What responsibilities, if any, do satirists have to their audience? Are they obligated to deliver a message while also making us laugh?
McGRUDER: I don’t think anyone can define the rules for satire. We operate with the message — that’s the easy part. Everyone sits at home with their political opinions. The important thing is making it as funny as possible and knowing when to pull back on the message for the sake of the message…. It’s indulgent to turn off the audience for the sake of preaching — the goal is not to turn off the viewer. … But it can never just [be about the jokes] for me. I’m not like a funny person. I’m not like a comedian. I have things I want to say. … Bill Maher does find a nice balance between the jokes and tackling the serious issues. So few outlets [offer] those issues in a serious fashion.
Do you think a satirist can influence public opinion, be it a viewer or a voter?
McGRUDER: Good satire goes beyond the specific point it’s trying to make and teaches you how to think critically. Even when your favorite cartoonist retires or Colbert wraps it up, you’re not left believing everything they’re telling you. That’s probably what you’re hoping for as a satirist.
So what’s satire’s role at the end of the day?
McGRUDER: It’s still about imparting a message about the lies a society tells itself. We can all live in collective denial. We can lie to ourselves pretty easily. It’s a challenge. Satire is the least commercially viable form of comedy. … There really is a distaste for being preached at. People have a very low tolerance for it — newspaper audiences have a way higher tolerance for it than others. But it’s tough on TV.
by Latoya Peterson
I am opening a separate thread on this because it is difficult not to ignore. (I just did not want it discussed while discussing the New Yorker cover.)
So, while at a Obama fundraiser, Bernie Mac decided to perform his usual schtick*:
Speaking to about 600 donors at a downtown hotel, Mac joked that he did not understand why Obama would want to run for president.
“I’m proud of him because politics is dirty, especially with Republicans,” he said. “People like rumors. They are going to say things like, you know, ‘You was in the club with Lil’ Kim and you and Kanye West got in a fist fight.’”
Mac went on to riff about hope and offering himself as a running mate, but then added that the campaign might not want him because “I cuss,” which he did, according to a pool report of the event.
“Being a president is tough ’cause you’re not just running the country. You got to run your family too,” Mac said. “Having a black first lady is different. You’re still going have to do the dishes and the laundry and all that…’You got to pick up the kids. You didn’t pick up the kids?’ ‘I just came from Korea, talking about nuclear weapons.’ ‘You were on Air Force One and you couldn’t stop to pick up the kids?’”
by Racialicious Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie
In this clip from YouTube, we see Gitmo the Puppet’s first appearance, as well as a subsequent appearance. In Gitmo’s first appearance, he’s introduced as a bearded (and presumably Muslim) detainee of Guantanamo Bay with a fakey “Middle Eastern” accent. (He is also an obvious relative of Elmo, for those of you who can’t see the video. – Ed.) Gitmo pleads, “Tell Gitmo’s family Gitmo is aliiiive.”
In the subsequent appearance, Gitmo appears, calling for the execution (and therefore, according to Jon Stewart, martyrdom) of Sheikh Khalid Mohammed and other defendants who admit to planning terrorist activities. When Stewart questions him about his intentions, Gitmo says, “You can’t handle the truth” and then ululates. In retaliation, Stewart “waterboards” him and tells him not to complain or he’ll go back to the “untrained puppy room.” Cut to Gitmo being dragged around by a dog and wailing, “I’m just a cab driverrrrrrr…” Continue reading
by Latoya Peterson
So, while moderating the Interracial Dating with a Vengeance thread, I was doing my best to save the kittens* when someone brought up Esther Ku.
Alvin, writing on the Hyphen blog, says:
What kind of insecure person makes a career basically being self-racist or self-deprecating and saying how much you hate yourself, who you are, and your family?
He points to this Boston Globe article which gives a summary of Ku’s act:
The Korean-American comedian started with the words, ”I don’t really like being Asian, but I’m kind of stuck with it.” That, at least, received a few titters. But when she continues, ”The only good thing about being Asian, really, is it helps you get into college,” the crowd stays silent. It goes downhill from there as she mines the subject of Caucasians adopting Asian babies.
”Nigerian babies cost like 25 cents a day,” says Ku. ”Asian babies cost a lot more because they pay off.”
As the crowd erupts in pained groans and a smattering of uncomfortable laughs, Ku innocently asks, ”Did I go too far?”
by Latoya Peterson
I am generally amused by Family Guy, and tend to watch it if it is on television that day though I generally don’t bother to tune in to new episodes. So, when I heard the black character Cleveland was getting a spin-off show, I was intrigued…and wondering what the hell they would do because I find Cleveland kind of boring. I would much rather have watched a Quagmire spin-off.
So then I look at the promo still on Spill:
Did anyone else’s what-the-fuck-o-meter just go off? Continue reading
Okay, y’all – who saw the movie over the weekend?
If you did not see the movie because you found the first H & K too sexist, I am here right now to tell you that you made the right choice because the second movie is even worse. (Though, you do get to see three different men breakdown over their respective lost loves and one of the biggest misogynists get their comeuppance.)
If you have not yet seen the movie, please do not read any further because here there be spoilers. Continue reading
by Latoya Peterson
Living Single recently popped back into my mind after I overheard a woman on her cellphone loudly telling a friend “I’ll be right there, but first I need to go home and change my wig!”
That one little comment uttered on the metro brought back one of my favorite Regine lines of all time, after she broke up with the toy maker guy – “Of course the doll is me! It comes with five interchangeable wigs!”*
And with that, I found myself scouring the internet looking for information on Living Single. I remember watching the reruns around 1996 and 1997 – I was in middle school at the time. Wondering if my memories of the show withstood the test of time, I watched a few episodes on YouTube - and I was pleased to find out that the show has gotten better with age, now that I understand a lot more of the references. Continue reading
by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson
Stuff White People Like has been linked by about 20 of the blog feeds I read on the regular. That’s saying a lot. I finally decided to go check it out to see what I was missing.
Reading the blog with my boyfriend, I was amused – until my boyfriend cracked “You know, you like half of this stuff too. By SWPL standards, you could be white.”
Sure, I like yoga, tea, wine, and Mos Def like anyone else. And I love having black friends. But I scored 27 out of 84 on the Stuff White People Like for a 32% whiteness factor. Looks like I don’t have to trade in my race card just yet!
I talked to Hae about this, and she pointed out that I’m Asian anyway. Which, again, I do protest. Why can’t I just be a black person with diverse interests? Why do I have to magically transform into different ethnicities all the time?
Luckily for me, there are a few other sites to check my “other race” quotient.
In the same vein as SWPL, Stuff Asian People Like serves up semi-stereotypical notes on a culture from those who live it each day. From Plush Toys and Purikura to Honda Civics and Chopsticks, I was also amused at this site.
However, there is one crucial difference between SAPL and SWPL – Asian people have more than a few things to be pissed about. So, SAPL occassionally becomes a platform to combat ignorance. Exhibit A – The Anime Post:
WE LOVE ANIME! It is part of the asian culture. We embrace it. The multi-billion dollar industry has stretched from the minuscule islands of Japan all the way to the comic book shops of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. However, there are many types of anime lovers: those who try to be asian, and those who are full-blooded asians. Being white doesn’t make someone conservative. Being African American doesn’t make someone a professional basketball player. Likewise, being an anime lover does not automatically make you asian.