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November 1994, Week 2


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Mikel Koven <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 13 Nov 1994 16:38:03 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
T saying that the "n" word whould be shouted from the rooftops till it
ceases to be offensive is really just a paraphrase of something Lenny
Bruce said, oh, 30 years ago.  Bruce concludes that when a four year old
child is called a "n", it would have no meaning, and therefore no pain.
But to argue that African-American audiences watching a white man use
that word, for humourous effect yet, are *in* on the joke is plain
insulting.  I do agree that the word "racism", as it is being bandied
about here, is a bit too strong.  I don't want to be flamed, but to argue
that because T used the "n" word, is the same as his dawning a white
sheet and going on the Geraldo show, is a bit much.
But back to the point in hand.  A-A audiences, by being aurally subjected
to that particular form of abuse are made to feel excluded from the
"coolness" of T, which the media sez is GREAT ART.  This disenfranchaises
our African decended brothers and sisters by implying a "shame" in their
race; to be in on the joke is to use the "n" word, regardless of
context.  As minority group member myself, (it being totally irrelevant
which one)  I know how I cringe when derogotory remarks are made about
us, even if it is not meant to be taken seriously.  It makes me very
uncomfortable.  used properly, and I'm not suggesting that all racial
epithets are removed from the canon of screen-utterance, I just think
they should be used more pointedly.  If a character attacks, makes jokes
about, or even looks the wrong way at my particular group of hereditary
membership, my emotions toward that character are definately negative.  I
agree that T should explore the emotional effects his rhetoric has,
rather than mindlessly uttering mild platitudes which have not only
become parodied, but ultimately meaningless.
Be that as it may, I rather like Pulp Fiction.
Mikel Koven