Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thinking About Michael Richards

My father once called a man "kike" in a shouting match because in his rage he reached for any word available to use as a weapon. The word didn't really have any antisemitic content in the mouth of my father, a proud Jew, but it was a blunt instrument that HANDED ITSELF to my father, and he used it.

Something like this seems to have happened to Michael Richards. The language of racial hatred spoke more through him than from him. At least, I think that's probable. I don't think this was the case with Mel Gibson a few weeks ago, though. Gibson's past public comments, his religious beliefs, and his films all support the reasonable conclusion that the man is grossly antisemitic. Michael Richards may turn out to be genuinely racist, too, but I doubt it.

The language running through our heads is sometimes our own, sometimes the zeitgeist's, and telling the authors apart can be tricky, especially for an improvisational performer. Richards went momentarily around the bend, that's for sure. What this says about him isn't so certain.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mel Gibson's religious beliefs? Any authentic christian deeply admires Judism. It is an extention of their own religion.

I am unable to come up with a reason why tolerance is called upon in all issues, unless of course, one is discussing Jesus Christ. I must ask, doesn't it seem hypocritical that it is not acceptable to say anything negitive regarding Islam or Judism, but our culture can bash Christianity until the cows come home...

...cows come home? Isn't that Hindu?

Anonymous said...

By judism I meant judaism, of course

Anonymous said...

Did anybody see the story in the Oregonian a few days ago -- may have been Sunday's paper -- that talked about how the Western media have consistently soft-pedaled quotes and discussion of the harsher elements of Islam?