitiously, like fundie Christians treat Satan? Bigotry is not a monster under the bed, it's a learned behavior. You don't fight it merely be incantating the right words. It requires engagement, not just accusations.
posted by jonmc at 11:59 AM on December 28, 2005


Time for my Brooksian Generalization.

There are two types of people in this world, those who can look past the surface of a racist joke to see the inherent absurdist humor of trying to be as vile, dirty and racist as possible in-order to poke fun at human traits of fear and xenophobia, and those who are distracted by the shiny surface covering of racism, and can't get past it for whatever reason.

If you acknowledge your own prejudices your less likely to get accusatory and judgmental of the prejudices of others, thus if we all acknowledge our guilt, we can discuss the problem less emotionally and maybe make progress.

That's wishful-thinking charm-school bullshit if I've ever heard it... Then again, I like to consider myself a realist with a deeply cynical streak.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:00 PM on December 28, 2005


"How many times do i have to say it?

Once more for whites, twice for Arabs and three times for blacks."


[this is funny]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:02 PM on December 28, 2005


jonmc wrote: I never claimed to speak for anyone else.

You don't have to claim anything--you do it in any thread involving race or politics. You, the great maestro of blue collar wisdom, has been to the horrid mountain of liberal hypocrisy and seen how dreadful and gullible self-styled white liberals are. You do this all the f'ing time.

To repeat my earlier suggestion, speak for yourself. Some people try to make a difference. They often fail. They often do it for un-Kantian reasons. But they seem to threaten your insular knee-jerk reactionism, so you lump them all together. It's tired.
posted by bardic at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2005


I don't believe in the existence of race.

Race is a social construct used to oppress groups of people. It isn't real. Even if there are many who do believe in it. Like Santa Claus.

How can one be even a bit racist if they do not believe in race?

I do believe in socioeconomic discrimination (class wars?) and poor people historically are the losers. Like what's going on right now in America. The poor are getting poorer, the middle class is getting squeezed and the rich are getting way richer.

Wanna buy a politician?
On sale this week!
Contact former associates of Abramoff for more information. K street lobbyists are crying 'cause they've lost the Delay machine and Mean Dean won't play ball with them! How sad. Poor corporations and the wealthy who own them.
posted by nofundy at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2005


SweetJesus, I have no problem with humor that uses racist imagery to mock racism. I see no evidence that this is an example of that sort of humor. All I see is a wash of hate masquerading as humor.
posted by maxsparber at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2005


It requires engagement, not just accusations.
posted by jonmc at 2:59 PM EST on December 28 [!]


I engage it by being offfended. We deal with our demons our own way.
posted by Rothko at 12:05 PM on December 28, 2005


"Aren't we all? I say better to throw all the stereotypes and prejudices on the table rather than the banal faux-politeness we're all practicing."

No I think not. Because we ought to be a bit more adult, about it, and insulting folks on this level is abhorrent and beneath contempt. If being polite and not offending your friends, neighbors and strangers offends you then good, be offended.

Yes we all have preconceived notions about others, most probably wrong, but it IS considered POLITE not to voicethem AT THE EXPENSE of others, I guess some can't or won't understand that.

Seems to me I hear a lot of hateful insults followed by, "But I kid" and "Its a joke, Can't you take a joke?", like its the listeners fault for being insulted. THAT is a fucking childish copout and we all know it.

Frankly Jonmc, Geoff, I though better of you.
posted by Elim at 12:06 PM on December 28, 2005


Better that we should treat it superstitiously, like fundie Christians treat Satan? Bigotry is not a monster under the bed, it's a learned behavior.

Two reasons to treat racism with quasi-superstitious aversion: (1) history of racism and its still-open wounds and legacy; (2) racism is more than a learned behavior-- it is natural as pie to the human brain. We're hard-wired for generalization and racism. So it's worth hyper-stigmatizing it to overcome it.

Also, Witty's comment was hilarious.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:06 PM on December 28, 2005


I for one think it is funny as shit, which may or may not make me a racist. But if I am, it is ok because I have a license to be racist. I work in affirmative action and much like 007 has a license to kill, I have a license to disparate treatment.

"....tanned, athletic penis"
posted by hatchetjack at 12:07 PM on December 28, 2005


Some people try to make a difference.

Pin a rose on them. But what if their efforts are ineffective or even make things worse? Should I refrain from criticism.

They often fail. They often do it for un-Kantian reasons. But they seem to threaten your insular knee-jerk reactionism, so you lump them all together. It's tired.

I never read Kant, so I don't know what you mean by that. But, you know nothing of my life, so you're in no position to call me insular.

I don't believe in the existence of race.

No offense, nofundy, but isn't that a belief you had to come to consciously? Which means that at some point you belived in the existense of race. Probably unconcsiously, but just the same.
posted by jonmc at 12:08 PM on December 28, 2005


I engage it by being offfended. We deal with our demons our own way.

Fair enough. But does your offense do anything to change the person who offended you? Because that (along with legalities and educating the young) is part of the battle, too.

(I'm not accusing. merely asking the question)
posted by jonmc at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2005


jonmc: But if absolutely everyone is guilty of bigotry, without exception, in the entire human race, then racism must be an inherent trait. Which suggests there really is no long term "changing behaviors."

I have (at least) two problems with that premise:

1) I don't concede that the universal cognitive pattern-matching form of "pre-judging" which might support your argument is really equivalent to "bigotry," which presumes a natural superiority. I think it is possible to feel loyalty to one's own demographic without demonizing everyone else.

2) I don't concede that your (or my) anecdotal evidence is sufficient to represent a meaningful sampling of possible human experience.

Discuss.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:12 PM on December 28, 2005


I don't believe in the existence of race.

Race is a social construct used to oppress groups of people. It isn't real. Even if there are many who do believe in it. Like Santa Claus.

Where are you getting your pot from, and can I have some?
posted by SweetJesus at 12:15 PM on December 28, 2005


But if absolutely everyone is guilty of bigotry, without exception, in the entire human race, then racism must be an inherent trait. Which suggests there really is no long term "changing behaviors."

Or it's enviornmental, and we're all more or less in similar enviornments. (I actually believe it springs from inborn fear of the unknown, enviornmental pressures, and political manipulation, but eplicating those ideas is for better minds than mine.)

I don't concede that your (or my) anecdotal evidence is sufficient to represent a meaningful sampling of possible human experience.

Absolutely, but that dosen't mean we shouldn't share them if we think they might be illuminating.
posted by jonmc at 12:15 PM on December 28, 2005


The concept of race doesn't exist. It belongs to our pre-scientific vernacular. If we were re-writing our lexicon today, we would not employ such a term. I don't believe in race, so I'm certainly can't be a racist. But I see the humor in this as it is a condemnation of close-minded prejudice. It is a lampooning (hint, hint "National Lampoon") of absurd generalities and prejudices; one laughs at a person thinking that way. One doesn't laugh with that person at the other races.

I would disagree with jon that everyone is a racist; only completely ignorant people are because they are the ones who believe the concept of race exists. But everyone is prejudiced. Hell, many people here are prejudiced against me. But all of us have our prejudices. Some choose race as the asinine basis for their prejudices. Some choose political ideology. Some choose sexual orientation. Some choose gender. Some choose religion. Some choose class. We all have prejudices against people we percieve as The Other. To deny that is to deny reality. To act as if their is something wrong with satirically mocking someone prejudices is to miss the point.

I'm amazed that people who will say the most vile, insulting things and make gross and unfair generalizations about me or Southerners or Christians or Americans or whatever, all of the sudden get up in arms about patently absurd satire of the generalized close-minded American (a "racist"[?]/prejudiced conception that many people have about the standard American anyhow).
posted by dios at 12:16 PM on December 28, 2005


Rofl.

No fundy and I agree on something.

/me commits hari kiri
posted by dios at 12:17 PM on December 28, 2005


Howw many times do i have to say it?

Once more for whites, twice for Arabs and three times for blacks


excellently played, witty.

- lord "black just for the jokes" wolf
posted by lord_wolf at 12:17 PM on December 28, 2005


jonmc wrote: But, you know nothing of my life

Only what you post in every goddamn thread you particpate in.

And I forgot that you're too good for books. My bad.
posted by bardic at 12:18 PM on December 28, 2005


OK, here's a depth charge:

I do data entry at a music company? The other day I was entering titles from a compilation of Hawaiian Music. I remember saying to a freind "I like Hawaiians but their language has too many fucking apostrophes." and we had a laugh. Racist? Perhaps mildly, I guess. But thoughts like that are in all of us.
posted by jonmc at 12:20 PM on December 28, 2005


And I forgot that you're too good for books.

I read everyday. I spent 5 years of my life selling books for a living. I said I never read Kant. Your dislike for me is overwhelming your logic.

Only what you post in every goddamn thread you particpate in.

Which is of course all of it. Cool your jets, please.
posted by jonmc at 12:21 PM on December 28, 2005


And he's never been subtle, sensitive or ironic enough to pull off the "no, look, I'm making fun of the horrible people I'm imitating" schtick.

Even when he was flaccidly aping his mentor, the late and brilliant Michael O'Donoghue (author of The Churchill Wit, and semi-famous for his early SNL alter-ego Mr. Mike)?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:24 PM on December 28, 2005


So dios was japanese all this time and no one knew?
posted by nofundy at 12:26 PM on December 28, 2005


Michael O'Donoghue was funny.
posted by maxsparber at 12:27 PM on December 28, 2005


that does explain the kamikaze posting style.

(thank you. the jonmc/nofundy comedy hour will return after these breif messages)
posted by jonmc at 12:27 PM on December 28, 2005


Fair enough. But does your offense do anything to change the person who offended you? Because that (along with legalities and educating the young) is part of the battle, too.

(I'm not accusing. merely asking the question)
posted by jonmc at 3:09 PM EST on December 28 [!]


I honestly don't think anything I or anyone here would say to someone like Mr. O'Rourke would change his narrow-minded views of the world, nor will I waste time trying.

O'Rourke comes from a different culture than you and I, when he can hold and voice such opinions without suffering any consequences. I'm sure you understand this.

Instead of holding everyone at Metafilter to blame for their innate racism, I'd be interested to see if you can go after people like O'Rourke with as much energy.
posted by Rothko at 12:28 PM on December 28, 2005


O'Rourke comes from a different culture than you and I, when he can hold and voice such opinions without suffering any consequences. I'm sure you understand this.

What culture is that? And what makes you so sure either of us truly inhabit a different one?

Instead of holding everyone at Metafilter to blame for their innate racism, I'd be interested to see if you can go after people like O'Rourke with as much energy.

I have and often still do. But I question how effective it actually is.
posted by jonmc at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2005


The concept of race doesn't exist. It belongs to our pre-scientific vernacular.

And with one massively uninformed stroke, Dios erases a useful chunk of medical research being done even today. Lucky for us, he's here to warn us about our tax dollars going to the racist scientific community.
posted by Rothko at 12:32 PM on December 28, 2005


(and the O'Rourkes (putting aside the actual debate over him personally, for the purposes of argument I'll stipulate to what ever you'd like, or let anyone substitute the egregious bigot of their choice) of the world are but one facet of bigotry. There's a much larger swath of people who are fundamentally decent at core yet still hold bigoted or simply wrongheaded beliefs. These people can be changed I (possibly naively) belive, and I question how much our reflexive indignation helps that)
posted by jonmc at 12:32 PM on December 28, 2005


To criticize O'Rourke for this would be to suggest that he believes it. Why would you criticize a satire writer for the thing that he is satirizing?
posted by dios at 12:34 PM on December 28, 2005


medical research my arse.

jonmc and everybody else in the 'everyone's naturally racist' club needs to slow up a tad with the inbreeding and get with a darker or lighter skinned person once in a while. i think that's the real problem here.
posted by rodney stewart at 12:34 PM on December 28, 2005


Even when he was flaccidly aping his mentor

I am unfamiliar with said work, but it's fair to read comments like mine as "never, in my experience".
posted by solid-one-love at 12:34 PM on December 28, 2005


"But everyone is prejudiced. Hell, many people here are prejudiced against me."

No true, most here who have an opinion about you are, driven to that opinion by your comments here, not preconceived,

prejudice: An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.

Most here I think I can safely say, have formed an opinion of you afterhand.

Race as a social construct exists, much like Class and religion. it Exists, so there that fact was simple to establish...

race; A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical Traits and/or Dialect.

See simple, if we can define it then it exists, at least socially.

Yes some here have preconceived notions about Christians, (All though Mine lean toward Christian fundamentalists). Christianity on a whole is a worthy and kind religion, although in this country (US) I see very little of what I would expect from true Christianity and I comment as much when I can.

That and considering how much Christianity ( in what every form) is taking more of a role in defining America I feel free and honor bound to point out my likes and dislikes about it. When it no longer controls me then I will shut up.

If that offends some then oh well. So be it.
One chooses a faith, one chooses a car, one chooses a political party. One does not choose gender, ethnicity, birthplace or even a place to live in some cases, nor a primary language. So I limit any comments on those issues for the most part, (Except Jersey which I hate for more visceral reasons). al these are a personal choice, I understand results may differ from one person to another.

As far as My commenting on Dios, or Jonmc or others I respond to what I see and or read. and as it is a text post, we can't make to many preconceived notions about folx here.
posted by Elim at 12:35 PM on December 28, 2005


To criticize O'Rourke for this would be to suggest that he believes it. Why would you criticize a satire writer for the thing that he is satirizing?

Because there's little evidence that he's satirizing and some evidence that he isn't.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:35 PM on December 28, 2005


What culture is that? And what makes you so sure either of us truly inhabit a different one?

Don't be obtuse. The rich and powerful can do and say what they like, and that's a good reason why someone can be offended by this article. This wasn't written by, say, someone like Studs Turkel (and if it was, that writer's career would have been over long ago).
posted by Rothko at 12:36 PM on December 28, 2005


All I see is a wash of hate masquerading as humor.

All I see is a comedy enema. Sort of a get-it-out-of-yer-system thing. Some may benefit from this procedure. Fine, enjoy. For most us however, like a real enema, maybe we actually feel a little worse for it rather than better?
posted by scheptech at 12:36 PM on December 28, 2005


To criticize O'Rourke for this would be to suggest that he believes it. Why would you criticize a satire writer for the thing that he is satirizing?

Given his body of work and cultural mindset displayed to date in his publically-available work, it's safe to say that O'Rourke may not entirely have satire in mind here.
posted by Rothko at 12:39 PM on December 28, 2005


Fair enough. But does your offense do anything to change the person who offended you? Because that (along with legalities and educating the young) is part of the battle, too.

The expression of offense within your peer group can change racist behavior. I disagree that people are inherently racist; instead, I believe that people are inherently conformist, and will adopt the social norms of the group in which they seek to attain status. If racist behavior is tolerated and accepted within a peer group, it becomes a self-reinforcing social norm. If, instead, peers react to a racist joker by showing offense, the joker will likely change his or her behavior. Not always, because racist behavior is the product of a confluence of factors, but I've seen it work.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:40 PM on December 28, 2005


I'm willing to assume it was and i'll conceived attempt at exposing internal racism, and it went horribly wrong right away, like Ted Danson's Friars Club Blackface move.
posted by Elim at 12:43 PM on December 28, 2005


Doesn't make it funnier or right.
posted by Elim at 12:44 PM on December 28, 2005


To criticize O'Rourke for this would be to suggest that he believes it. Why would you criticize a satire writer for the thing that he is satirizing?

Exactly!

Because there's little evidence that he's satirizing and some evidence that he isn't.

I would venture a guess that the so-called "evidence" you're talking about has much more to do with your views on race than O'Rourke's...

Given his body of work and cultural mindset displayed to date in his publically-available work, it's safe to say that O'Rourke may not entirely have satire in mind here.

Not every conservative is a deep-down racist, Rothko. What specifically in O'Rourke's writing makes you think he's a racist? Excluding this particuar peice from 45 years ago?
posted by SweetJesus at 12:44 PM on December 28, 2005


[iI would venture a guess that the so-called "evidence" you're talking about has much more to do with your views on race than O'Rourke's...[/i]

Ah. Interesting. When I respond negatively to a racist joke, it is because I am a racist, not the teller.
posted by maxsparber at 12:47 PM on December 28, 2005


jonmc and everybody else in the 'everyone's naturally racist' club needs to slow up a tad with the inbreeding and get with a darker or lighter skinned person once in a while. i think that's the real problem here.

Here's a picture of me at the office Xmas party. Two of the people in that picture are my bosses, and I'm fine with that. The rest are all friends. I also reside in the most racially diverse county in the country and work in a predominatly gay area of the city.

Nice try, though.
posted by jonmc at 12:49 PM on December 28, 2005


jonmc and everybody else in the 'everyone's naturally racist' club needs to slow up a tad with the inbreeding and get with a darker or lighter skinned person once in a while. i think that's the real problem here.

I've never met jonmc, but I've been here long enough to know almost verbatim what his reply to this will be...

On preview: nevermind.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:51 PM on December 28, 2005


Instead of holding everyone at Metafilter to blame for their innate racism, I'd be interested to see if you can go after people like O'Rourke with as much energy.

I have and often still do. But I question how effective it actually is.

... There's a much larger swath of people who are fundamentally decent at core yet still hold bigoted or simply wrongheaded beliefs. These people can be changed I (possibly naively) belive, and I question how much our reflexive indignation helps that)


And yet you don't seem to question how effective your "hey lighten up we're all racist" routine is here, or how much your reflexive chain-yanking helps. Do you think it's at all possible that on reflection you might conceivably come to the conclusion that it's doing more harm than good, causing people to dismiss whatever genuine insights you have? Just like the reflexive indignation of the people you criticize does more harm than good, in your opinion?
posted by languagehat at 12:52 PM on December 28, 2005


Ah. Interesting. When I respond negatively to a racist joke, it is because I am a racist, not the teller.

Well, I think the diference between you and I is that I believe one can tell a racist joke and not believe it's true, and you think one can't. The Sarah Silverman Theory, if you will...
posted by SweetJesus at 12:52 PM on December 28, 2005


stinkycheese: I'm just refuting the idea that anyone who questions the prevailing wisdom on race lives in a lily-white world.

alex: O'Rourke may be wealthy & somewhat powerful now, but he wasn't born to it as far as I know, and when this peice was written he was merely a comedy writer at a low-rent humor mag.
posted by jonmc at 12:54 PM on December 28, 2005


No, I think it's absolutely possible. I just think that this is not an example of it. Silverman's work repeatedly demonstrates that she's mocking these viewpoints, and also turns her biting humor inward. No such thing exists in this particular piece.
posted by maxsparber at 12:55 PM on December 28, 2005


And yet you don't seem to question how effective your "hey lighten up we're all racist"

I'm not saying "lighten up." More "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."
posted by jonmc at 12:55 PM on December 28, 2005


I would venture a guess that the so-called "evidence" you're talking about has much more to do with your views on race than O'Rourke's...[...]What specifically in O'Rourke's writing makes you think he's a racist? Excluding this particuar peice from 45 years ago?

No, it has to do with O'Rourke's. And while I hate to sound like a broken record, even though I have made my own views on racism very clear in my first post to this thread, this isn't about me. Attack the argument.

And to tie in your question to Rothko, neither he nor I need to provide specific evidence (nor, realistically, should we be expected to do so in the middle of the day without ready access to any of the printed works of his that he or I have read).

And, yes, SJ, conservativism is a much, much stronger indicator of racism than progressivism.

On preview: maxsparber has also made an interesting point.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:56 PM on December 28, 2005


Well, I think the diference between you and I is that I believe one can tell a racist joke and not believe it's true, and you think one can't. The Sarah Silverman Theory, if you will...

I think what you think is wrong, because I fdon't think you have framed his argument fairly or correctly.

I, for example, think that there is ample evidence that O'Rourke is a racist dink, but that Silverman is subtle, ironic and skilled enough to do the job right.

On preview: I'm too slow a typist.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:59 PM on December 28, 2005


If you want to get O'Rourke's honest take on these issues read All The Trouble in the World. He misrepresents a lot of science and history and his positions are ill-informed and disingenous. But to the best of my recollection, he looks on the countries he visits and their inhabitants with real kindness and concern, and seems like anything but a racist. (He does get fed up with Somalia and pretty much damns them to hell in the end, but I'm not inclined to suspect racism as bewildered exasperation at what anyone would find to be an unbelievably messed-up place.) His chapter heading about overpopulation, "Not Enough of Me, Way Too Much of You" is so obviously satirical that it's hard to imagine he could simultaneously hold that view and explode it with a barb like that.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:59 PM on December 28, 2005


Everyone's a little bit racist
Sometimes.
Doesn't mean we go
Around committing hate crimes.
Look around and you will find
No one's really color blind.
Maybe it's a fact
We all should face
Everyone makes judgments
Based on race.

posted by brain_drain at 1:03 PM on December 28, 2005


race; A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical Traits and/or Dialect.

for bible believers, obviously the dictionary's always going to be right. that's bible believer logic for you.

define then please: what's the difference between a 'race' and a 'mixed-race'?
posted by rodney stewart at 1:03 PM on December 28, 2005


On the other hand, it could be that I'm prejudiced in favour of cute, funny Jewish chicks and prejudiced against unfunny stogie-chomping conservative asswipes.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:04 PM on December 28, 2005


Without his books on hand or recordings of his work on radio I can't give you specific quotes, SweetJesus. Still, I have read a few of his books some years ago and there is a thread of cultural superiority running through him that pervades past the comedy. Given the way Ivy League admissions were run as recently as 45 years ago I don't see this article entirely as a surprise or aberration.
posted by Rothko at 1:05 PM on December 28, 2005


His book, All the Trouble in the World: came off as more than a wee bit suspect, like Mencken before him, he comes off as an Apologist for Not making things better, and an Anti-intellectual's intellectual. Everytime he brings up racism, its to make fun of someone else writing or commenting on racism, not unlike what we see in Metafilter sometimes. When he makes a true point he often gets it way wrong, case in point: "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free." (P. J. O'Rourke)

That being said He is outspokenly politically incorrect, and can be downright insulting to those who disagree with him politically. Niether is a virtue.
posted by Elim at 1:05 PM on December 28, 2005


rodney stewart: That is another social construct, where one has parentage of two or more different ethinic backgrounds. Why I had to explain this is somewhat telling. hmmmm. Today it seems common American norms dictate that it is an individuals choice wether they are of Mixed Race or not. results again vary from person to person. (not valid in New Jersey)
posted by Elim at 1:13 PM on December 28, 2005


I din't know that O'Roarke is racist. However, I think that this example is him indulging in racism because he thinks it's funny, not because he wants to demonstrate how absurd it is so we can all laugh together at how silly racists are. I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary.
posted by maxsparber at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2005


So some of you are quite certain that O'Rourke is in fact a racist and he was trying to make racist commentary that he believed in....

Well, I didn't realize that Canadians/English/Irish/Scottish/Swedish were all different "races," so I'm a little confused as how this can be considered racist to begin with.

If you think O'Rourke really is this racist and is making a sincere argument in this piece in the National Lampoon magazine, the first question you are going to need to answer is what "race" is he representing and how that "race" doesn't include Canadians or English people.

The "O'Rourke is being a racist and he means this stuff group" also needs to explain why a person of direct Irish lineage would be be "racist" about Irish people.

And, are Israelis a race?

In other words, the racist screed argument fails. That isn't what this is. Is a satirical look at closed minded prejudice with the joke being not on the people described, but on the un-stated category that is missing---the same category that the first-person voice speaks from---that is, the American voice. We are all quite well-aware of the close-minded American cant. (In fact, many people outside the US believe in the prejudiced generalization that Americans do in fact think this way, which adds another layer to the satire). And from the structure of the article and the omission of the only other group not described, it seems obvious that this a satire of the stereotypical close-minded American.

Why then is there the race to label racism?
posted by dios at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2005


(not valid in New Jersey)

Well, the toxic waste in Jersey has mutated everybody so much that race is pretty much irrelevant.
posted by jonmc at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2005


HA! True,
posted by Elim at 1:17 PM on December 28, 2005


Obviously, for Dios' sake, I will need to start putting the word "Xenophobia" into my discussions here, as I did at the beginning.

Frankly, if so much cautious interpretation, unsubstantiated by the text, is required to turn O'Roarke's piece into a satire of racism and xenophobia, rather than an example of it, than the author has failed as a satirist. However, I must commend his apologists for doing his work for him.
posted by maxsparber at 1:18 PM on December 28, 2005


And, yes, SJ, conservativism is a much, much stronger indicator of racism than progressivism.

So says you.

And to tie in your question to Rothko, neither he nor I need to provide specific evidence (nor, realistically, should we be expected to do so in the middle of the day without ready access to any of the printed works of his that he or I have read).

Right, no need to back up accusations. Just toss it out there, and let someone else do the research. As a satirist, I give him the benefit of the doubt that he's being, uh, satirical when he writes. You claim that he isn't, and it shows in his nebulous other writings. All I'm asking for is a concrete example. Usually when you call someone a racist you need to back it up with, uh, a fact or two.

Without his books on hand or recordings of his work on radio I can't give you specific quotes, SweetJesus. Still, I have read a few of his books some years ago and there is a thread of cultural superiority running through him that pervades past the comedy. Given the way Ivy League admissions were run as recently as 45 years ago I don't see this article entirely as a surprise or aberration.

Except O'Rourke didn't go to Harvard. He went to Miami University in Ohio, and grew up in the deep heart of conservative power - Toledo. But I'm sure you knew that, right?
posted by SweetJesus at 1:20 PM on December 28, 2005


" ... it could be that I'm prejudiced in favour of cute, funny Jewish chicks ... "

I thought you were talking about Sarah Silverman.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2005


Well, I didn't realize that Canadians/English/Irish/Scottish/Swedish were all different "races,"

In my first post I wrote "O'Rourke is being racist and culturally elitist". Wherever I later accuse O'Rourke of racism, one should read it as me accusing him of both. It's shorthand.

Seriously, Dios, you're being either careless or disingenuous. We need not lay out every point in every post. It is a strawman to suggest otherwise by reducing the argument to one term.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2005


And from the structure of the article and the omission of the only other group not described, it seems obvious that this a satire of the stereotypical close-minded American.

O'Rourke is a bigot in the same way that Mark Twain was a bigot when he said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." Though he is an emblem of American comedy, I refuse to discount my offense at this statement because of his stature. I would give O'Rourke even less leeway given an upbringing and an intelligence level, such that he should have known better. Sorry.
posted by Rothko at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2005


An interesting link for those following the "is race real" debate.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2005


Except O'Rourke didn't go to Harvard. He went to Miami University in Ohio, and grew up in the deep heart of conservative power - Toledo. But I'm sure you knew that, right?

No, I didn't actually. I think this makes his behavior worse, though.
posted by Rothko at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2005


O'Rourke is a bigot in the same way that Mark Twain was a bigot when he said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." Though he is an emblem of American comedy, I refuse to discount my offense at this statement because of his stature.

Fair enough, but does your offense at him change anything? Any Indians sleeping more soundly tonight? I'm not picking on you, merely trying to make a point.
posted by jonmc at 1:25 PM on December 28, 2005


I think this makes his behavior worse, though.

How? I'm actually curious.
posted by jonmc at 1:25 PM on December 28, 2005


I am not of the opinion that we need to prove that this is a racist and xenophobic piece. I think tthe follwing sentence proves it quite nicely:

"Probably not people at all. Probably some kind of monkey. They beat each other and worship bundles of sticks and mud. You can never remember the names of their countries, which have a new Main Nigger every half hour and too many snakes and bugs anyway."

I am of the opinion that it is other's responsibility to prove that it is satire. Is a racist joke satire simply because you found it funny?
posted by maxsparber at 1:25 PM on December 28, 2005


Sorry - that was supposed to link to the main page, not to favor any particular author.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:26 PM on December 28, 2005


Dios, again Race is a social construct based on regional background, so in answer to your question with another question, Why not Scots vs Swedes or do you need Skin tone? is Language root enough? Israelis, vs European Jews? and what is American for that matter? My folks have been here for 10,000 years plus (Admittedly that is estimated) so am I more American than you?

Too Some swedes and the english are a different as asians and icelanders the same, to others Canadians are stupidly lumped as one race.

ITS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT, it don't gotta have concrete rules... hell that last ones to true and make concrete rules on race were the (Removed by the GODWIN POLICE). and look where that got us?
posted by Elim at 1:26 PM on December 28, 2005


So says you.

Actually, it's pretty much the definition of progressivism that says so. Note that I did not say "liberalism".

Right, no need to back up accusations.

No, there's no need to require backup that you know you're not going to get and then claim some kind of moral victory when you don't get the backup that you knew you weren't going to get. Your request for said evidence was dshonest, not the claim itself.

Usually when you call someone a racist you need to back it up with, uh, a fact or two.

Fuck that. When we have an obvious example of racism in the FPP link, nebulous supporting assertions aren't even necessary -- you need to provide a god damned peer-reviewed journal full of evidence to prove the opposite assertion.

And Crash writes...

I thought you were talking about Sarah Silverman.

I'd be all up in that. She's a double hottie burger, hold the cheese (because with cheese, it's treyf, y'know).
posted by solid-one-love at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2005


dios-- your argument about racism reminds me of leftist stuff I read in college as a Comparative Lit major.

They'd focus on the incoherence of some classification along the borders, then claim that the entire classification was incoherent. Ie, that because there are people with aspects of both male and female genitalia, there's no such thing as gender, it's all socially constructed.

As a lawyer, you surely know that some difficulty in applying a definition along the borders doesn't mean that the distinction is senseless.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:28 PM on December 28, 2005


I think this makes his behavior worse, though.

You hold him to a higher standard because he was too dumb to get into Harvard and had to settle for a school so incompetent that it's named after a city not even in the state of Ohio? How does that work?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:29 PM on December 28, 2005


I am not of the opinion that we need to prove that this is a racist and xenophobic piece.

OK, then. From here on out whatever maxsparber has to say on the subjects of race and humor is gospel, carved in stone. And nyone who disagrees is an apologist. His coronation is at noon.

(actually the sheer ridiculous overstatement of the usuaul stereotypes should be a clue that this is satire. NTM, all the people mentioning O'Rourke's cigar chomping neocon image need to remember that this piece was written back in the 70's when he was still a shaggy pothead subversive or whatever)(
posted by jonmc at 1:30 PM on December 28, 2005


had to settle for a school so incompetent that it's named after a city not even in the state of Ohio?

mrs. jonmc attended Miami Of Ohio. I'm deeply offended.

*sniff*
posted by jonmc at 1:31 PM on December 28, 2005


Jonmc, if you're writing a piece of this kind to an audience that will pay you for it, that's even worse — IMO — than simply going along with the cultural view of the people around you. To extend a rock metaphor, it would be 'selling out', the consequence being furthering bigotry at the expense of cultural progress.
posted by Rothko at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2005


I was not aware that stating an opinion, and then backing it up, made me next in line for coronation.

Strange world.
posted by maxsparber at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2005


(And lining your own pockets at the same time.)
posted by Rothko at 1:33 PM on December 28, 2005


Two quick things:

1. I think one serious problem here is that some people don't understand what satire is. Satire does not mean "trying to be funny" or "telling jokes." There seems to be a distinct lack of understanding of what the point and tenor of satire is. As mentioned above, I wonder what your reaction to Swift would have been?

2. I can't believe here on Metafilter, I get lambasted for not consistently holding the liberal/progressive position on 99% of the topics, but here, I take the liberal/progressive position that race does not exist and I have people trying to convince me it does. I have liberals and progressives trying to convince me that there is substance to the view that there is a difference in races; the very root cause of racism and problems that have resulted therefrom.
posted by dios at 1:33 PM on December 28, 2005


you just stated that you didn't need to prove your opinion. That does smack of regal sanctimony, yes.
posted by jonmc at 1:34 PM on December 28, 2005


Johmc, I think the comment is about the 70s article, not that he is (Not a neocon in thr traditional ((wow traditional Neo-con, there is a concept)) sense) more a ill informed liberatarian,in the Ayn Randian sense. at least thats my take.

and there is enough supported material in this thread (or at least a good reading list of it) to merit calling O'Rourke a bit bigoted or at least elitist..
posted by Elim at 1:35 PM on December 28, 2005


No, there's no need to require backup that you know you're not going to get and then claim some kind of moral victory when you don't get the backup that you knew you weren't going to get. Your request for said evidence was dishonest, not the claim itself.

Fuck that. When we have an obvious example of racism in the FPP link, nebulous supporting assertions aren't even necessary -- you need to provide a god damned peer-reviewed journal full of evidence to prove the opposite assertion.

Your whole argument is dishonest. You're taking a piece of satirical writing and claming it to be the author's true feelings. When people call you on that, you claim that it shows in his other writings. When asked for evidence of said racism in other writings you circle back around to say you don't need to provide any because it's inherent in this piece. What the fuck kind of logic is that?

I don't want a peer reviewed journal, I just want one fucking piece of evidence to support what you assert. I want a fucking paragraph where he's not being both completely serious and racist. Just backup your shit, that's all.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:37 PM on December 28, 2005


It's Raining: Thanks for that link, which is indeed worth reading if anyone can tear themselves away from this ongoing squabble. A quote: "...we must abandon any use of race that fails to capture the true complexity of human genetic variation."
posted by languagehat at 1:37 PM on December 28, 2005


dios-- I understand your feeling that "whatever I say, people come after me," but it is not liberal/progressive to assert that race doesn't exist. I hope you get a chance to address the substance of what I, and others, said earlier.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2005


1. I think one serious problem here is that some people don't understand what satire is. Satire does not mean "trying to be funny" or "telling jokes." There seems to be a distinct lack of understanding of what the point and tenor of satire is. As mentioned above, I wonder what your reaction to Swift would have been?

What would your response to Twain's bigotry have been, Twain being a noted satirist?

2. I can't believe here on Metafilter, I get lambasted for not consistently holding the liberal/progressive position on 99% of the topics, but here, I take the liberal/progressive position that race does not exist and I have people trying to convince me it does. I have liberals and progressives trying to convince me that there is substance to the view that there is a difference in races; the very root cause of racism and problems that have resulted therefrom.

Racial distinctions are useful in science. Race exists in the current, post-"pre-scientific vernacular", and is self-evidently useful, for it continues to be used as a means to distinguish populations of people for the purpose of improving the quality of their lives.

That you refuse to acknowledge science, or know very little about it, has nothing to do with your political views.
posted by Rothko at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2005


I laughed non-stop at everything he said about all those people except that which he said about mine...when speaking of mine, he was a bigot and a racist and dead wrong.
posted by Postroad at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2005


wow Dios, did you fail to read my posts completely?

Race and racism exists AS A SOCIAL Construct! Is this a hard concept?
posted by Elim at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2005


I can't believe here on Metafilter, I get lambasted for not consistently holding the liberal/progressive position on 99% of the topics, but here, I take the liberal/progressive position that race does not exist and I have people trying to convince me it does.

It's not that you're usually conservative, it's just that you're pretty nearly always wrong.

I have liberals and progressives trying to convince me that there is substance to the view that there is a difference in races; the very root cause of racism and problems that have resulted therefrom.

Because there are differences in the races, and these differences are physiologically codifiable (sickle cell anemia, epicanthic folds, etc., etc., etc.) To claim that there are no differences among the races is somewhere between ignorant and borderline retarded.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:40 PM on December 28, 2005


You're taking a piece of satirical writing and claming it to be the author's true feelings. When people call you on that, you claim that it shows in his other writings. When asked for evidence of said racism in other writings you circle back around to say you don't need to provide any because it's inherent in this piece. What the fuck kind of logic is that?

Completely valid logic. There exists evidence to support my assertion. I cannot show it to you right now and you knew this when you asked for the evidence. You are dishonest in asking me for it.

That I don't have to back up my assertion is a separate issue which you are conflating. I don't have to back it up because it is the default position; the article is, prima facie, racist, and evidence is required to show otherwise, not to support the assertion that the author is racist.

Is this so hard? Do you need it in smaller words?
posted by solid-one-love at 1:44 PM on December 28, 2005


That would be Ethnicity, and Ancestory, not so muchRace although they do overlap more often than not.
posted by Elim at 1:44 PM on December 28, 2005


Sickle cell is not necessarily a marker of "race," either.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:44 PM on December 28, 2005


What would your response to Twain's bigotry have been, Twain being a noted satirist?

That he was a bigot, and a product of his time (which does not excuse his bigotry, merely mitigates it slightly) and that in spite of it all, he was still a brilliant satirist.
posted by jonmc at 1:46 PM on December 28, 2005


O'Rourke is a bigot in the same way that Mark Twain was a bigot when he said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."

Please cite your source for this. I can find it attributed to Philip Sheridan and indirectly to a few others. I can find no reference to Twain saying it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:46 PM on December 28, 2005


It was just one example, IRFH. There are others.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:46 PM on December 28, 2005


That he was a bigot, and a product of his time (which does not excuse his bigotry

Please be very sure that you know what you're talking about here. Twain's most important work is about a boy, the product of his time, who learns to follow his heart about the humanity of his friend, the slave Jim, and not his deformed conscience which was the creature of the society he lived in.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:49 PM on December 28, 2005


Completely valid logic. There exists evidence to support my assertion. I cannot show it to you right now and you knew this when you asked for the evidence. You are dishonest in asking me for it.

I had no idea circular logic was completly valid. I'll have to update the FAQ.

That I don't have to back up my assertion is a separate issue which you are conflating. I don't have to back it up because it is the default position; the article is, prima facie, racist, and evidence is required to show otherwise, not to support the assertion that the author is racist.

You miss the point so entirely it's almost beautiful. A Perfect Storm of ignorance, if you will.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:49 PM on December 28, 2005


President Theodore Roosevelt Said it too...
posted by Elim at 1:49 PM on December 28, 2005


George Spigott: Twain could be anti-bigotry against blacks yet still harbor it against Indians. (This is predicated on the quote offered being his, of course)
posted by jonmc at 1:51 PM on December 28, 2005


Swift was a great writer-- the surface of Modest Proposal hits you like a ton of bricks, but the details and examples he uses throughout are very subtle. All his arguments for eating little Irish babies are actually much better arguments for how the English made the Irish so poor.

O'Rourke is not a great writer. It doesn't matter if he was trying to be satirical, because he isn't able to pull it off.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:52 PM on December 28, 2005


These are funnier if you've had to suffer the company of old Ivy League WASPS of the era. They actually did talk like this, and they could be this provincial. The real joke, at least for me, is uninformed the racism is. My brother would come home from Princeton repeating this crap. (He has since grown up and is a very nice middle-aged man).

The National Lampoon was a farting boy's New Yorker, making not so gentle fun of its audience. O'Rourke still does that on occasion, though he probably finds it more lucrative to play to his audience. I don't like the guy, but he can be very, very cleaver.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:52 PM on December 28, 2005


Race and racism exists AS A SOCIAL Construct! Is this a hard concept?
posted by Elim at 3:39 PM CST on December 28


In other words, it doesn't exist as a matter of scientific fact. "Race" is a genetic concept, and geneticists have long shown that there is no such thing as a scientific thing as "race." Therefore it doesn't exist.

I read your point, but it is irrelevant to mine, so I didn't respond. Of course some people still believe in differences among races. But if I know there is none, why should I give credence to that thought? Do you really want to argue that there is a social utility to defining races? What is that utility?

"Race" is a vestigial concept. It is the appendix of our social constructs. People argued for millenia that The Other race was somehow inferior, difference, lesser. Hitler, slavery, segregation, etc. all occurred because of uninformed beliefs that there was a difference, and therefore, qualitative difference among people of difference "races." The term still exists, but it is a term of ignorance. And to say that it is real because people believe in it is non-starter.

And who brought this information? Scientists who showed us that there is more differences among a race than between races. Who showed us that one is as statistically likely to have a different genetic makeup with someone of one's own "race" than one of another. And why were these studies done? To disprove that there was a qualitative difference among races. The original breakthroughs on this front were heralded as the end of Racism. Why would we have segregation if blacks and whites are no different?

So, yes, "There is no such thing as race" is the progessive idea.

Ask yourself why someone would want to maintain the fiction? What is accomplished by maintaining the incorrect belief that a black person and a white person are different because of their "race?" How deleterious to our society is it to argue that the source of so much strife is a real thing?
posted by dios at 1:53 PM on December 28, 2005


My Favorite Twain Quote: "For every problem there is always a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong."
posted by Elim at 1:54 PM on December 28, 2005


It doesn't matter if he was trying to be satirical, because he isn't able to pull it off.

Well, then it's failed satire rather than blatant racism.
posted by jonmc at 1:54 PM on December 28, 2005


Correct Scientificaly your looking at Ancestory and genetics, not Race. Race is not real in a scientific sense, it is a label for a social group or division. This is Sociology 101.
posted by Elim at 1:57 PM on December 28, 2005


solid-one-love: "the default position; the article is, prima facie, racist"

So your claim is that the default position is to presume that an article in a magazine composed entirely of satire is, in fact, not intended as satire? Can we expect your outraged FPPs from The Onion shortly?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:57 PM on December 28, 2005


No there is not such thing as race is a Stupid statement. not a Liberal world view. Race, like borders exists.
posted by Elim at 1:58 PM on December 28, 2005


solid-one-love: to say that there is genetic variance or sameness among any two given homo sapiens is not to say that "race" exists. Of course there are variances and singularities. But they are not tied to skin color or any of the other classic racial classifications. They are tied to other factors such as geographic issues and heredity.

The point is this: the idea of race---that social construct that people still cling too--- that idea does not exist as a genetic fact. It is ignorant to look at two separate people and think there is a difference because there is not any meaningful scientific one.
posted by dios at 2:00 PM on December 28, 2005


It was just one example, IRFH. There are others.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:46 PM PST on December 2


It was "just one example" of what? Something you can't cite? And "there are others" that you don't cite either? Goodness, such a high standard of evidence you have.

As a matter of law, there's no slandering the dead; but that doesn't make it right. I'm still waiting for you to cite the quote.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:00 PM on December 28, 2005


Please cite your source for this

I believe I read this via an autobiography of Morris Udall, a former Representative of Arizona, who had a love of political humor. The Sheridan attribution is in dispute, no?
posted by Rothko at 2:01 PM on December 28, 2005


Dios, do you believe in "the South" or "TexMEx cooking?" Canada? do they exist? do you believe in Bavarians, and Zulus? do you beleive in Liberals, and ALbanians and Serbs?

All Social Constructs!
All real and All not real at the same time.
posted by Elim at 2:03 PM on December 28, 2005


But they are not tied to skin color or any of the other classic racial classifications. They are tied to other factors such as geographic issues and heredity.

Which are the basis for classic racial classifications, usually. But go on, this is good stuff.
posted by Rothko at 2:04 PM on December 28, 2005


jonmc: you asked why you might bring up this interesting and worthwhile topic repeatedly, and bang on about it ad nauseum. I gave you an honest answer: you're a troll, at least on this topic. I do not dismiss the topic, I dismiss your holier-than-thou attitude about this topic. Can you get your head around the difference? Basic premise: if it writes like a troll, and reappears like a troll, then it is a troll. Sorry if you don't see yourself the way others see you.
posted by Rumple at 2:06 PM on December 28, 2005


It was "just one example" of what? Something you can't cite? And "there are others" that you don't cite either? Goodness, such a high standard of evidence you have.

Don't you understand? He need not prove his argument, rather we all must disprove them. It's a fun rhetorical parlor game to play, and you can amuse your slower friends with it for hours.

Some suggestions:
We never landed on the moon.

Bill Clinton drinks the blood of Christian babies.

I, personally, am the re-incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Now, prove me wrong.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:08 PM on December 28, 2005


Whether or not race exists depends on how you define it. I'm not a big fan of the concept as it's generally understood, but there are genetic catagories. When looking for marrow doners, it's very useful to focus on populations from specific geographic areas if a family member cannot be found.

It's sort of the same thing with humor-- I find the post funny because it reminds me of a common experience, listening to provincial rascist blow-hards.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 2:09 PM on December 28, 2005


You miss the point so entirely it's almost beautiful.

I left my microscope at home along with my O'Rourke books, so it's not surprising that I missed it, if it existed.

IRFH:

So your claim is that the default position is to presume that an article in a magazine composed entirely of satire is, in fact, not intended as satire?

The default position is that the author of a piece that is racist is a racist, even if published in a satirical publication.

Can we expect your outraged FPPs from The Onion shortly?

This makes no sense whatsoever. I really should have brought that microscope.

George:

It was "just one example" of what? Something you can't cite?

No, of the codifiable differences between the races. I listed two, actually. I could cite more, but it is rapidly becoming obvious that whether I cite information to back up my assertions or not, I'm going to get shat upon, so I'm going to opt for the lazy way and not do so.

On re-reading, I think it's clear that you have mistaken my response as a response to something else.

And, Dios, you're just plain wrong. Race is a genetic fact. Your argument is moving swiftly from "borderline retarded" to "anti-intelligent" -- that is, by stating it, you reduce the IQ of the room. It's like you're claiming that the ocean is made of cow's milk -- it's so completely wrong that it isn't even worth the time to argue against.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:09 PM on December 28, 2005


I believe I read this via an autobiography of Morris Udall, a former Representative of Arizona, who had a love of political humor.

I don't have the book in front of me, but a quick search on Amazon gives this.
posted by Rothko at 2:09 PM on December 28, 2005


Their fiendish heathen religious rituals include mutilating the penises of their own sons and drinking the blood of Christian babies during Lent.

Actually, this is incorrect. We use the blood of Christian babies to make our matzohs for Passover. Why would we observe lent? That's a Christian holiday.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:12 PM on December 28, 2005


And, Dios, you're just plain wrong. Race is a genetic fact. Your argument is moving swiftly from "borderline retarded" to "anti-intelligent" -- that is, by stating it, you reduce the IQ of the room. It's like you're claiming that the ocean is made of cow's milk -- it's so completely wrong that it isn't even worth the time to argue against.

It is entertaining to watch him do it, though. Best not to argue and just enjoy the ride.
posted by Rothko at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2005


dios NOW your getting it! the idea of race---that social construct that people still cling too--- that idea does not exist as a genetic fact. It is ignorant to look at two separate people and think there is a difference because there is not any meaningful scientific one.

So now we get to why we allow Racism?
which is what this whole thing is about, not race but RACISM..

do you agree racism exists? if so then aint that stupid?

or Religeon and religeos bigotry?
Does religeon exists, other than a social construct?

Certainly less proof than race, and if not can there be Religeous bigotry? and if so ain't that stupid too?
posted by Elim at 2:14 PM on December 28, 2005


Rothko, even if that book contained such a quote, Udall isn't old enough to have known Mark Twain personally, so there would have to be another source.

While "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence", you must realize that there have been so many attempts to find racism in Twain that if he had said such a thing there'd be a thousand citations, don't you?

The burden of proof is on the person making the assertion.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:14 PM on December 28, 2005


"The default position is that the author of a piece that is racist is a racist, even if published in a satirical publication."

Ah, it's the old "if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck" argument.

Keep in mind, though - duck hunters love that assumption, too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:15 PM on December 28, 2005


Don't you understand? He need not prove his argument, rather we all must disprove them.

One need not prove the default assumption. For example, the default existential assumption is that, for any X, X does not exist. One must provide evidence of X to support the assertion of its existence.

Similarly, for any racist publication, the default assumption is that its author is racist.

It ain't rocket science. I don't need to prove my assertion because it is the default; you do, because it is not. You may disagree with my axiom, but, frankly, I don't consider any person worth the time of day if they don't consider my claim of what is the default to be axiomatic.

It doesn't surprise me that you didn't comprehend what I wrote that George was responding to, because you've shown all the reading comprehension ability of an infant Helen Keller in boxing gloves.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:15 PM on December 28, 2005


Sweet Jesus: Bill Clinton drinks the blood of Christian babies one must accept Jesus, and Babies are too young to do that with any real thought. Just saying, hee hee.
posted by Elim at 2:16 PM on December 28, 2005


I guess the point was to present the stereotypes in the most outrageous, over-the-top possible way, to make them look absurd or something, but I don't think it worked.

I think you're right about the first part ("I guess the point..."), but I think it worked. Que sera sera...
posted by frogan at 2:17 PM on December 28, 2005


Sweet Jesus: Bill Clinton drinks the blood of Christian babies one must accept Jesus, and Babies are too young to do that with any real thought. Just saying, hee hee.

Ok, you got me, I recant. Bill Clinton drinks the blood of freshly baptized Christian babies.

Now prove me wrong.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:19 PM on December 28, 2005


The burden of proof is on the person making the assertion.

Well, the reference I provided is the best I can manage for now, I'm afraid. Udall was noted during his three decades of service for his detailed knowledge of the art and history of political wit and its use in campaigning from the late 1800s and onwards. I doubt he'd have written it if it he wasn't sure of its attribution.
posted by Rothko at 2:20 PM on December 28, 2005


It is entertaining to watch him do it, though. Best not to argue and just enjoy the ride.

He is sometimes entertaining. You, however, never are. Don't think for a moment that I sympathize with you on any subject including the subject of Dios.

IRFH:

Ah, it's the old "if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck" argument.

Not at all. It is an axiom without which I don't think there can be a reasoned debate. In fact, it is central to civil law in my province; at the civil level, the burden of evidence is on the defendant on issues of published racism. Were O'Rourke to have published his work today in BC, he would have to prove his lack of racist intent before the Human Rights Tribunal.

So, y'know, if I sound like I'm being dismissive of the idea that I have to prove my assertion, it's partly cultural.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:21 PM on December 28, 2005


You fucking seppos are giving me a headache.
posted by Jimbob at 2:23 PM on December 28, 2005


Damn solid-one-love I think this horse is sufficiently beat.
posted by Elim at 2:23 PM on December 28, 2005


As would Twain.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:23 PM on December 28, 2005


Could we get a cite on the Twain quote, please? To my understanding, this was the origin of "The only good Indian is a dead Indian".

On Preview, fair enough, Rothko, but the fact that Google hasn't turned up anything to support your claim leads me to believe you (or possibly Udall) may have been mistaken in your attribution of the quote to Twain.
posted by gigawhat? at 2:23 PM on December 28, 2005


I doubt he'd have written it if it he wasn't sure of its attribution.

Well, as long as I'm banging logic here (might as well given its conspicuous absence in this thread), "appeal to authority" and in this case, "appeal to uncertain memory of authority". Even if you found the quote I'd still want to see a citation -- "expert" or no, it is certainly possible for Udall to be wrong.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:25 PM on December 28, 2005


Even if you found the quote I'd still want to see a citation -- "expert" or no, it is certainly possible for Udall to be wrong.

Of course, but you requested a citation or reference, and I provided one! It is always the case that any citation can be wrong — even Google isn't infallible. /shrug
posted by Rothko at 2:28 PM on December 28, 2005


I think rothko may have incorrectly attributed it to twain as well, can we leave it be?

The only reference I could find was this from here:

Yet we laugh with Twain rather than at him because his humor (involving always, as Freud convincingly argued, a "release of the repressed") serves to release both our otherwise unconfessed resentment of the longeurs and ineptitudes of the Leatherstocking Tales, and the shame we feel at responding so positively and passionately to what we know is schlock. But we do not easily acknowledge this, trying instead to explain Twain's case away, as if he were the problem rather than Cooper and our uneasy relationship to him. After all, we tell ourselves, Twain was a self-educated, provincial author of best-sellers who longed to be accepted as a cultural equal by the Boston Brahmins; and was therefore desperate to prove that one could be simultaneously the darling of the popular audience and a skilled craftsman. Besides, as he never admits in this essay but betrays elsewhere in his work, there stands between him and the Leatherstocking Tales, in which a key role is played by almost intolerably noble Redmen, a Westerner's pathological hatred of Indians, acquired when he was a tenderfoot in the mining camps: a conviction that the only good Indian is a dead Indian.
posted by Elim at 2:28 PM on December 28, 2005


I've always thought jonmc's point was that rather than pointing out or concentrating on how racist/prejudice someone or something else is we would be better served and more productive by working on those characteristics in ourselves, those we associate with and where it is happening closest to home.

I agree.
posted by Carbolic at 2:31 PM on December 28, 2005


Elim: I think they all have.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:32 PM on December 28, 2005


true
posted by Elim at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2005


Well, as long as I'm banging logic here (might as well given its conspicuous absence in this thread), "appeal to authority" and in this case, "appeal to uncertain memory of authority".

To pick a logic nit here, since no one is presently alive to personally provide a verified recording of Sheridan or Twain, any citation that attributes to either person is by definition, to some degree, an "appeal to authority," since you have to believe some third party, or authority, repeating the information to you.
posted by Rothko at 2:41 PM on December 28, 2005


Perhaps, but there are standards of secondary evidence: the writings of a contemporary who was present when he said it would be compelling unless convincingly debunked or disputed by Twain himself. Or of course if Twain had written it himself, in which case it's completely convincing unless there's reason to suspect the publisher of alteration -- which of course would not have gone unchallenged by Twain either. Only one of these two would be a reliable citation, and we haven't even got an unreliable one yet.

A thousand school boards (stung, perhaps by a few choice words Twain did have for them) have tried to find racism in Twain. Armed with such a quote they'd have had a far easier time of it. Not a logically strong position but then I don't need one: we're dealing with a naked assertion here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:53 PM on December 28, 2005


And, Dios, you're just plain wrong. Race is a genetic fact. Your argument is moving swiftly from "borderline retarded" to "anti-intelligent" -- that is, by stating it, you reduce the IQ of the room. It's like you're claiming that the ocean is made of cow's milk -- it's so completely wrong that it isn't even worth the time to argue against.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:09 PM CST on December 28


Well, it is good to hear that we have the final answer on the subject compliments of you. Perhaps you could be so kind as to let the good people at this website know that you have resolved this question so that they do not needlessly spin their tires anymore on something so patently wrong that they could discuss a more reasonable question such as whether the ocean is made of cow's milk.
posted by dios at 2:54 PM on December 28, 2005


Oh Jeebiss on a handcart,
give it up.

Please, you got so far and then this backslide...
posted by Elim at 2:56 PM on December 28, 2005


I know it's fun to take potshots at dios; hell, around here it's a regular spectator sport. Notwithstanding whatever entertainment value you're getting out of it, dios' position is one taken by a number of experts in the field, as evidenced by the site linked to originally by IRFH, and again by dios just above. Rather than take potshots, you really should go read the articles at that site, and educate yourself about the debate. The notion that the argument is "borderline retarded" or "anti-intelligent" is simply contrary to the facts.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:03 PM on December 28, 2005


It's settled, then. The default position on Jonathan Swift is that he sincerely advocated that the Irish eat their babies.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:03 PM on December 28, 2005


..and that horses should rule us as masters
posted by Elim at 3:06 PM on December 28, 2005


Perhaps, but there are standards of secondary evidence

I'll choose Moe Udall over Wikipedia any day. To each his or her own.

A thousand school boards (stung, perhaps by a few choice words Twain did have for them) have tried to find racism in Twain. Armed with such a quote they'd have had a far easier time of it.

As you're a student of logic, I'll leave you to find the logical fallacy in what you're attempting to say with what you've just said.
posted by Rothko at 3:07 PM on December 28, 2005


no monju_bosatsu Dios and I agree somewaht on the Race reality issue (or atleast I think we do). I actually feel he NEEDS someone to disagree with him desperatly. He is actually fishing for it. and THAT in itself is stoopid..
posted by Elim at 3:08 PM on December 28, 2005


Were O'Rourke to have published his work today in BC, he would have to prove his lack of racist intent before the Human Rights Tribunal.

Wow. I'll keep this around to sober me up when I have fantasies of moving to Canada.
posted by languagehat at 3:11 PM on December 28, 2005


God, you fucking morons and sissies!

Solid-one-love: My default assumption is that you're a nattering idiot who shouldn't be trusted to comport himself outside of the AOL children's channels and certainly not onto the general internet. Disprove that, you gaping dribbler. I believe it's axiomatic.

OF COURSE this is SATIRE! Jesus fuck, that the stereotypes aren't even internally consistent nor tied to any general reality makes them funnier! Can't you see the difference between this and R. Crumb's (more arguably racist) portrayals of black women? Same time period, different effects.
But no, instead it's this march to conform to the general liberal dogma, the Dogma that states a right to not be offended, and when offended to pillory with righteousness against the offender. OH NOES HE SAID NIGGER!
That the same joke was repeated about several different "races" should be another symbol of satire; that the stereotypes are hackneyed should tip you off! Instead the Milquetoast Counterculture is here to save another soul.
It's this adherence to enforced emotional bubblewrap that precipitates things like Vice, where racism slips from being a gag to a lifestyle in order to shock "normals." And Sarah Silverman wouldn't be doing her schtick today without the Lampoon.
posted by klangklangston at 3:12 PM on December 28, 2005


I remembered this being attributed to Gen. Sheridan in Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. I plugged it into Google Book Search and voilá, it's the first hit. According to that, it was uttered by Gen. Sheridan in response to a surrendering Comanche referring to himself as a good Indian, and was passed on by a lieutenant present at the meeting. Seems pretty conclusive, but I guess someone less lazy than myself could track down Brown's citation.
posted by boaz at 3:12 PM on December 28, 2005


Klangster, Late to the meeting, AND LOUD!
posted by Elim at 3:13 PM on December 28, 2005


Rothko, A) Where did I cite wikipedia in this argument? B) I included an apology for logical weakness of that particular sentence in the one immediately after it, and C) You haven't actually found a citation in Udall, only mentioned a book he wrote.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:13 PM on December 28, 2005


C) You haven't actually found a citation in Udall, only mentioned a book he wrote.

You're right. I just made it up. Carry on. /shrug
posted by Rothko at 3:15 PM on December 28, 2005


mathowie, can I have my $5 back ?
posted by spock at 3:20 PM on December 28, 2005


When did it become so freaking obvious hat if it is published in National Lampoon it must necessarily be Swiftian satire? I read National Lampoon, and I remember the magazine being wildly inconsistent with the quality of their comedy, the targets of their comedy, and the effectiveness of their satire.

Just because it is exagerated does not prove that its intention was to satirize racist attitudes. It's just as likely, or, in my opinion, far more likely that O'Roarke wanted to take a nasty joke just as far as he could, knowing that his mostly white, frequently stoned audience wouldn't mind having a few mean little laughs at someone else's expense.

Humor can easily be used to hurt. Pointing out that it's humor doesn't absolve it.
posted by maxsparber at 3:23 PM on December 28, 2005


Still, it would have been a better satire if it had made an actual point and/or been truly funny. For me, he failed on both counts.

And Swift defintely favored the English eating those babies. Why waste all that tasty food on the Irish? That's like feeding veal to cattle...
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:27 PM on December 28, 2005


The notion that the argument is "borderline retarded" or "anti-intelligent" is simply contrary to the facts.

I know the arguments, and I consider "borderline retarded" and "anti-intelligent to be polite and geneous descriptions of their arguments. In addition, I was not taking potshots at Dios; just his arguments.

Klang, thank you for raising the level of debate. It is lovely to know that in any thread, the likelihood will rise to 1:1 that someone will decide that my opinions are so offensive as to warrant such a response. Bravo. I keep telling people that I never throw the first punch, and folks like you keep proving me right.

And "Of course it's satire"? Prove your assertion. I see little evidence and none of it is compelling.

Hat sez:

Wow. I'll keep this around to sober me up when I have fantasies of moving to Canada.

Whole different culture up here. Perfectly safe to criticize one's government, but not safe to criticize another based on race.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:36 PM on December 28, 2005


You know, you figure most people would realize Swiftian satire wasn't all uniformly brilliant after it basically became its own genre. Most modern Swiftian Satire™ makes about as much sense as some garage band that can't even tune a guitar trying to sound like Rodgers and Hammerstein.

My modest proposal is that anyone nowadays still tempted to write Swiftian satire should first shoot his kids, then his siblings, then his parents, then all his potential readers, and then himself.
posted by boaz at 3:37 PM on December 28, 2005


I'm still taking a good hard look at the next Swift Premium ham I bring home.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:43 PM on December 28, 2005


can't belive this got 260 comments.

Also, jonmc is jonmc. Film at 11.
posted by delmoi at 3:47 PM on December 28, 2005


Jonmc is a racist, he thinks bad things about the human race!
posted by delmoi at 3:49 PM on December 28, 2005


And "Of course it's satire"? Prove your assertion. I see little evidence and none of it is compelling.

Hahaha! Prove National Lampoon is satire? Hahahahah...

God, you're dumb.
posted by SweetJesus at 3:52 PM on December 28, 2005


Whole different culture up here. Perfectly safe to criticize one's government, but not safe to criticize another based on race.

It's perfictly safe to criticize your government here in the US. Our ruling class learned long ago that free speech is no threat to totalitarianism.
posted by delmoi at 3:53 PM on December 28, 2005


And "Of course it's satire"? Prove your assertion. I see little evidence and none of it is compelling.

Is it lonely up their on your horse? I mean it's been stated again and again. It's from a satirical magazine, from a satire writer. It may not be funny, but satire doesn't have to be funny. It's over the top racism. Do you have any life left in you? I mean you understand The Onion right? Add on another layer, as explained above this pokes fun at Establishment 60s WASP racism. I didn't say "Harvard" and "60s" for kicks. This isn't making fun of backwoods neo-nazis but the ingrained elitism of the upper-crust. What he's doing is this, "You know when you elites sit around and sip brandy and really casually talk about how dreadful sailing your yacht into Australia is because of the people there? Yeah well when you take it out of the game room it's really racist."
posted by geoff. at 3:53 PM on December 28, 2005


Yes God is dumb, PROVE ME WRONG!
(ha this is fun)
posted by Elim at 3:56 PM on December 28, 2005


Also, it's probably hard to see satire with your eyes shut, and hard to listen to rational arguments with your fingers plugging your ears...

"Lalalalala RACISM lalalalala PROVE IT'S SATIRE lalalalala I CANT HEAR YOU lalalalalala!"

It's like arguing with a five year old.
posted by SweetJesus at 3:57 PM on December 28, 2005


Is it lonely up their on your horse? I mean it's been stated again and again. It's from a satirical magazine, from a satire writer

Which is in what way evidence? As I have stated repeatedly, I (and, interestingly, the prevailing jurisprudence of the jurisdiction in which I live) consider it axiomatic that a racist piece of work denotes a racist author and intent by default, regardless of the source. It sure ain't "lonely up on this horse".

It is unobvious that it is a work of satire, regardless of whether it appeared in Lampoon. That it appeared in a satire publication is not compelling evidence that it is itself a work of satire or that the author is not in fact a big honking racist.

This is not "dumb", despite what Sweetjesus would claim. That he has been utterly unable to make a cogent argument throughout the entirety of this thread, would ,I think, imply the opposite.

"What he's doing is this,"

I have explained adequately why I don't think this is what he was doing, upthread. In brief, he doesn't have the skill to do so, so he didn't. He never was no Sarah Silverman.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:01 PM on December 28, 2005


Edit: more accurately, he didn't have the skill. He might be able to pull it off today. But he'd have to do so pseudonymously to get out from under the weight of his subsequent years of bias.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:06 PM on December 28, 2005


can't belive this got 260 comments.

I'd blame it on the inadvertant mention of Hitler, only it had all begun to go wrong a couple of dozen posts before that.
posted by Artw at 4:09 PM on December 28, 2005


That it appeared in a satire publication is not compelling evidence that it is itself a work of satire or that the author is not in fact a big honking racist.

How about the rather obvious overstatement and ridiculously purple prose (and I know from reading that O'Rourke is capable of conventional writing, whetever one might think of his politics)? It's open to debate whether its's failed satire or not, but I'd say it's fairly obvious to all except themorally narcissistic and reflexively indignant that the intent was satirical.

Basic premise: if it writes like a troll, and reappears like a troll, then it is a troll. Sorry if you don't see yourself the way others see you.

So, now you speak for all others? I'll tell the rest of MeFi they can pack it in then. Look for all I know you might be a swell guy and an excellent dancer, but from our few encounters you strike me as one of the people I describe above. Hasn't stopped me from actually engaging with what you say rather than dismissing it because of who's saying it.
posted by jonmc at 4:15 PM on December 28, 2005


So, now you speak for all others

But Jon, you ascribe innate racism to all others, whether they are racist or not.
posted by Rothko at 4:18 PM on December 28, 2005


I'm pretty sure I'm speaking for everyone else out there when I say: A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:22 PM on December 28, 2005


But Jon, you ascribe innate racism to all others, whether they are racist or not.

I ascribe prejudice to all (including myself), it need not be race-based. We're all only human, as they say. Some of us acknowledge it nd make effort to keep it from a ffecting our actions, others not so much. Those others need to be turned around if possible.
posted by jonmc at 4:23 PM on December 28, 2005


See you're just not making sense to me, you may have a good argument but you're not conveying it very well. I don't understand where this whole "racist work/racist author" comes into play. You're saying "If a work is racist then so is the author. FAtW is a racist work, P.J. O'Rourke is a racist."

Right okay, I'm following you there, nothing wrong with that. Except it really has nothing to do with what we're talking about. The disagreement is that I believe that FAtW is satire and you believe it is a racist work. It's absurd to believe it's not satire. You're totally ignoring the author's long string of satirizing and National Lampoon's long line of publishing satirical articles. In fact you're saying to ignore the fact that in light of the large bodies of satirical work of both parties this is the sole exception. Neither have published racist works in their entire histories except this one incident.

Just because it is not obvious to you does not, again, turn the work from satire to racism. Some of Jonathan Swift's political satire is lost on me, that does not mean it is not satire. This is a publication that at the time was the voice of WASP baby boomers. They were making fun of their parents stiff lip racism. The "We're not racist, we just don't let Jews in our country club." It was a different breed of racism and when taken to the ridulous as in this piece, it is shown for what it is. We're trying to explain to you why this is satire and not racism since you obviously don't have this background information. I hate to keep going back to Swift but if you had no concept of history and read A Modest Proposal you'd be shocked. Then someone comes along and tells you the real deal, you're still saying "Well he wants to kill babies! I don't care!" P.J. O'Rourke is not on par with Jonathan Swift, but that doesn't make it any less satirical. It can be bad satire but still satire.
posted by geoff. at 4:27 PM on December 28, 2005


I defy anyone who isn't dangerously overmedicated to see the 'Australians' quote here as seriously meant. I suppose it was O'Rourke's intention to actually persuade his readership that Australian children under 9 years of age are compelled to drink ten and three-quarter imperial gallons of beer daily?

It's preposterous because everyone knows that Australia is on the metric system.

(And before you say it, they went metric retroactively, so it doesn't matter when the article was published, nobody in Australia could ever have consumed an Imperial anything, at any time, by Imperial Decree*. Except during the dreamtime, when on walkabout. And not even then.)

(Also, the earth's core is penguin-shaped. Prove me wrong!)

* Later reaffirmed by Metric Decree
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:29 PM on December 28, 2005


Actually jon, in your 3rd comment you wrote: "Aren't we all?" (racist)

So are you ascribing prejudice, or racism? It seems both based on your comments in this thread.
posted by parallax7d at 4:29 PM on December 28, 2005


This is not "dumb", despite what Sweetjesus would claim. That he has been utterly unable to make a cogent argument throughout the entirety of this thread, would ,I think, imply the opposite.

Solid-One-Love, a one man army in the war against satire.

This thread is both fucking hilarious and profoundly sad at the same time. Maybe we need to start teaching basic humor skills in schools so people like sol will have the ability to live in the real world, or at the very least teach them how to use the word "jurisprudence" correctly (exactly which division of law deals with satire again?)

Am I being sarcastic? Oh lord, I don't even know any more. I'll let sold-one-love let me know...

I have explained adequately why I don't think this is what he was doing, upthread. In brief, he doesn't have the skill to do so, so he didn't.

You lack the reasoning skills of plankton. I've held conversations Mina birds that had more profound things to say about race and humor than you do. I hack up phlegm that writes more eloquently...

It's just sad.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:30 PM on December 28, 2005


The "Nigger" article which was troll-posted from the anonymous account back before Matt opened up new user signups, and which was promptly removed once it was noticed, was much funnier than this.
posted by localroger at 4:30 PM on December 28, 2005


parallax7d: just for the sake of clarity, I am ascribing prejudice to all. Racial prejudice is merely the most common.
posted by jonmc at 4:32 PM on December 28, 2005


I know the arguments, and I consider "borderline retarded" and "anti-intelligent to be polite and geneous descriptions of their arguments. In addition, I was not taking potshots at Dios; just his arguments.

You'll reject out of hand the reasoned and supported opinions of experts in the field regarding the absence of a biological and genetic basis for classification by race, and yet you steadfastly refuse to recognize that an article written by a professional satirist in a satire magazine is, in fact, satire. Huh. Interesting.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:36 PM on December 28, 2005


from Avenue Q

Christmas Eve:
Yes, I know.
The Jews have all
The money
And the whites have all
The power.
And I'm always in taxi-cab
With driver who no shower!

Princeton:

Me too!

Kate Monster:
Me too!

Gary Coleman:
I can't even get a taxi!

All:
Everyone's a little bit racist
It's true.
But everyone is just about
As racist as you!
If we all could just admit
That we are racist a little bit,
And everyone stopped being
So PC
Maybe we could live in -
Harmony!

Christmas Eve:
Evlyone's a ritter bit lacist!
posted by ronv at 4:38 PM on December 28, 2005


Metafilter: Trollish-Americans
posted by redteam at 4:41 PM on December 28, 2005


you know nothing of my life, so you're in no position to call me insular racist

You can't have it both ways jon.

Wow. I'll keep this around to sober me up when I have fantasies of moving to Canada.

I can arrange to have an auto mailer configured to send out a reminder at regular intervals.
posted by zarah at 4:43 PM on December 28, 2005


you know nothing of my life, so you're in no position to call me insular racist

You can't have it both ways jon.


zarah: I never denied that I am prejudiced, too. (you altered the passage you quoted). I was basically being accused of holding my beliefs on this subject due to living an insular life, which the accuser is in no position to know about. Two different things.
posted by jonmc at 4:46 PM on December 28, 2005


The Robert Lowell of metafilter has spoken.
posted by bardic at 4:50 PM on December 28, 2005


I've never read Mr. Lowell either although I know he's a poet. If you're trying to insult me, at least be clear rather than showing off your reading list.
posted by jonmc at 4:52 PM on December 28, 2005


amazing what little is required for 250 plus posts.

cartoon drawings + racist stereotypes (as old as the hills) add jonmc + a few white liberal elitist types . . . and kazzam! hours of fun talking shit.

i love reading jonmc's shifting arguments.
i thought the post was funny btw.
but of course i let myself know why its funny. so i'm in on the joke you see . . . other wise i might not understand , i could find myself laughing for very wrong reasons. and that would be a shame. so for the record i think . . .

They [the french] take filthy pictures of each other with cheap cameras, wash nothing but their cunts, fight with their feet, and perform sex acts with their faces.

. . . is a funny statement , because it has no basis in fact , pure farce. if it were to have a basis in fact, i would not laugh because to do so would make me as worthless as jonmc , who is known as "stinky" to the other male boarders at the home he lives in.

thank the lord i'm able to control myself when exposed to jokes made at others expenses. being in control , thus, I'm in a unique position to avoid humor directed at people that are different in ways I'm barely willing to admit to myself. it is in this way , that i am able to ward off bothersome ideas. i have learned , that laughter is the best medicine. except when it is highly inappropriate. i have my puritan forebears to thank for that. oh yes.
posted by nola at 4:53 PM on December 28, 2005


"a few white liberal elitist types" Wow like we didn't need ANYONE else. we are so distructive us a few white liberal elitist types, some of us aren't white, liberal or elitist, ... Discuss!
posted by Elim at 4:56 PM on December 28, 2005


i would not laugh because to do so would make me as worthless as jonmc , who is known as "stinky" to the other male boarders at the home he lives in.

actually, they know me as "pickly" due to my fondness for preserving body parts that rot off me in brine.


i love reading jonmc's shifting arguments.


actually they haven't shifted at all. people's response to them has.
posted by jonmc at 4:58 PM on December 28, 2005


*read above post, tongue firmly in cheek*
posted by nola at 5:01 PM on December 28, 2005


Yes, I altered the passage because that's what I was thinking when you (indirectly) accused me, someone you don't know, of being a racist. Yet you then took offense at being judged as insular, saying we don't know you. That was kinda cake-and-eat-it-too. I heartily agree we are all prejudiced, every last one of us, but prejudice and racism are not mutually exclusive, and many prejudices are pretty darn harmless.

actually they haven't shifted at all. people's response to them has.

It's more like we were keeping up with your clarifications. You initially commented that we're all racists, but you really meant something more broad & then later said so. You could have been more precise at the outset, and less blurty, heading off the pile on/misunderstandings.
posted by zarah at 5:38 PM on December 28, 2005


i4fo8g5gd.gif
posted by moonbird at 5:47 PM on December 28, 2005


Oddly enough, this thread is more satirical than the actual post.
posted by Football Bat at 5:58 PM on December 28, 2005


You all couldn't resist it could you? Like lambs to the slaughter.
posted by Joeforking at 6:05 PM on December 28, 2005


Certainly an interesting glimpse into the views of another generation. I've been indoctrinated enough to get most of the jokes, I doubt my kids will. Is O'Rourke racist? No doubt. Was it meant as satire? Perhaps, but he blew it by not including Americans. Do we all harbour a minimum level of prejudice? Of course, otherwise we'd be as extinct as the dodo. Is it something we can deal with? For most, I'd say yes, for some I'd say no. Does having an intelligent opinion mean that johnmc is above bullying a thread? Hey look there's a dead horse spinning on that broken record!
posted by furtive at 6:16 PM on December 28, 2005


Not bullying, just clarifying a consistently misunderstood opinion.
posted by jonmc at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2005


For what its worth, Patrick Jake O’Rourke and I were pretty close friends for about three years ( sharing houses, etc.) just before he hit it big at The Lampoon. Maybe I missed something, but I never saw any indication that he was a racist.

PJ is, and always has been, first and foremost a writer and, secondly, an entertainer. That’s really all you need to know about him. He was a hippie-activist because it was fun and because it was a rich source of material. When that played out for him he moved on to the Republican schtick. If I were a betting man I wouldn’t wager on his sticking with the GOP if things get much uglier for them.
posted by Huplescat at 6:46 PM on December 28, 2005


I started reading the first couple dozen comments, skipped a few hundred, and read the last dozen. Amusingly enough, the argument I saw started in the first few comments is still pretty much covering the same space. For what it's worth, I agree with both Geoff and jonmc to various degrees. This was very funny stuff, and it was the kind of ironic thing where you make fun of something while wallowing in it pornographically...Starship Troopers comes to mind.

Yes, we're all racist to some degree. I laughed hardest at the parts closest to my own pedigree because I feel those guilty liberal inhibitions. Oh well, I am comfortable with my discomfort, but I know it's not rational. This was funny stuff (to me), and PJ probably didn't mean it. If you get all sanctimonious about it, then he's succeeded in exactly what he intended. Demanding equal time/treatment for Americans (furtive) is totally missing the point. That kind of careful fairmindedness would ruin the whole exercise!
posted by Edgewise at 6:58 PM on December 28, 2005


Maybe he isn't a racist and maybe he's been funny in the past. I don't know. I found it offensive but maybe you didn't. But one thing is certain--that was not funny.
posted by sacrilicious at 7:02 PM on December 28, 2005


I found it offensive but maybe you didn't. But one thing is certain--that was not funny.

Funny someone named sacrilicious would be that easy to offend. I don't think there was anything certain about whether or not it was funny...just whether or not you thought so. Actually, I found it offensive and funny.
posted by Edgewise at 7:05 PM on December 28, 2005


Demanding equal time/treatment for Americans (furtive) is totally missing the point. That kind of careful fairmindedness would ruin the whole exercise!

Quite apart from which, he gives Ireland the same treatment he gives everybody else, and in his writing he has shown that he does identify to some extent with his Irish ancestry.

But one thing is certain--that was not funny.

Yeah. Cogently argued. Because 300 comments in, we all still believe that baldly-stated opinions are absolute and incontrovertable. Personally I think the article fails on grounds of being too tolerant and generous. And if you disagree with me, you're wrong and a stupid-head. (Hey, that's the level of discourse here and I wouldn't want to be an elitist by rising above it.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:21 PM on December 28, 2005


NO U.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:27 PM on December 28, 2005


I think most of us here are intelligent enough that we know whether something is overtly racist, or whether the satire is an attempt to get people to laugh at themselves. I certainly was triggered by some of the jabs, but c'mon, it's not like it's being waved around as something that's true.I'm a bleeding heart PC liberal and all, but we need humor in order to step back and see just how ridiculous racism, classism and the like are.
posted by moonbird at 7:34 PM on December 28, 2005


"Klang, thank you for raising the level of debate. It is lovely to know that in any thread, the likelihood will rise to 1:1 that someone will decide that my opinions are so offensive as to warrant such a response. Bravo. I keep telling people that I never throw the first punch, and folks like you keep proving me right."

Would you like me to? You know, bring in that internet meme? I mean, you really seem wounded here, and perhaps you require the paramedics of the waaaaaaahmublance. Perforce, there can be no other retort to a dipshit martyr, soiled-one-love, aside from perhaps making fun of the user name.
I know, I know, I saw that MeTa thread where you said that you'd retaliate if your "honor" was besmirched. But your rage knows no Midol; your attacks know no tampons. You will fight until you have avenged yourself against the mighty satire, and left it dead in your eyes.
For clearly, anything that argues that you should address the French as froggy-frog frogs must evidently be serious, grave even. Perhaps you could honor Yorick with soliloquies as you bravely face off against the racism of the '60s. Maybe you have some choice words for Dick Gregory too, ones that might run from your fingers to the screen like fruit juice from his ass.
Squeeze it out, Solid, squeeze it like the tremendous whirring juicer of truth, spitting ass-pulp into the dangerous little glass of racial satire.
And why do they give you such small juice glasses anyway? Always jewing you out of your juice.
posted by klangklangston at 7:44 PM on December 28, 2005


Always jewing you out of your juice.


hehe, thats funny shit right there. humor. . . its about context, don't you think.
posted by nola at 8:06 PM on December 28, 2005


klangklangston, what are you on?
posted by Edgewise at 8:06 PM on December 28, 2005


ovaltine.
posted by jonmc at 8:22 PM on December 28, 2005


Monju writes:

You'll reject out of hand

I never reject anything out of hand. I always consider something carefully before rejecting it.

Klang tugs out:

Would you like me to? You know, bring in that internet meme?

You don't have to. It's been obvious for a very long time -- almost certainly even to your parents and whatever other grown-ups who will talk to you -- that you're retarded.

And SweetJesus, you've broken so many ironymeters in this thread I'd be surprised if nobody sent you a bill, kid. Seriously. It takes skill to be more fucking stupid than Klang. You must have help reaching your drool-proof keyboard, but even I can't figure out how your keepers could find someone that would take the job.

I mean, obviously you an't understand simple sentences in English, so there'd be no point in me breaking down what I've explained to you time and again into shorter pieces, much in the same way that this post in particular isn't really for you, but is really for the actual, y'know, human beings reading the thread, as opposed to whatever reject from last week's Turing Test you've aspired to be.

I'd point you to an elementary primer on logic, but I worry that you'd eat it, and if you got a tummy-ache -- or whatever passes for a digestive system in your peculiar fungal species -- I might feel guilty about inadvertantly harming a lower order of life.

When whatever offspring you have come to full bloom, having budded asexually from your slack-jawed form (I assume with all of your own 'memories', such as they are), and their children after them, down unto however many generations is takes for them to achieve sentience (if not sapience), I look forward to seeing them come to play with the big boys.

Until then, I suggest to your handlers: set the prods to 8 and lock his door, because he's only hurting himself.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:22 PM on December 28, 2005


I mean, obviously you an't understand simple sentences in English.

Tee hee...
posted by SweetJesus at 8:42 PM on December 28, 2005


In this recent interview, O'Rourke describes his working day: "Well, there's lunch, and a dead spot in the afternoon when I attend to paperwork. Then, later on, I get a second wind. Four typed pages a day is the quota. That's about 1,000 words. I never yet heard of a writer who doesn't work similar hours and have a quota requirement."

IMHO, any writer who "has a quota requirement" of words per day, usually writes crap and is a scourge of the planet.
posted by Tarn at 8:45 PM on December 28, 2005


Yeah, call out that typo, SJ. If that's the best you could come up with, son, I overestimated you -- and I didn't think that was possible.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:49 PM on December 28, 2005


i think if we were all just sitting around a bonfire passing a bottle of "jack" around, we would be a tad nicer to each other. hell we might could even enjoy each others personalities. allot gets lost in translation. not all of us are what you would call "writers" or "spellers" or "grammers" for that matter. but i bet most of you are good guys, or gals as the case may be.
posted by nola at 9:07 PM on December 28, 2005


It's just you think you'd be more careful with your callouts... Seemed a touch Freudian to me, no?

Nice prose, by the way. It's awfully flowery.

Heh.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:14 PM on December 28, 2005


jonmc, I don't think any amount of discussion is likely to dissuade you from your self-sealing hypothesis, but I do have two questions for you, if you would permit me:
1) What does offend you? Other than the hypocrisy you see all around you with your special motivation-piercing x-ray vision?

2) What would you have to hear, see, or read in order to change your view on the advisability of using racist stereotypes as a form of humor?
posted by Cassford at 9:16 PM on December 28, 2005


does anyone have p j o'roarke's email? ... they should drop a note to him ... he'd be laughing his ass off at this

did it ever occur to anyone that the main motivation of pj was to just stir up shit by shocking people? ... national lampoon did it all the time ... often, as in this piece, at the expense of whatever humor and satire they were capable of producing ... people weren't laughing because it was funny ... they were laughing because it made them defensive or outraged or nervous ... or because they thought, "i can't believe they got away with printing THAT"

it wore pretty thin as time went on ... it was significant in the 60s i guess, because it was just another way to wind up the straights ... but winding up the straights as a justification for satire or art was never that significant or meaningful and it's all played out

in short, it's just another damn troll, people ... the whole national lampoon crew was quite trollish ... pretty good, too ... 35 years later, they're still getting bites

the humor isn't in the article ... it's how people react to it

so, if i really was going to buy the world a coke, how much do you think it would cost me? ... would i get a discount? ... would i have to give everyone singing lessons for that perfect harmony thingie?

anybody wanna chip in?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:16 PM on December 28, 2005


300 posts? What the hell is wrong with you people?
posted by Ndwright at 10:12 PM on December 28, 2005


Hi, I'm back, what did I miss?
posted by Scoo at 11:04 PM on December 28, 2005


Our casseroles do not talk funny!
posted by jiawen at 2:17 AM on December 29, 2005


jonmc loves black people. news at 11.
posted by mek at 3:56 AM on December 29, 2005


Upon reflection, it seems to me that satire is intended to expose or force recognition of a wrong. Hyperbole, irony, and so on do not make something satirical. One has to be using those techniques to try to attack or critique something or someone.

So, how do we know when someone is being satirical and when they are actually just going for a cheap laugh or, worse, just being hateful and mean?

If the satirical merits of works like Twain's Hucklebery Finn are still being debated, it seems to me that the line is blurry. It reminds me of the line between art and pornography -- everyone draws the line in a slightly different place.
posted by Cassford at 5:43 AM on December 29, 2005


everyone draws the line in a slightly different place

While others won't hesitate to draw it straight across your face.
posted by furtive at 5:59 AM on December 29, 2005


Racism is real. People hating others whom they can easily identify as "different." That is racism.

Race is a social construct. Imagine lemurs having different "races." Or elephants, or mice, etc.. Genus, species ... uh ... race? I don't think so.
posted by nofundy at 6:29 AM on December 29, 2005


Metafiler: the others who won't hesitate to draw it straight across your face.
posted by Football Bat at 6:34 AM on December 29, 2005


1) What does offend you?

Cruelty. Phoniness. Sanctimony. Picking on the weak.

2) What would you have to hear, see, or read in order to change your view on the advisability of using racist stereotypes as a form of humor?

Cassford, we've been round and round on this, but just about all humor is based in stereotypes of some form. If we wanted to trim out any joke that might possibly offend someone we'd be left with puns and knock knock jokes. Most people understand that there is joke world and there is the real world.

jonmc loves black people. news at 11.

mek still prissy little know it all. no film neccessary.
posted by jonmc at 6:36 AM on December 29, 2005


so, if i really was going to buy the world a coke, how much do you think it would cost me?

You'd also have to factor in the cost of all the ice.
posted by jonmc at 6:48 AM on December 29, 2005


ice can be more expensive in areas too, and shipping, don't get me started about shipping. Lets just assume more than we have in our collective spare change.
posted by Elim at 6:56 AM on December 29, 2005


I got $1.20 in change to forward to this endeavor
posted by Elim at 6:56 AM on December 29, 2005


jonmc: George Spigott: Twain could be anti-bigotry against blacks yet still harbor it against Indians. (This is predicated on the quote offered being his, of course)
Again, know your topic: Consider his wonderful essay on James Fenimoore Cooper, which gets much mileage out of how stupid and "noble" Cooper has to make his indians for his whites to end up on top.

Aside: Over 300 comments on this, and mostly about jonmc? Weird.
posted by lodurr at 7:06 AM on December 29, 2005


"You don't have to. It's been obvious for a very long time -- almost certainly even to your parents and whatever other grown-ups who will talk to you -- that you're retarded."

I give you Shakespeare and Dick Gregory, and this is the best you can come back with? You know that story 'bout the one-legged man in the ass-kicking contest? You're just gonna huff and puff yourself outta breath runnin' back and forth, so don't even bother tryin' to get anything.
C'mon, spoiled-nut-love, you're the one holdin' forth on the axiomatic nature of racism! You're the one who brooks no irony! Surely (don't call you Shirley?) you got something better than "and also U R retardeds!" Reach deep into your white soul and avenge yourself sevenfold!
Or ain't you got the racial pride to represent your cracker ass with something a little more multivalent?
posted by klangklangston at 7:16 AM on December 29, 2005


Tarn: IMHO, any writer who "has a quota requirement" of words per day, usually writes crap and is a scourge of the planet.
I have some news for you: Successful writers without a self-imposed quota are quite, quite rare. You don't crank out novels or daily/weekly columns by writing just when the spirit moves you. It's work; it's a job. The ones who do it well, treat it that way. (For examples, you could consult autobiographical writing by Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, or Kurt Vonnegut, just off the top of my head.)

As for PJ, I used to think the stuff he wrote for Car and Driver was kind of amusing, but mostly he's pretty second-rate. Hell, George Will is more consistently funny (when intending to be -- ok, sometimes also when not) than PJ.

It's also interesting to note that he's had his obsession with nationality-/ethnically-driven humor for that long. I dread when he's on "Wait, Wait...", because I know my humor quotient is cut by at least 50%. (A lot of that is due to the squirm-factor, as I imagine people shifting in their chairs in the studio audience, embarrassed at faking amusement for The Panelist.)

If I can get Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca and Charlie Pierce at the same time, now that's good radio.
posted by lodurr at 7:17 AM on December 29, 2005


"Cassford, we've been round and round on this, but just about all humor is based in stereotypes of some form. "

Sort of, but not the way you're arguing. The two ways humor can be seen to intersect stereotypes are when it either confirms them for the punchline (blacks are lazy, stupid, etc.) or when it upsets them for the punchline ("lazy", "stupid" blacks pulling one over on an officious white man).

For example:

A schoolboy once declared that he couldn't do his geometry. His teacher replied he should be ashamed, for when George Washington was the boy's age, he was already a surveyor. "And when he was your age," the boy responds, "he was President."

versus

A troubled black schoolboy declared that he couldn't do his geometry. His white teacher replied he should be ashamed, for when George Washington was his age, he was already a surveyor. "And when he was your age," the boy responds, "he was President." (Leveen, Lois. "Only When I Laugh: Textual Dynamics of Ethnic Humor).

While there is some stereotyping within each joke, the implied power system is different, and the joke "feels" different with only the inclusion of two words. Further, the joke takes on more contextual meaning based on who tells it. A white man can tell that joke and come across as aggressively critiquing the lack of ambition in black people, or as understanding the power difference implied in the White Teacher/Black Student trope and throwing their lot in with the disenfranchised. Both are based on stereotypes, but one is affirming, one is afflictive, and it's mostly in the tone of voice.

For the FPP, something different is in play. Note how O'Rourke says things like "Probably not people at all. Probably some kind of monkey." If he had left out the "Probably," it would have reflected more aggression and less ignorance. Further, look to the anti-punchline of the joke below it, an obvious parody of a well-known travelling salesman joke in order to make it racist. His butchering of the joke becomes the punchline. (For the people above that missed this satire, I can only assume that you have led fairly humorless lives). The stereotypes that are in play for the humor aren't purely the ones about the other (foreigners), but rather ones about racists.
posted by klangklangston at 7:44 AM on December 29, 2005


I'm late to this party and this probably won't help, but... I think most people's problem with these is that they don't find them funny. Klangstonklangston, I got what you're saying -- I used to enjoy that about the Lampoon in the 70s/80s, it was practically their style book. And in a certain context, this stuff would have been funny in the same dry way as, say, "Das Love Boot". It just doesn't age well, is all. (Poor context, I guess you'd say.)

(What might have been really funny is if he'd butchered the same joke on every page. I was disappointed when I got to page two and discovered he hadn't.)
posted by lodurr at 7:52 AM on December 29, 2005


I give you Shakespeare and Dick Gregory, and this isthe best you can come back with?

Little man, you didn't even give me whatever their assistants' pet monkeys threw in the trash. If you were able to come even half-armed to a battle of wits you might be able to hold your own at recess. But they don't even make instruments sensitive enough to detect what passes for smarts in Klangyland.
posted by solid-one-love at 7:55 AM on December 29, 2005



posted by boaz at 7:59 AM on December 29, 2005


boaz, you sick, sick man, you almost made me fry another keyboard with spit tea....
posted by lodurr at 8:01 AM on December 29, 2005


jonmc loves black people.

And he's got the picture to prove it.

/sorry, I just still cannot believe you posted that.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:04 AM on December 29, 2005


SOL: Just because you don't get it doesn't mean that there wasn't something there. But that's a recurring theme with you, isn't it?
posted by klangklangston at 8:09 AM on December 29, 2005


yeah, probably ill-advised, I was a just a bit peeved at the presumptuousness of the comment that precipitated it. But this thread was doomed to be a clusterfuck from the start (esp. due to the presence of a few users who shall remain nameless), and I shoulda known better.
posted by jonmc at 8:09 AM on December 29, 2005


Maybe you should do a thread on Jim Goad? Link some of his writings, stuff like that. The NL article sort of guaranteed this wasn't going to be a very high level of discourse.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:15 AM on December 29, 2005


I actually have a thread on a celebrity in mind for around lunchtime. He's equally volatile but less controversial than ol' Jimmy (who's writing has been less interesting lately, frankly).
posted by jonmc at 8:17 AM on December 29, 2005


Can't wait. And I agree with you on JG - I suspect all that sex he's (apparently) getting now is sort of dulling the edge of his hate. Or wit.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:23 AM on December 29, 2005


Man, that post just made me sad. Well, that and jonmc displaying his irreversible, inate racism by not just using the old chestnut "I have black friends", but by actually posting a picture of them.

Thumbs up, man. Thumbs up.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:23 AM on December 29, 2005


Klang, that there was nothing there means that there was nothing there. Babies are often proud of their first doodie, too. That said, overestimation of one's own skill is a positive trait and is nearly ubiquitous among successful people. I'm sure it will serve you well, even though whatever it is you do is, I would wager, not worth doing.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:27 AM on December 29, 2005


You'd also have to factor in the cost of all the ice.

i suppose everyone wants straws, too ... give people a little something and all they want is more, more, more
posted by pyramid termite at 8:29 AM on December 29, 2005


Re: Buying the world a Coke.

I've found it is much cheaper simply to teach the world to sing. However, the closer they get to perfect harmony, the higher the price goes.
posted by maxsparber at 8:40 AM on December 29, 2005


Hildegarde, it's a wonderful double bind I was put in. Ignore the commenter and I'm tacitly admitting to living an insular existence, mention non-white people in my life and I'm being exploitative. But I imagine your opinion of me was presetlled long ago, so trust me, my night's sleep will be fine tonight.
posted by jonmc at 8:46 AM on December 29, 2005


SOL: I fail to see what your coprophilia has to do with any of this.
posted by klangklangston at 8:55 AM on December 29, 2005


"(What might have been really funny is if he'd butchered the same joke on every page. I was disappointed when I got to page two and discovered he hadn't.)"

I had kinda hoped for that too. But there was enough there that I got a kick out of it.
posted by klangklangston at 9:06 AM on December 29, 2005


klang : "Milquetoast Counterculture"

Excellent name for a band.
posted by TeamBilly at 9:32 AM on December 29, 2005


distinguo, distinguo, cried the scholar.

Ideological racism: the proposition that people's legal and civil rights can and should be restricted based on their heritage.

BTW: Dios is right. There's no race, only culture. Saying it doesn't make it so. It used to be that race = nation = ethnolinguistic group. But we all saw how that worked out.

Racist !== prejudiced. It ain't a perfect match. Racist is a subset of bigoted.

Though, jon's right about unconscious prejudice / bias. Everybody has reflexive judgements that they can't access verbally. However, it has to play over into antisocial behavior to qualify as bigotry.

The length of this thread demonstrates that a lot of people don't know how to argue in the rationalist tradition. Fine, step out into the parking lot.
posted by warbaby at 10:30 AM on December 29, 2005


Ignore the commenter and I'm tacitly admitting to living an insular existence, mention non-white people in my life and I'm being exploitative.

So, presented with option A, not getting the last word, or option B, exploiting your "friends" on the internets, you picked option B. Is this all a part of your argument that you're a deep-seated racist and there's nothing you care to do about it?
posted by Hildegarde at 10:43 AM on December 29, 2005


Hildegarde: (and this is the last thing I'm going to say in this thread) I don't argue that we should do nothing about racial prejudice, merely that randomly slinging around accusations of "You're a racist!" at people isn't that effective and may even backfire. Investigating other methods can't hurt all that much, could it.

And FWIW, one of the people in that photo sits right next to me. I ran down the content of the thread for him and asked if I could post the picture. he said go right ahead.

But I'm firly sure you have your mind made up about me based on some pixels on a screen. But I won't hold it against you.
posted by jonmc at 10:52 AM on December 29, 2005


Al I know is, Damn Jonmc you look pale, backed and need a shave... and a bit like Robert Downy JR
posted by Elim at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2005


baked I mean.
posted by Elim at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2005


Can we all at least agree that the flamewar between Klingonstown and Satellite-of-Love (or whatever their names are) is a helluva lot funnier than the fpp?
posted by Ndwright at 11:58 AM on December 29, 2005


Well, if this post is going to make it to 400 comments they better be.
posted by boaz at 12:09 PM on December 29, 2005


I myself am friends with saints.
posted by maxsparber at 2:06 PM on December 29, 2005


look i have laughed and cried during our time together here. we have all grown a little i think, and we have been through a lot on this thread, but even though i may have been unkind to jonmc, from time to time. i still like reading him over solid-one-love. hell i think solid-one-love has just bumped paris paramalama out of my list of top 10 most offensive meta posters. its not just what solid-one-love says that makes him sound like a stupid bitch , its how he says it. so . . . thats all i have really . oh also solid-one-love seems really self absorbed as well. yeah. and i don't like him. but i think i'm getting that across. so for what its worth congrats solid-one-love , top of the list , with a bullet. i'll be disregarding you out of hand in future threads here on metafilter.

current list:
1. solid-one-love
2. paris parrammmamam (or what ever)
3. dios
and so on.
posted by nola at 3:59 PM on December 29, 2005


Did someone say something? I didn't think so.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:12 PM on December 29, 2005


Someone probably already said this (it's not like I'm going to read all that crap!) but here's my take. I think the humor value is mainly meant to be taking racist commentary to the extreme to shock with brashness and simultaneously to lampoon racism, and for those reason this thing was funny some of the time. But real viciousness comes through too - I don't think you can write so vehemently without really feeling some of it, and that aspect of it is disturbing.
posted by grumdrig at 12:18 AM on December 30, 2005


Americans: still don't know how to do irony.

Example: P.J. O'Rourke.
posted by Decani at 7:14 AM on December 30, 2005


Hey! PJ O'Rourke used to be funny!

Really? I must have missed that. Was it before he became a snide, smug, supercilious, studiedly unpleasant right-wing gobshite whose entire shtick consists of passing off ugly, lazy bar-room bigotry and xenophobia as humour ? Some other life, perhaps?
posted by Decani at 7:20 AM on December 30, 2005


AMERICANS

Racial Characteristics:

All Americans are incredibly fat, ear-splittingly loud, ugly and stupider than a pile of wet shit. Probably a sub-species of Gorilla whose penises withered and fell off because they evolved guns. None can read, hence all are taught by muppets to think that the world is flat and that Jesus was rich American who liked to kill people in the Middle East. Americans do not wash, are born in trailers, fuck their cousins/parents/pigs and live in a Manhattan apartment block with their five closest friends. Americans are the most ignorant people in the world: when people from Saudi Arabia blew up one of their cities they retaliated by invading a completely different country by mistake. No one, including Americans, likes Americans.

Good Points:

Will probably blow themselves up with nuclear "friendly fire" whenever they get around to starting World War III.

An Anecdote Illustrating Something of the American Character:

An American grows so fat eating his own shit that he can no longer breathe. Everyone laughs as he dies.

Proper Forms of Address:

Mr President, Sir, Boss, Master.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:37 AM on December 30, 2005


I just didn't want you guys to feel left out.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:37 AM on December 30, 2005


Good start. Lemme try? (I stole unapologetically...)

All Americans are incredibly fat, and blunder about loudly screeching in Hawaiian shirts made by child labor. They are mainly concerned with gas prices, processed foods and the desperate, ugly sex that balances their mutual disgust against the chemical-induced arrousal they inject into their loins. They uniformly smell of rancid Kraft singles and baby vomit. While there are Americans that aren't white, they're roundly oppressed if they mind being a token. Despite this, every American has "a black friend" that proves he's not a racist. None can read, hence all are taught by muppets to think that the world is flat and that Jesus was rich American who liked to kill people in the Middle East. Everyone hates Americans, including Americans.

Good Points:

An adherence to "gun rights" means that many of them are shot, sometimes even before breeding.

An Anecdote Illustrating Something of the American Character:

An American grows so fat eating his own shit that he can no longer breathe. He is put in a zoo where people can piss on his head for a quarter.

Proper Forms of Address:

Mr President, Sir, Boss, Master.
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2005


The Indian quote is from a U.S. general who was wiping them out. Could we have an apology please for Mr. Twain's good name?
posted by johngoren at 9:45 AM on December 30, 2005


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