Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
Kramer a Racist?: The biggest news is Michael Richards' racist outburst in response to some heckling during a stand-up routine. I was told about this thing last night, video available, and the person was quite shocked by the whole thing. It might be a factor that she is a Seinfeld fan, so the disconnect one feels when a favorite actor does something that seems so out of character (so to speak) kicks in. OTOH, anyone who hears his rant would be shocked at the thing, given it seems to come out of left field. [As an aside, I was not quite aware he was so old -- 57.] The matter goes well with the Dahlia Lithwick article I referenced last time on forgiveness. Sometimes, there is some "there" there. IOW, it's not just about "nothing" (show reference).
The NY Daily News has a few articles on the subject, and as is sometimes their wont, there is some good stuff -- including commentary and a sidebar piece on the real Kramer. It was noted that after his success on NBC, Richards had problems finding his groove again. The star in effect started a family and rested on his well earned millions. George had some success in supporting roles, which is his forte anyway. Elaine has some problems finding a niche, but apparently has some success (won an award) with her latest effort.
Richards had a bit more trouble, though at least two respectable supporting roles (including Trial and Error), that suggested some chance to get some work. The whole matter suggests why the supporting characters were sure to try to get some extra coinage, including as related to the box sets. Anyway, this sort of thing suggests why some hecklers might have set him off -- he's Kramer! he deserves a bit more respect! Or, can't I even do a stand-up routine without some assholes bothering me? Obviously, how exactly he responded is a major problem. As noted in the commentary piece, if you are going to be nasty, racist epithets is not the only way to go.
By doing so, you are being racist. How deep is it? Jerry Seinfeld denies his friend is a racist. He offered to allow Richards apologize via satellite (also available online) during JS' Letterman appearance (it played last night). Richards was apologetic/tearful, but the Daily News article tellingly notes that he promised to apologize last Saturday, after making the comments on Friday night. And, didn't do so, thus the comedy club's spokeswoman said that he will not be welcome there. This is troubling -- it is no proof that deep down he is racist, but it clearly sends a message that he does not understand just how wrong his comments were. It sends a message of lack of respect, which btw is often a core concern in controversial cases (consider discrimination laws -- they don't ban racist thought, they ban racist actions).
I had grown tired of the show last year or so, so stopped watching reruns. This sort of thing really taints the whole affair further, you not wishing to have images of a racist when you seem a beloved character. It might be reading a bit too much into things, but the show did receive some criticisms of its own on this front. This was deemed by some as unwarranted, given the range of the show's targets. But, especially as time went on, there was a cruel edge to the show, especially the lead character. The supporting cast were clearly losers, and they (George/Elaine at least) were willing to admit to themselves that they were nothing to write home about, but Jerry seemed to feel superior to everyone. Kramer was a special case ... you never go the idea there was much self-knowledge there. But, some "above the fray" nihilism was there. And, can be deemed problematic.
Meanwhile, the OJ piece was deemed so controversial -- when Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera call you scummy, you are in trouble -- it was decided unfit to air. Oh wow, standards! OJ is neutral about the whole thing ... his advance was not refundable. I'm of two minds here -- yes, the whole thing is disgusting etc. But, honestly, I don't know how much more disgusting it is as compared to a lot of what else is out there. We might feel good about ourselves, and the local paper had a lot of moral outrage, about our disgust. But, again, OJ got special treatment -- this time, it just came out a little better. What about all the other tasteless things on the air? Other likely criminals given their time?
Comics: A fine day for comics. "For Better or Worse" has one of its excellently carried out drama story arcs going, this time involving the older daughter testifying about her attack. Yesterday, we heard her thoughts concerning how -- though she wished otherwise -- she did hate her attacker. Today we get a piece of the testimony ... as suggested by earlier panels, reliving the scenes was pretty hard. Meanwhile, "Doonesbury" pointedly addressed students who thought only "them" should volunteer for the military. And "Get Fuzzy" had an amusing, though pointed, bit about voting ... left unsaid was that, um, dogs cannot vote. There even was an amusing bit in the less well known waitress comic, "Tina's Groove," concerning tofu. Love those tofu jokes. [Character was willing to eat tofu flavored meat.]
Sports: I know you are not supposed to blame injuries, they are part of the game etc., but simply put, sometimes they are a factor. If your team is otherwise imperfect, a ton of key injuries to your defense -- including star playmakers -- is going to hurt. Toss in a team like the Jags that play great at home and needed a win, a Dallas upset (even with Phillies done with the QB out ... meanwhile, the back-up on the Packers finally gets some time to shine ... and is out for the season), and a two game lead is gone. And, Dallas is prime to go ahead with a game on Thursday vs. Tampa. Come on bro! Help your brother Tiki out! Sigh.
As to the Mets, how can you risk losing Glavine? Alou is nice, but without Glavine, you have about two and a half starters. Pedro is out for at least a half year, El Duque is injury prone, and Steve T. is likely gone. Perez is still shaky, even with his lovely playoff performance, and the Maine is surely still growing into a starting role -- he was in effect a rookie this year. So, maybe, you can get Zito -- overpaying him probably -- that still results in a hole in the starting staff. And, do we really want Glavine to cement a Braves' starting crew that should have some of their stars healthy again? To get his 300th win there? Please! OTOH, Ted Lilly would make a good edition to the Yankee rotation. I was sorry to see him go, and he can be a steady back-end starter that is not an old man, though he won't be that cheap.
Oh, Lorelai married Christopher ... the show has officially tanked. Still, The Class was good again last night, though it had a sad if touching subplot, so there is hope there.