Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Come on, this man has been under a lot of pressure.

Sometimes it's hard to escape the fact that a goodly portion of progressives have a stick up their ass. You know the people I'm talking about; humorless, iron-deficient drones who flee from pop culture like Dracula from holy water.

Over at Tapped there's a small spat taking place over Michael Richards's recent racist remarks during a stand-up routine. Charles Pierce took a whack at Richards's tirade by observing, in part, that the late comic Sam Kinison was much better and channeling the angry id. This prompted the following response from fellow Tapped blogger Garance Franke-Ruta:

Why is it that misogyny is the only hatred still defended by men of the left? Seinfeld soothed the "maidenly vapors" people had around Kinison? My recollection was that Kinison was a disgusting, hateful, hate-filled boor and those "maidenly vapors" he raised were genuine feminist objections to him, by women who were, for example, trying to create a situation so that girls like myself were not, in the 1980s, subjected to his rants (and those of the equally gross Andrew Dice Clay) by our older brothers and their friends.

Personally I wouldn't bet the farm on Franke-Ruta's recollection. Kinison was indeed rude and crude, of that there's little argument. But characterizing Kinison as a misogynist portrays a serious misunderstanding of the man's approach to comedy.

I remember vividly spending a date with the very progressive future Mrs. Wormer sitting in my car and listening to a tape of Kinison's stand-up and laughing profusely. As a former pastor Kinison's take on religon and Jesus were inspired. Both of us were big fans of Kinison yet neither of us could stand the aforementioned Andrew Dice Clay because we found he himself to be too much of a misogynist. What is that seperated Kinison from Clay?

Pathos. Despite his screaming Kinison rarely came across as truly angry. Instead he came across as someone that'd been beat up pretty good by life and was in a lot of pain. For all the abuse heaped on others he himself was generally the biggest target of his own satire. Clay - who calmly chain smoked and recited dirty limericks during his own act - came across as somebody who really hated women and everybody else that didn't make up his target audience of frat boys.


Anonymous said...

I think comparing Kinison to CLay mainly reveals Franke-Rota to be a bit of a philistine.

Dean Wormer said...

Absolutely. It's a little too knee-jerky for me.