It has been said that he who laughs last, laughs best.
When it comes to laughing at African Americans and ignorant Black comedy, we have to seriously ask ourselves: "Who's laughing last? Who's laughing best?"
I'm not certain that it's us.
Let's take, for example, Chris Rock's famous quip: "There's a difference between Black people and Niggers and I hate Niggers."
The "Niggers" who laugh may think it's funny, I thing that the white racists who are laughing are laughing best and last. After all, Rock's quip is merely a re-hash of the old school racist delineation between the race they loved to hate and the few amongst that race they considered "safe." Racists would often proclaim someone to be other than a Nigger when they liked that person.
The most common defense people offer up for the demeaning Black comedy is that we need to laugh at ourselves. That is neither new nor interesting and disrespecting me for disagreeing will only get you ignored or cursed out. How funny is that?
Tough talking assheads slammed me for criticizing Black men in drag, but while they defend demeaning comedy, the world is turning upside down. And damn, if defense of degrading comedy is now your revolution and if dogging me out is the best revolutionary tactic that you can muster, then your worthless life is the real punchline.
Since critical thinking is dead, allow me to offer background on how we got to the point where many of us feel all too comfortable laughing and how we have come to expect laughter even when there really is nothing funny.
In America, the people have become lazy. And because of our laziness and dumbing down, we expect to be entertained at every turn.
Advertising is delivered in song, but much of it is delivered in humor, even when dealing with serious products or services.
Corporate meetings have to be quick-paced, and conventions must be laced with entertainment to keep the attention of the ADD masses.
Morning radio shows are no longer simply music, news and traffic--the pressure is on to make the audience laugh.
And, even the most serious of presentations, the morning and evening news, is now delivered in most cases with humor. They must compete with entertaining shows and other entertaining newscasts, because, in this society, the fear is that people will tune out. We know the people won't fight, so the fear is that they will switch.
Politicians can no longer focus on messages and promises, however empty. They must focus on being entertaining, good looking and engaging. Neither Lincoln, nor Washington could be successful politicians today, unless, of course they learned to juggle. Witness the complaints lodged against Al Gore--that he was stiff and boring. Or how about the attacks on John Edwards for his excited utterance that surely occurs with regularity deep in suburban white America?
Our schools have to take special care to keep the lesson plans moving swiftly, competing with the pace set by television and computer games, even if the message is a bit cloudy or missed by the majority.
Where previous generations of children were given age appropriate entertainment for children, today's youth are bored stiff with entertainment designed for them. They are given access to entertainment that is violent and sexual beyond their years, while the purveyors of entertainment argue that times have changed and children have evolved. There is no real evolution, only overexposure.
In previous times, the average citizen placed primary needs above entertainment--the need for assistance, freedom, education and enlightenment and the need for a cure for the most threatening disease. Now, we fear being bored more than we fear death or destruction of our way of life. And while some factions push for the eradication of our most threatening disease, too many of our mushy-minded citizens would rather point accusing fingers at the victims of AIDS or create ghostly villains who mysteriously promulgate the disease.
Not too long ago, the standard forms of entertainment grew old and could only hold attention for a short time. Everyone is looking for the next level of entertainment--the next thrill.
Amusement parks build faster, scarier and more dangerous rides, while the people line up for them, ignoring the crash test dummies that fell apart or got necks snapped during testing. Reality television shows promise to present real people in real activities, from eating bugs and pig intestines, to risking life or at least limb, in risky stunts, but that has nothing to do with real life.
We talk about keeping it "real," but very little is actually real. Very little exists because it exists. Much of what we do, think, wear and say is developed for corporate benefit, even as we imagine that we have individual thought and freedom of expression. Even most of the people's politics and religious views are shaped by mega-corporations, while the people defend beliefs they don't really understand with tooth and nail.
Next Week: "Who's Culture?
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology "Notes From The Edge." James' stage play, "Love In A Day," opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at