I didn't talk to the Reagans when I made fun of them
In the AV Club's 15 Masters Of Onstage Banter is a phenomenal insult:
"I saw you two guys earlier at the Good Humor truck, and you were eating your ice cream like little boys, and I thought, 'Those guys aren't so tough! They're eating ice cream.' I saw you eating an ice-cream cone, pal… You're bad now, but I saw you… That's the shit you can't hide. You eat ice cream; everybody knows it. Ice-cream-eating motherfucker, that's what you are."
Did the ice-cream-eating motherfuckers get any supporters for their crushed egos? I doubt it.
I had no idea D.L. Hughley was involved in a controversy over the same issue that got Don Imus fired. Here he is being interviewed by the AV Club:
AVC: In all fairness, isn't it just opinion? You're saying that these women are ugly.
DLH: Let's be real. I don't know many men who think female basketball players are attractive. And so what? Being ugly don't mean you bad! So everybody's beautiful? Everybody's smart? Everybody's warm and loving? How could I be a comic if that was what I talked about? I don't live in that world. I'm a comedian. I cuss and drink, and I go to clubs where people smoke, cuss, and drink. All I do is make people laugh while they're eating chicken wings and drinking Budweiser.
AVC: Would you take the opportunity to talk to any of the Rutgers women?
DLH: I didn't talk to the Reagans when I made fun of them. I didn't talk to Anna Nicole Smith when I made jokes about her. I haven't talked to Paris Hilton when I made jokes about her. I haven't talked to George Bush when I made jokes about him. What's the difference between all the people I made jokes about and them? Stevie Wonder fired me from a radio station he owned. I was brand new and joking around, and I said, "I bet this place wouldn't look this bad if you could see." And he fired me. That's asinine to ask me to apologize to everybody I ever talked about. What is the difference between them and the Rutgers girls?
AVC: To the protestors, at least, one key difference is that people feel like it's not just these women you're talking about, but all black women. Obviously the joke came at a very sensitive time for black women—
DLH: It's ironic to me that I'm listening to a white reporter tell me how black women feel. It's one chick who's upset and who's pretending to speak for a lot of other people. On her blogs, she's got a couple thousand people. Okay. I'll do that in a weekend. Even if they're all protesting tomorrow, what are they hoping to accomplish with this?
If you want an apology, go talk to Kurt Cobain:
What else should I be
What else could I say
Everyone is gay
What else could I write
I don't have the right
What else should I be
updated for recommended reading: What Do You Care What Other People Think ?, Richard Feynman.
Another book worth reading; let me quote a quote. From last year's post on John Strausbaugh's Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture:
Yet American humor has always been very rough-and-tumble. What strikes Americans as funny exists on a sliding scale from vulgar insult (blonde jokes, faggot jokes, Polack jokes) to what's most often judged hate speech today (nigger jokes, kike jokes). Ethnic identity humor plays a huge role in American culture. It's part of the toughening-up process that leads to mutual tolerance (if not mutual admiration) in America's mongrel culture. Theoretically, we are all fair game. Everybody has a right to be ignunt in America. There's a reason why insult is protected free speech in America, and not susceptible to libel litigation the way it is in the UK. In America, insult is not actionable. We are expected to be able to "give as good as we get," to "dish it out and take it."