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Author Topic: damage control for Seinfeld's Kramer
Geneva
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posted 22 November 2006 08:13 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
unbelievable outburst by loopy Kramer actor:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/22/arts/television/22rich.html?ref=arts

During the appearance [on the Letterman show], Mr. Richards tried to explain his actions at a Los Angeles comedy club on Friday night when he railed at several African-American audience members for heckling his act, using the most racially charged epithets, to a point where many audience members walked out and he himself simply dropped his microphone and walked off the stage.

Mr. Richards became a last-minute guest on the Letterman show only through the intervention of Jerry Seinfeld, his friend and co-star from their days on the now-classic comedy “Seinfeld.”

Mr. Seinfeld, who had long been scheduled as a guest on the show Monday night, made an appeal to the show’s bookers and producers early yesterday afternoon to set up a satellite interview in which Mr. Richards could apologize publicly for the racially offensive remarks.

[ 22 November 2006: Message edited by: Geneva ]


From: um, well | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Noise
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posted 22 November 2006 01:24 PM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
CNN has a link to video version of this... Someone had a cell phone in there and recorded the event.

He got heckled and completely snapped.


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Lego Guy
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posted 22 November 2006 10:49 PM      Profile for Lego Guy        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michael Richards said he 'lost it' so that's why he went on a racist tirade.

Whenever someone has to resort to racial or sexist or fat jokes in an argument then that means that person has lost the argument.

Kramer not funny.


From: Edmonton | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
scooter
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posted 23 November 2006 05:25 AM      Profile for scooter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If you look closely that wasn't Michael Richards it was Mel Gibson! Amazing what they can do with makeup these days.
From: High River | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
jrose
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posted 23 November 2006 11:08 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess he's finally getting the publicity he's missed out on in the past few years.
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bigcitygal
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posted 24 November 2006 06:14 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just came across this article that looks at the way that the recent OJ book/interview was taken up in the media compared with the Michael Richards' racist rant.

quote:

Of course, the O.J. indignation is driven in large part by racial indignation: the idea that a black man may have killed a white woman and gotten away with it. That's a violation of decorum and social law that white America cannot tolerate, whatever the findings of a court — and that fact sealed O.J.'s fate long before the announcement and subsequent disappearance of "If I Did It."

For the record, a black man — albeit a rich and famous black man — prevailing against the odds and against history in the criminal justice system didn't make me feel smug or triumphal as an African American. It only made me feel surprised. I do feel, however, that the decision was a rare instance of equal treatment, if not justice.

Unlike justice, equal treatment is often a morally neutral idea that applies not only to worthy things like jobs and education, but to crime and punishment as well. O.J. at least forced us all to consider that. Though in the current debacle more of us can agree that O.J. got what he deserved.

snip

Richards, known for years as the lovable eccentric Kramer on "Seinfeld," had either a breakdown or a prolonged moment of truth during a stand-up performance when he began talking back to some black patrons during his act.

Richards repeatedly called them "nigger," and his insults didn't stop at the word. Richards told the hecklers that "50 years ago, we'd have you upside down" and sodomized with a fork.

To me, he sounded less like a stand-up comic grasping at ways to save his act than a man imbued with white privilege, enraged that some black folks had dared to criticize him.


LA Times The O.J.-Kramer Discrepancy


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 24 November 2006 06:27 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More on Michael Richards, Seinfeld, and the all-white New York City sitcom:

quote:

Seeing Michael Richards have his racial meltdown in the Laugh Factory, and then make things worse on Letterman was, to me, a case of chickens coming home to roost.

Don’t get me wrong: I love “Seinfeld,” adore Kramer’s character, and think that Michael Richards is a comedic genius.

But I harbor no illusions: The construct for “Seinfeld,” like so many other comic teleplays and films, is a monochromatic world where White People are central, and people of color — if they appear at all — are simply used as accessories, as added “color” for a scene.


Are you really that surprised?


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 24 November 2006 07:19 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The best line in that blog is "We never find the truth [about ourselves - N.Beltov] until we get cornered."
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
TemporalHominid
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posted 24 November 2006 08:47 PM      Profile for TemporalHominid   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by bigcitygal:
More on Michael Richards, Seinfeld, and the all-white New York City sitcom:

Are you really that surprised?


all- white? I didn't think Jewish people were considered white. Larry David white? Jerry Seinfeld white? Jason Alexander white? How did this happen?


From: Under a bridge, in Foot Muck | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 24 November 2006 09:04 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How the Jews became white folks and What That Says About Race in America
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bigcitygal
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posted 25 November 2006 06:46 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
NRK: posted less than 20 minutes after TH's rather ingenuous question. Damn, you're good!

And TH? That book was published in 1998. You're so behind the times, dude. Also, if you actually read the link maybe you'd have something more constructive to add.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 25 November 2006 11:11 AM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I watched the rant by Richards and it was very offensive and without foundation. I read through some of the links and related opinions but found the comparison to his role on Seinfeld to his personal life tenuous at best. Performing a character on a show does not make you a racist and one has literally nothing to do with the other. Richards was angry, and used language that was there inside him as a person. He didn't rant back at the guy making comments about the fact that he was a guy, a local, an artistic neanderthal, or anything else. His attack was direct. Anger does not excuse what he did and it was racist pure and simple. He didn't veer off on another style of insult but instead went deeper into it. (going from the "N" word to the fork reference). That was a telling sign for me.
From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 25 November 2006 12:39 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess to POC this is yet another reminder(not that they need another) that they are never safe from racist assault. It is also my understanding that the real reason this was remarkable was that it was a celebrity saying this in a very public forum. From what I'm told it is not rare for this level or type of anger to surface if a white person feels they are challenged or threatened by a person of POC. It also doesn't take that much for this stuff to come to the surface.

What is also disappointing but not surprising is the way in which this will be individualized. People will either excuse Richards on the basis of a temporary out of character moment or they will condemn him as racist. What is unlikely to be acknowledged is how common this sort of behaviour is and how these actions are the result of beliefs that are deeply embedded in the psyche of white North Americans. I don't think many North Americans will be saying "Holy shit that could have been me, I also have all that shit inside me and if I don't acknowledge it it could come out at any moment!" I don't mean to suggest that Richards should not be responsible for his comments, but I also feel it is too easy to condemn someone else while ignoring our own shit.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
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posted 25 November 2006 12:44 PM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
right, mimeguy, his role on Seinfeld has nothing to do with this outburst, which was his responsibility alone,
nor does the ethnic makeup of the characters on that show have any role -- any more than the casting of The Cosby Show can be seen as the source of Bill Cosby's outspoken private views; no relation

too bad when identity politics is used to obscure private citizen Richards' personal liability here

[ 25 November 2006: Message edited by: Geneva ]


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 25 November 2006 12:49 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
too bad when identity politics is used to obscure private citizen Richards' personal liability here

So Richards is responsible for racism that is embedded in every North American psyche as well as its systematic expression in daily life. well at least he has a talent for spreading evil then.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
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posted 25 November 2006 01:10 PM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
uh, no

exactly my point


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 25 November 2006 02:54 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know or at least believe I know what your point is: That Richards action is one of an individual and disconnected to anything else.

I disagree I believe although he is responsible for his own action his action is a manifestation of ongoing systemic racsim and 500 years of white supremism. The act is neither rare or unusual within this context. As a colleague of mine said "It takes nothing for the N-word to come out. You bump into someone in the street and it's 'watch where you're going fucking N...'

I don't think anything important is learned if we just say "Richards is a bad man who said bad things"


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bigcitygal
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posted 26 November 2006 12:50 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Kudos to NRK for bringing it back to the real issue.

The following is written by Kai Chang, a USian anti-racist blogger.

quote:

Michael Richards and his ruined career are not the point here. The point is that if we’re ever to move beyond our current racial strife, we need to begin with enough intellectual honesty to acknowledge and understand America’s glaring legacy of white supremacy. As this popular comedian’s tirade shows, that legacy is alive and kicking in the American psyche. Shrugging it off as a “politically incorrect” use of an insensitive “racial epithet”, or as some mysterious “hostility” that bubbled up out of nowhere, demonstrates a profound ignorance and denial of this country’s past and present.

White Supremacy by any other name


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
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posted 26 November 2006 03:31 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
well, we disagree;
he was a lone kook on a rant who disgraced himself

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bigcitygal
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posted 26 November 2006 06:52 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Whatever, Geneva. Enjoy your bubble.
From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
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posted 26 November 2006 07:12 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
ditto for you:
which is why like many others here I generally avoid the Racism forum as an intellectual dead end

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Stargazer
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posted 26 November 2006 07:15 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A lone kook? Well, him and a whole lot of other racists who say things out loud or hold them in until anger outs them.

A lone kook? Is this the bad apple theory that states somehow the society and the signals we pick up are not affecting us? But of course, there is no racism except for a few 'lone kooks'.

I guess the things we read (heavy racism against FN people and Muslim being most currently popular right now) are all in our minds!


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 26 November 2006 10:43 AM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Geneva:
ditto for you:
which is why like many others here I generally avoid the Racism forum as an intellectual dead end

Ah, interesting description of the forum. Actually, you may have a point. Maybe we should change the name to the Racism forum considering the level of racism pocs experience when we particiapte here.

I agree with you, this forum is an intellectual dead end becasue so much time is wasted trying to establish that systemic racism is for real as people like you and the 'many others' you refer to come here and challenge even basic elements of anti-racist theory. It's posts like yours that bring down the level of discussion. And again with the identity politics? Please


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Ken Burch
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posted 27 November 2006 11:19 AM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Weird.

Geneva starts this thread, and then bails when anyone dares to deviate from her agenda of painting Michael Richards as the lone racial gunman.

Why did she ever assume she'd be able to insist that the discussion be carried on entirely on the arbitrarily limited and white culture-absolving terms she tried to set?

As a Yank of lack of color, I think that what happened with Michael Richards does raise questions for white people about what might indeed be bubbling just below any of our surfaces. We need to deal with this in order to finally find some way to move on from it.

What are you really afraid of here, Geneva?

Are you worried that there might, indeed, be a little Michael Richards within all of us? That you might not, in fact, be as pure as you so smugly assume?

Methinks you doth protest too much.


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N.Beltov
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posted 27 November 2006 12:00 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michael Richards appeared on the Rev. Jesse Jackson radio show, after hiring a New York publicist [Howard Rubenstein] specializing in crisis management. The audio can be found at Keep Hope Alive , the website for Rev. Jackson.

“We might turn this minus into a plus,” Jackson said.

Right on.

[ 27 November 2006: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


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bigcitygal
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posted 28 November 2006 05:29 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Margaret Cho on Michael Richards:

quote:

It is terrifying to me how certain things lie just underneath the surface of polite society, and how when they are unleashed people are actually surprised.

quote:

Racism from the comedy club stage is as common as dick jokes, and I've heard it and heard it and I don't even really hear it anymore because I have heard so much of it. Still, I am disgusted by his remarks, and the fact that he is sorry makes me furious, because I am sick of forgiving racists, sick of being above it, sick of being the better person

Scroll down to 11/22/06:
Margaret Cho's blog


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 28 November 2006 11:03 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Cosmo KKKramer t-shirts are here by Lynn Crosbie

quote:
Still others are suggesting that we may still enjoy Richards's endlessly looped Seinfeld performances while detesting the man. This bit of “love the sinner, hate the sin” sophistry is irrelevant to what happened in West Hollywood on Nov. 19. When Richards took the stage, he was performing, and I would like to meet the perfectly judicious individual who can now watch Seinfeld without wondering about, in Richards's apologetic words, what else is boiling inside him, ready to “fire out of [him].”

Many years ago, at the height of his fame, The National Enquirer published a squib about Richards being approached by fans at a restaurant and subsequently screaming vulgarities at them without raising his head from his soup — this was a little chill at the time, one that was never followed up because of the power he once held. In the meantime, we have had to watch Richards in absentia, or regard him in ellipses: A notable absence in Seinfeld writer and co-producer Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Richards was also subtly disparaged in the infamous show-within-a-show episodes of Seinfeld, which featured the casting of a Kramer who, unlike the real-life Kenny Kramer on which the Seinfeld character is based, or the show's loveable “hipster doofus” character, was a vile, volatile man.

“I'm not a racist!” Richards has stated, which he finds incredible in light of his actions. I find it incredible too. When Lenny Bruce, an actual comic genius, concocted his “nigger” screed, he claimed he was attempting to rob the word of its power through repetition. Bruce stated that it is “the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness. Dig. ... ” Most critics still buy this logic, but in 1979, writer Lester Bangs, who lived through his generation's “ironic embrace of the totems of bigotry,” flatly stated: “Lenny Bruce was wrong ... Took me a long time to find it out, but these words are lethal, man, and you shouldn't just go slinging them around for effect.”

If Richards's pathomanic howls were not offensive enough, he, in a turn as awkward as a hippopotamus executing a pirouette, stood onstage pondering the lamentable puissance of certain words. “There are still these words,” he mused, as if truly travelling back in time 50 years, only to get strung up by the misguided, yet authentically radical Bruce.



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2 ponies
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posted 28 November 2006 12:08 PM      Profile for 2 ponies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The thing that really gets me upset about this sort of thing is the number of people out there who are ready and willing to write off such a disgusting display of hatred. I watched the clip of Richards freaking out on Youtube. There were over 2000, linked to the video clip. I was terrified by the # of comments basically writing off the seriousness of the N word as nothing more than PC sensitivity! Comments linked to the clip of Richards’ “apology” were just as bad. There were dozens & dozens of people making up excuses for Richards – everything from blaming the fall-out on oversensitive PC types, to people saying it’s no big deal because he apologized.

Racism is alive and well and I’m inclined to think there is a little Michael Richards in all of us. I’m half Cree and self-identify as a First Nations person, yet it is amazing how often I find myself thinking racist thoughts about other First Nations people; “What an ignorant rezzed out Indian.” I’ve actually thought such things about other Native people! I’ve been the victim of racism several times (from Natives and non-Natives), but I still have underlying racist tendencies. The main reason I don’t say racist things out loud is because I know it’s wrong and I stop myself when I realize what I’m thinking then I discuss it with my wife (who’s also Native) and we talk about the root cause; the anger that’s too easy to channel into bigotry. We deal with it together and push away the tendency to use hatred instead of dealing with the difficult issue that is bothering us. It’s difficult to address anger and frustration and too often we are encouraged to unleash our anger instead of dealing with it and working hard to find a positive solution to the anger.

We’re indoctrinated with racist/hateful/bigoted attitudes from a very young age. When I was a youngster 20 years ago, it was bad to be something other than Christian here in Saskatchewan, it was really bad to be Aboriginal, homosexuals were still considered an okay target by the vast majority of the population, any one who wasn’t of Eastern European, German or British isles descent was somehow slightly inferior to those who were; Mediterranean people were considered weird, Asians were stereotyped as all being Chinese restaurant owners and so on – all the racist stereotypes applied and people thought it was okay! These attitudes still linger within a lot of us and the only way to put them to rest for good is to admit they exist and have the courage to deal with them head on.

We may have grown up in tolerant households with open-minded families, but we are still influenced by the media, the education system, religious institutions, political groups, popular culture, etc. All around us there is hatred, if it’s not obvious then it’s just beneath the surface. It’s so easy to succumb to a “fleeting” racist, or bigoted, attitude and let it slide. I don’t believe for a moment that Richards isn’t a racist. I think he’s full of hate and bigotry and this is just the first time he’s been caught unleashing it. I don’t believe that he is sorry for his hateful outburst, I only believe that he’s sorry he was caught on video for the world to see and now there will always be a qualifier/caveat every time he’s mentioned: “Known as the loveable Kramer from NBC’s popular Seinfeld and for a racist outburst in a comedy club in LA, Richards spent his later years in relative professional obscurity making the odd appearance at comedy clubs and on late night television.” That’s why he’s sorry, because his legacy is now tarnished and it should be! I won’t watch Seinfeld again, I honestly won’t and it was one of my favourite shows of all time.
Every time bigotry comes up there are a lot of decent people who speak out against it, but there are also a lot of people who don’t see it as such a problem and that’s really scary. It’s so much easier to sit there and let it slide because it’s only a brief moment in time. It may be the Aboriginal leader making a comment about how the Jews were a disease and Hitler was trying to stop their takeover, or your co-worker suggesting that the lone Arab in your office will blow you up if you piss him off, or someone complaining that they couldn’t understand “that Paki” who answered the phone when you called a 1-800 number. All of these things need to be dealt with and addressed head on because they’re all wrong, they’re hateful and they cause people pain. The more we let the little things slip, the more acceptable it becomes when the “big things” happen.


From: Sask | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged

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