I’m typically not one to harp on relatively minor politically incorrect transgressions. As a yuppie intruder in a working-class San Francisco neighborhood dominated by Mexican, Vietnamese, Filipino, and, most recognizably, smelly bums of all stripes, I’ve become well aware of my own ignorance, my impulses to distrust what I find unfamiliar, and, from time to time, my willingness to take some guiltless pleasure in the delicious ironies of clumsy ethnic stereotypes. That being said, I think “Peanut Gallery” tests the boundaries of taste, respect, and subtlety. More importantly, it isn’t funny. The heart of your squirrel narrative is lively because the animals in question take on some amusing human qualities. Unfortunately, your reliance on lame race jokes that wouldn’t make the final cut of a Jackie Chan flick kills whatever buzz it can muster.
Jamaican immigrants wear silly floppy hats and panhandle change. Actually, aside from the dreadlocked stoners in the metro trying to capitalize on your average white dude’s tame Rasta stereotypes for a quick buck, they probably don’t. And I’m sure you, being a music guy, are well aware that frat boys and brain-dead hippies buy most of the Bob Marley albums these days, and that real believers, for better or for worse, turn to the ferocious polemics of amped-up dancehall thugs like Elephant Man and Beenie Man for their fix. As for your wizened Asian sage with a rake, I’m wondering, against my better judgment, if you, like — ahem — some of my former associates, spent too many early college mornings, presumably not blazed out of your mind, watching Drunken Wu-Tang on a 13-inch television in the dankest corner of some Cinema Studies sociopath’s bombed-out dorm room. Our Asian brothers don’t talk like that and they, obviously, don’t think like that. Hmm, this f—ing idiot needs to get a life and stop trying to placate a deranged rodent. That’s more like it. Likewise, if my new Salvadorian bar buddies down the street at Jack’s can serve as any indicator, your spirited Latino neighbors might very well refer to you in much more colorful language than “loco gringo.” See, that’s too dull for even the most demented Taco Bell commercial.
Ethnic humor only begins to work when the stereotype is true and the joke is not cruel. Furthermore, it’s only a little funny when the stereotype, in addition to being true to some extent, stretches an audience’s means of comprehension away from the mundane notions perpetuated by mainstream movies, music, and media. Finally, it’s only hysterical when the stereotype is rooted in the sort of knowledge that can only be honed through the experience of co-existing in some fashion with people very much unlike yourself. Or at any rate, it might approach the hilarity of watching a grown man mince about to avoid violence at the paws of killer squirrels.p>Anyway, I’ve really got to get back to work. You’re a good writer and probably a good chap so I won’t jump to any conclusions just yet.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?