November 25, 2006

"But he's quiet, introspective, even paranoid. He's a very wound-up guy. But I don't think he's a racist."

The real Kramer reminds us that Michael Richards is not the real Kramer.
"I know the public is smart enough to realize that Michael Richards' personal actions in no way reflect on the character he portrayed on television or me, Kenny Kramer, the real person that the character was based on."
I know the public is smart enough... That's touching. Makes me think of: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

20 comments:

Gerry said...

I have always hated that comment-- "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Perhaps no one ever did, but that is exactly how political parties go bankrupt, intellectually, morally, and eventually at the polls.

downtownlad said...

So he used the N word. Big deal. About 90% of Americans have used the N word at some point in their life. He's apologized and it's not like he had anything left of a career anyway. Why is this surprising?

John Althouse Cohen said...

Could you substantiate that statistic, downtownlad?

Anonymous said...

A better question for downtownlad:

Let's assume you are correct- 90% of the people in the US have used the "N"-WORD.

Does that make 90% of the population racist?

Can we assume that it does? Does that mean that whatever percentage of non-African-Americans are racist against at least African-Americans?

What of the African-Americans who have used the "N"-WORD; are they racist against non-African-Americans, as evidenced by their solidarity with their brothers by using what is a racial slur UNLESS used by a member of the group being slurred?

Icepick said...

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

Only because the guys behind New Coke realized their mistake and changed it back!

The partisan moderate said...

Ann, I am wondering if the Real Kramer (Kenny) can sue Michael Richards. While I would not advocate him doing so, it does seem that Mr. Richards' racist rant hurts Kenny's image.

Tim said...

"I know the public is smart enough..."

I actually think he's right, that when they (we) need to be smart enough, we are.

Svolich said...

I posted this over at Captain's Quarters.

About 25 years ago I worked on the set of "Fridays" - ABC's attempt to copy Saturday Night Live. Richard was in the ensemble (he had a charactor that was obscessed with developing a "V shaped back")

The way he acted when he was not on screen made me believe that he had Tourette syndrome, or that he was a mild, possibly medicated schitzophrenic.

I never heard him use THAT word, but plenty of times I'd find him just sitting, muttering and twitching, and swearing at the air.

I wonder which trump card winds - the race card or the disability card?

Jeremy said...

The guy probably is nuts. If you have seen him on other shows.


Still, I think this whole thing is because he was a on a popular show set in New York. The media is very very narcistic when it comes to themselves, and any show set in New York is of vital news somehow, even though no one outside of it really cares.

TC said...

Cut it any way you want, the guy was a bomb waiting to go off, and the two dudes in the audience that night finally flipped the switch.

Explain, deconstruct his words, it won't change the fact he's an angry LITTLE bastard who has never had any rep as astandup comic. And the dough from "SEINFELD" replays ain't covering his overhead.

He took the chance and got taken for the ride.

Mr. Snitch said...

Those guys in the audience, BTW, now are demanding a personal apology in front of a witness, and money. (They were, you know, 'terrified' of Richards.) Bet they'd settle for the money.

dbvader said...

And the dough from "SEINFELD" replays ain't covering his overhead.

I don't know what you think his overhead is, but he made between $13 and $20 million in the last season alone. He gets residuals each time a Seinfeld episode is run in any market, and he receives royalties from the DVD sales.

There are new accusations against Richards. This time he is accused of an anti-semitic rant.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yklvvw

Electronic Bubba said...

What's the difference in a white comic calling a black "nigger" than a black comic calling whites "honkie, peckerwood, whitie, or cracker?" It's the same thing.

Get over it.

Mike said...

Isn't being the role model for Kramer's character embarrassment enough.

DWPittelli said...

About 90% of Americans have used the N word at some point in their life.

It's one thing to tell a joke at some time with the word in it, or otherwise use it with no blacks around. It's quite another to scream it, as an adult, at a black person who has angered or annoyed you, let alone to suggest they were worthy of lynching.

Even in extremis. I was once threatened with a mugging/beating by 3 black people, and I responded aggressively with my own threat of violence, but I wasn't stupid enough to use the N word or otherwise make the confrontation explicitly racial, which is almost certain to lead to escallation.

downtownlad said...

I can't substantiate it, but the word is used in rap songs - so I would easily bet that most young people have used the word. And I think most people over 50 have used the word. And I have heard many people use this word over the years, usually something like "I'm not racist and I have nothing against black people, but that person who cut in line in front of me is a N....", etc.

I think almost everyone is racist to some extent. I know I am. But I'm aware of that and try to self-correct my own behaviour when I feel that subconscious racist tendencies might be causing me to act in a certain way.

What Richards did was wrong. But he's acknowledged that. He's not denying anything. He's trying to correct it. So that's a good step in the right direction. Too bad the rest of the population can't acknowledge their own racism in the same way. Just because they don't use the N word doesn't mean they aren't racist to some extent.

AuntieCoosa said...

What motivated the two men to harass Michael Richards in the first place? They could have just gotten up and walked out. They didn't have to start heckling him. I think their verbal behavior was unkind and uncalled for. If they didn't enjoy his comedy routine, all they had to do was quietly walk out, complain to the manager and ask him to refund their money. But they didn't. They were not civil or polite. How many other speakers/comedians/stand-ups have they heckled, annoyed and pestered? How many other people have they publicly humiliated and legally intimidated?

Let me broaden that question: How many people have been publicly humiliated and then legally intimidated and held hostage by someone who notifies the media that "a public apology and financial reparations will resolve the issue at hand"?

The "N" word is not the big sin here. The uncouth behavior of two men in the audience should be scrutinized before any judgment is made regarding who initiated this particular situation. If Michael Richards isn't funny, do not buy a ticket to see him. Buying a ticket in order to heckle a person is the greater sin if the ulterior motive is to cause the speaker to insult you so that you can demand money in exchange for accepting his apology.

TC said...

i grew up, and now live five blocks away, from a NYC housing project.

If saying "nigger" is a sin, well, we are all doomed.

hdhouse said...

he appears to have learned his lesson or at least now said any number of placating things. enough already.

frankly, i'm sure that the next time such an incident happens he won't use the dreaded "n" word in addressing similar hecklers, he will call them what they are: boors.

Anonymous said...

The actor is indeed wound TIGHT. A lot of creative folks are. I wonder if there are also drugs involved in the situation. Just make em wound tighter.

Trey