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SHOULD WE HAVE A RIGHT TO LAUGH?

 

 

By Cliff Kincaid

January 2, 2009
NewsWithViews.com

If you think Paul Shanklin’s “Magic Negro” parody is offensive, please take a moment to watch Dave Chappelle’s “Blind White Supremacist” routine and prepare to go through the roof. This episode of adult humor is about a blind black man named Clayton Bigsby who is brought up white and becomes a white supremacist.

Needless to say, Chappelle often takes aim at attitudes about racial matters. He makes liberal use of the “N” word.

“Don’t let the liberal media tell you how to think and feel,” Bigsby proclaims from inside his white hood, his identity protected as he rants and raves before a white audience. “If you have hate in your heart, let it out.” When his hood is finally taken off, exposing Bigsby as black, the head of a white person in the audience explodes. Others express shock or disgust. It’s all about confronting racial stereotypes. It is laugh out loud funny.

I confess that I am the owner of several Paul Shanklin CDs and Dave Chappelle DVDs.

Republican Party chairman candidate Chip Saltsman’s distribution of Shanklin’s “Magic Negro” song, which first aired on the Rush Limbaugh show, has been viewed by some commentators in the liberal media as a disgusting indication of how the Republican Party is insensitive on matters of race. Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has criticized Saltsman for distributing the CD with the song. It is one song among many in the “We Hate the USA” Shanklin parody.

The liberal Washington Post has now weighed in on the controversy, running an editorial praising two of Saltsman’s opponents, Mike Duncan and Saul Anuzis, for agreeing that it was inappropriate to distribute such a song.

But if Duncan and Anuzis can’t stand up to the liberals in the media for concocting this phony controversy, how can they take on the liberals in the Democratic Party?

What if Saltsman had distributed Chappelle’s “Blind White Supremacist” DVD instead of the “Magic Negro” CD? This is far more “offensive” than the “Magic Negro.” The answer may lie in the fact that Shanklin is white and Chappelle is black. Plus, “Chappelle’s Show” airs on Comedy Central, a source of much of the news that amuses the liberals on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In other words, this kind of humor is okay.

Factors such as the color of who is saying what can matter a lot to the liberal intelligentsia. Their peculiar standards of discourse require not a discussion of what is being said, but who is saying it, and why. That is why they are cheerleaders for “hate crimes” legislation, which mandate an inspection of one’s mental condition. But it is the liberal mental condition that bears scrutiny. It used to be called political correctness but in the modern era is also known as Obamamania. It has authoritarian tendencies.

In the liberal world, a white person cannot under any circumstances use the term “Negro,” even if it originated from a Los Angeles Times article by a black liberal, as it did in the “Magic Negro” case. Here’s how the Post put it: “There is a difference between an African American writer using the word ‘Negro’ in an ironic way and the Limbaughs and Saltsmans of the world thinking it is acceptable in common usage.”

Acceptable in common usage? Remember that Saltsman distributed a funny CD. What’s more, the song notes that the term came from the Los Angeles Times article.

The Post, of course, knows all of this. That is why it is so difficult to take the editorial seriously. But it does demonstrate how a major liberal paper intends to use this made-up “controversy” in order to try to influence the direction of the Republican Party. That is what this entire “scandal” is all about. In the privacy of their editorial offices, the liberals must be laughing at the Republicans who take this controversy seriously. Maybe they do have a sense of humor after all.

Can you believe that we have reached the point in this country that a major liberal paper would devote an editorial to the political implications of somebody distributing a funny song?

By the way, the Shanklin “Magic Negro” CD is about Barack Obama but features an Al Sharpton-type character complaining about Obama’s blackness. This is something worth commenting on, not only because Obama is becoming President of the U.S. but because Sharpton continues to be a major figure in the Democratic Party, even making regular appearances on the “conservative” Fox News Channel.

In this context, did you notice that Sharpton was in the news recently? Like many others in the media, Keith Richburg of the Post noted that Caroline Kennedy went out to lunch on December 18 with Sharpton in New York, apparently feeling that she needed his help to get an appointment as Senator.

But like others in the media, Richburg failed to note that Sharpton makes vile and racist accusations against white people, such as the well-documented case of his involvement in helping perpetrate the Tawana Brawley hoax. That’s when a black woman falsely accused white men of raping her. Of course, all of this is forgiven and forgotten by the liberal media. And they do their best to make sure we forget it, too. But you can bet they will never let the public forget that Chip Saltsman distributed a funny CD about the “Magic Negro.” Thanks to people like Newt Gingrich, they will keep hammering this until the Republican National Committee elects it chairman in late January.

Notice that Caroline Kennedy is never asked about the propriety of associating with somebody like Sharpton and seeking his endorsement of her Senate bid. This shows, as if we need more proof, that there is one standard for Democrats and another for Republicans. Democrats can do and say almost anything they want on racial matters. Republicans are supposed to be condemned for distributing funny songs.

What is happening in the brouhaha over Saltsman is another attempt by the liberal media to decide what we can talk, write and even joke about. More than that, it is an effort to determine who is entitled to be chairman of the Republican Party.

But the target is not only Saltsman; it is Limbaugh, who originally aired the parody. If the liberal media can defeat Saltsman’s bid for RNC chairman, on the basis of phony charges, they can then take on the real offender, in their view, who is Limbaugh – and others like him in the conservative talk radio community.

It is tragic and pathetic that a figure like Gingrich would join the media lynch mob. It is another indication that Gingrich is in business now to please the liberal media and take the GOP in a left-wing direction. Perhaps he will change his mind on the matter. He changed his position several times on the Wall Street bailout.

In Chappell’s “Blind White Supremacist” routine, the Bigsby character proclaims, “America is at war with al Qaeda but we’re still losing the war against Al Sharpton.” There’s a lot of truth in that quip. That Sharpton can remain on the political scene as a power broker in the Democratic Party, while a Republican is savaged in the media for distributing a funny CD, illustrates the real problem and danger. The forces on the political left want to give a pass or a blank check to the Sharptons of the world but they want to control what conservatives think, say, write, and even laugh about. Any sensible conservative has to see in all of this the laying of the groundwork for federal measures, including a “Fairness Doctrine,” restricting what can be said or aired in the media.

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The kind of attitude we see in the liberal media should not be pandered to or negotiated with. Nothing can be gained by surrendering to it. It must be confronted and ridiculed. And we should also maintain our sense of humor. Indeed, in the future it would be better to laugh at the media rather than take their phony “scandals” seriously.

© 2009 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved

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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.

Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.

Web Site: www.AIM.org

E-Mail: cliff.kincaid@aim.org


 

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The kind of attitude we see in the liberal media should not be pandered to or negotiated with. Nothing can be gained by surrendering to it. It must be confronted and ridiculed. And we should also maintain our sense of humor.