Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Crouch on Richard Pryor

In this assessment of the recently deceased, vulgar comedian Richard Pryor, isn't Stanley Crouch right? Wasn't Pryor "a much more negative influence than a positive one?"


Pryor's flawed legacy
Comedian's vulgarity made him no role model

by Stanley Crouch

This past Saturday Richard Pryor left this life and bequeathed to our culture as much darkness as he did the light his extraordinary talent made possible.

When we look at the remarkable descent this culture has made into smut, contempt, vulgarity and the pornagraphic, those of us who are not willing to drink the Kool-Aid marked "all's well," will have to address the fact that it was the combination of confusion and comic genius that made Pryor a much more negative influence than a positive one. . . .

Pryor was troubled and he had seen things that so haunted him that the comedian found it impossible to perform and ignore the lower-class shadow worlds he had known so well, filled with pimps, prostitutes, winos and abrasive types of one sort or another. The vulgarity of his material, and the idea a "real" black person was a foul-mouthed type was his greatest influence. It was the result of seeing the breaking of "white" convention as a form of "authentic" definition.

Pryor reached for anything that would make white America uncomfortable and would prop up a smug belief among black Americans that they were always "more cool" and more ready to "face life" than the members of majority culture. Along the way, Pryor made too many people feel that the N word was open currency and was more accurate than any other word used to describe or address a black person.

In the dung piles of pimp and gangster rap we hear from slime meisters like Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, the worst of Pryor's influence has been turned into an aspect of the new minstrelsy in which millions of dollars are made by "normalizing" demeaning imagery and misogyny. . . . Of course, Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam is the ultimate coon show update of human cesspools, where "cutting edge" has come to mean traveling ever more downward in the sewer.

In essence, Pryor stunned with his timing, his rhythm, his ability to stand alone and fill the stage with three-dimensional characters through his remarkably imaginative gift for an epic sweep of mimicry.

For the complete column:
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Something essential has died

When a Christian pastor is hounded and threatened by a government agency for using his pulpit in praise of peace and to worship the Ultimate Peacemaker, has something essential died in this country? An excerpt from Lawrence Vance's article, "Humpty Dumpty Religion," on the Lew Rockwell site:

But first, a word about the term "Christian warmonger." Yes, it is spoken in derision. And yes, it is a pejorative term that is meant to agitate and incite Christians who continue to support what is becoming more and more evident every day, an unnecessary, unscriptural, immoral, and unjust war that is needlessly killing and injuring American soldiers, creating terrorists faster than we can kill them, increasing the hatred many foreigners around the world have for the United States, and dividing churches and families across the country. In light of what Christian peace advocates are called by Christian war supporters--liberal, communist, anti-war weenie, traitor, coward, America-hater--I think the term "Christian warmonger" is justified. Read more!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

They missed out on millions

Here's an interesting response from MH to my remarks about the Amos 'n Andy show.


I have long felt that one of the best shows ever on TV where Blacks could see themselves as honest hard working men and women, families, business people and professionals, was the Amos & Andy show. In my opinion, those who criticized the show because of the antics the King Fish and Andy Brown, not to mention "Lightnin'" missed many positive things but one thing they missed right there in the title was "Amos." Would any critic have anything of a negative nature to say about Amos the cab driver and family man? People are blind and stupid regardless of ethnic background and because of that stupidity, the actors on that show and their heirs have been denied multi millions in royalties that are paid to the actors of the Archie Bunker show and other such comedic TV fare.

Anyway, here is a website you may wish to share where all the Amos & Andy episodes are available on DVD. http://amosandydvd.webhop.net/ Read more!

If you want a piece of the pie, bake some pies

A reader -- let's call him AT -- offered some criticism of the last Commentary of 9/14/05. He objected to the fact that, along with columnist Gregory Kane, I agreed that the owners of the all-white Elkridge Club in Baltimore have a right to run their club on the present basis.

AT writes: The Elkridge Club like other private clubs have members who cut business deals behind the closed doors of such clubs. They cut business deals on the golf courses and back in the day made deals in steam rooms and on handball courts.

EW responds: Yes, that's why those successful black businessmen in the past in such places as Durham, Tulsa, Chicago, Philadelphia, created their own social clubs. The purpose was to form networks and interact with other business associates. They too cut deals, because that's how it works. And, no doubt, they grew their own Old Boys connections. There was no more reason for them to allow outsiders into their social settings than for whites to allow outsiders into their dealings.

AT writes: My peeve with the NAACP is they have not been aggressive in pushing for changes behind the camera, They settled on superficial stuff like more Blacks in front of the camera.

EW responds: I don't see what right any advocacy group, like the NAACP, has to go to private individuals and make demands on how they should spend their money when making movies or anything else. Blacks once were owners of a small, but thriving movie industry. Not content to build from small to bigger, once they had coerced forced integration, the middle class dropped such ventures. Had black entrepreneurs continued on the road in their many entertainment enterprises, instead of using the government to intrude themselves among whites, where they were not wanted, they might today command enough resources to own or control several cable TV channels.

Here in NYC, up and down the radio dial there are a multitude of Spanish-speaking stations. Hispanics also have a score of cable TV channels, which are busy showing films, news programs, talk shows and other entertainment. Hispanics revel in the fact that members of their various cultures create entertainment for them. They don't disdain participating in white-created entertainment, but they don't disparage their own productions as being inferior -- a pattern that is normal to the average black.

AT writes: I do notice that the Monday night line-up at CBS resembles its line-up of the early 1960's "lily-white." Oh, some shows have Blacks in supporting roles but it reeks of tokenism.

EW responds: The last time I looked, this country was still over 70% white, so why shouldn't vehicles created by the majority be directed to the members of that majority? Why should whites expend their efforts on making stars out of blacks, several of whom already have been awarded the whites' highest entertainment honors? Why should anyone but blacks solve the problem of "tokenism." If you don't want to be a token, then create your own enterprises. If you want a piece of the pie, then help to bake some pies.

AT writes: The issue with a show like Amos n' Andy or Julia is the lack of balance in the medium of television, whites had the Honeymooners or Fibber McKee and Molly but they also had shows like See It Now, Person to Person and quiz shows. They balanced off their stereotypes with programming that could uplift.

EW responds: No one should worry themselves about "balancing" anything. They should think of making profits for their investors. In the 1950s and 60s, should white men have come together, pooled their resources, in order to create black-face versions of "See It Now," just so that Americans could see that blacks could be just like Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite? Are whites supposed to risk their money, in order to make blacks feel good about themselves? The producers of such shows aren't social workers; they're people looking for bottom line profits, and nothing else.

AT writes: I would take the Jeffersons over Amos n' Andy any day of the week. George Jefferson for all his flaws spoke good diction.

EW responds: In entertainment, I guess everything is a matter of taste. In the case of that "Jeffersons" show, good diction or not, I think the main character is simply clownish. I had never seen this sitcom until recent re-runs, and I was surprised at its silliness and poor scripts. That opening tune is pitiful, yet a true representation of a typical mindset among many blacks -- they're "moving UP," if they're intruding themselves into the white man's neighborhoods. And that's something to sing about? I find this an admission of a crazed desire for acceptance. It's more embarrassing than Amos 'n Andy.

AT writes: [Concerning the White Pride piece], I suppose the T-shirt would be non-threatening if one could tear from the pages of history the image of the Klu Klux Klan marching in the nation's capitol.

EW responds: Are you suggesting that whites who live right now should be forever stripped of their constitutional right to free expression, because of the behavior of some ancestors? If this is the case, then this rule should be applied to all American citizens and everyone should be judged according to the wicked sins of bygone generations. And that includes blacks.

AT writes: Years from now with the changing demographics, whites are going to end up being a minority and some of them will not be able to cope with it.

EW responds: You're right about whites becoming a minority, but they're not the only ones who won't be able to "cope" with it, as you put it. Blacks, who have permanently hitched their wagons to their ability to bully, intimidate, and coerce goodies from the white population, will be the greater losers. As the Hispanic population, along with Asians and others, grows and moves above the 60% mark, and as whites fall downwards towards, say, 25%, blacks will discover that the set-aside, affirmative action party is over. All their special deals and biased legislation in their behalf, will be in jeopardy.

As Hispanics displace blacks in congressional districts across the country, these black legislators are going to be gone with the wind. Blacks will have no more whites to grovel to their demands, e.g., Trent Lott doing his mortifying crawl to placate them. For blacks, their power is derived from using the political system to beg, cajole, and intimidate. Threatening the white man with the prospect of "long, hot summers" has worked for over 30 years, but once whites are no longer the majority, the game will be over.
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