09.30.2008  BY EM & LO

Speaking of HBO, we also caught the premiere of Chris Rock's new comedy special, Kill the Messenger. Sure, we laughed, but just as often we got really annoyed. For the sake of concision, here's one reason why.

The following is an excerpt from his special. Remember, this is a straight comedian talking about gay people:
Even some black people gotta watch what they say. What's my man on Grey's Anatomy got fired for calling somebody a faggot. We live in a crazy time. You gotta watch what you say baby. Between the Internet and all these shows, you say the wrong thing your career is over. But here's the crazy thing man, it's not about the word sometimes...all bad words ain't bad, sometimes it's about the context in which the word is said...So if you say something like "You the finest bitch I ever seen" that's a compliment. It ain't the word, it's the context in which the word is being said. So my man on Grey's Anatomy, it ain't that he called somebody a faggot, it's like How did he say faggot?... Did he come in early one day and go "Morning faggot" cause if he did that, he should be fired. But how did he say it? Was he having a fight with this person, was he having an argument with this person, was he having a relationship of some sort, how did he say it?

And here's the other thing too, if they was having a fight, I just think personally if you're having a fight with somebody you should be able to say whatever you think is gonna hurt this person the most. What, I gotta be politically correct and mad at the same time? Like if I'm driving, and somebody crashes into me, and they got one leg, I'm gonna talk about the leg. "Hey you one-legged bastards, no wonder you can't brake. I hope you got some two-legged insurance."

But how did he say faggot? And here's the real question nobody wants to ask. What if the person that he called a faggot was acting like a faggot? And I'm not trying to disrespect any gay people. I have gay friends, I know I have gay friends, I know some of y'all are here tonight, I just want to say "Thanks for the money." I'm all for gay rights, I hope you get the right to get married and buy cereal and whatever you being denied I hope you get it, cause I think gay fans are some of the best fans to have...

What if the person that he called a faggot was acting like a faggot. You don't have to be gay to act like a faggot. You don't even have to be a man to act like a faggot. Anybody can act like a faggot. Let me give you an example. I love Gwen Stefani. I think No Doubt is one of the best groups in the world. I keep a No Doubt CD in my car and I sing that shit to the end, I'm like, "Don't speak, I know just what you're saying, oooh please stop explaining..." I won't even get out the car until the shit's over: "You know ya good, you know ya real good, la la la la, la la la...." I fucking love me some Gwen Stefani. Now, if I'm driving my car and I'm at the light and you in the car behind me and the light's red and I'm just sitting there blasting some Gwen Stefani, like "Ain't no hollaback girl, ain't know hollaback girl, ain't know hollaback" and you in the car behind me and light's red, cool. But then the light turn green, and I don't see it cause I'm in Gwen Stefani heaven and I'm just going "Ain't no hollaback girl, ain't know hollaback girl, ain't no hollaback." Now the light starts fucking blinking, it's getting ready to turn red again and I still don't see it. And I'm in my car going "The shit is bananas, B nananananas [sic], the shit is bananans, B nananananas [sic]" If you in the car behind me and that light's getting ready to turn red and I'm going "The shit is bananans, B nananananas [sic]" If you in that car behind me, you have the right to go "Hey faggot, the light's about to change." Even Elton John would call me a faggot at that moment...

Whenever the word nigger is spoken, it is always followed by the same question, "Can white people say 'nigger''?" and the correct answer is [shouts from the audience "No!"] "Not really."
Now go back and read the jokes again, except this time replace the word faggot with nigger (and Gwen Stefani with Dr. Dre and his lyrics) and imagine it's a white comedian talking about black people. Remember, homophobia is a much more socially accepted prejudice than racism is these days: gay people don't even have the same rights as straight people, black or white! Hopefully one day when they do, the word "faggot" will be as off limits to straight people as "nigger" is off-limits, justifiably, to white people. Word.


apeironer said:

Gay-Hater? I don't know where you got hate from his stand up. What I saw was a man saying that political correctness is(or should be) situational. I think your problem is that you don't share Rocks definition of faggot and I guess cause a saw a show live i got his point that faggot does not equal gay, the same way that nigger doesn't equal black. It may be time better spent if you attacked someone actively holding the gay community down.

Maddie Phillips said:

A job well done.

"Situational"or not, to use the language of oppression is to reinforce its meaning. Comedians get a certain amount of mobility when examining these sensitive social issues (and I'm a fan of Chris Rock myself) but I definitely disagree that the terms "nigger" and "faggot" are far off from each other in terms of the way we should tolerate their use.

Kay said:

I personally do not see a problem with the stand up. If someone has a problem with what is being said today then they obviously have issues of freedom of speech because all Chris Rock was saying is that the terms can be used jokingly or ignorantly. He was making a point he was not being racist and I have seen other stand up shows of his where he even makes fun of his own race and gender and for the record I have seen white guys make fun of black guys and the audience still goes crazy and that includes men who will include jokes about women that seem degrading, but yet we don't pick on them for that which is strange considering women fought so hard for our rights today...I suppose somewhere in our heads it has become socially acceptable for one thing, but not another because if there really was an issue shouldn't we talk about the term bitch? So I guess the point here is if you really have a problem with it why watch?

Jannet said:

Don't dare try to conflate the struggles of African Americans from the beginning of this country's history to those of the gay rights movement. Don't even try it. The discrimination against us is because of what we are, not how we act. That's a huge difference no one wants to acknowledge. And you can't begin to know the extent of the injustice blacks have suffered. Your post was plain racist, to make the two the same.


I don't care that he says "faggot" but I dare any white person to come out of their mouths saying "nigger" or "nigga" freely. The word Nigger has held black people back for hundreds of years. Ok, so you're gay and don't have the same rights but you DEFINITELY can put on a front as a straight person. However, no matter what a Black person does, they're always going to look Black. It cannot be hidden. Therefore, when "faggot" is said in a crowd, all the homosexuals are not pointed out because sexuality is not necessarily visible from the outside. Unfortunately, if a white comedian is on stage and yells out "nigger," every head in that audience is turning, looking to see the reaction of the Black people in the audience because Black is always visible.

Jen said:

I haven't seen the show, but having read the excerpt and the post, I don't think they're trying to say homophobia is equal to or worse than racism. It's not a contest. They're both horrible. And to say "okay, so gays don't have rights, big deal, they can still hide being gay" is ridiculous. They don't have EQUAL rights, that's a huge deal! One that I would think black people would have incredible empathy for, considering the struggles they've had (and still have) in this racist country for their own equal rights. And yes, gays can hide their sexual orientation, but what good is that? Why deny who you are by nature, when it's not hurting anyone else? That just perpetuates the prejudice, as if it's something to hide or be ashamed of. If black people could magically turn white or wear makeup to hide their identity, no sane person would suggest they should actually do it to avoid the pain of prejudice. That's missing the point entirely.


Trying to fight something you perceive to be hurtful by inserting your own prejudiced views does little to get your point across. Simply presenting the transcript with commentary on what he actually said would have done more than "nigger" and "Dr. Dre" analogies.

Joey said:

Jeez. Are you commenters dumb? The post was saying it's not cool for Chris Rock to use the word "faggot". It is an offensive word to homosexuals. Not offensive to you? That's probably because you're not homosexual. Lets try to see what it's like for them. One way to test a derogatory word is to replace it with another derogatory word in the same context and see if it's ok. Replacing "faggot" with "nigger" shows that it is not cool. You could also replace it with "gook" or "kike" or "spic" and clearly see that it's not ok. It's not comparing the experiences of the groups, but simply designating the word as offensive. Get it?

Stay @ home mom said:

Very well written Joey. I couldn't have said it better!!

Ariel said:

I am a straight man. I have some gay friends, and even they use the word faggot in a derogatory way. For most gay men I know, the word faggot means a homosexual man behaving like an exaggerated version of a woman, is more about the way they behave than their preference. I believe Chris' comments weren't discriminatory, he's talking about someone behaving 'faggot', not behaving gay.

I don't know if the author of the article noticed, but he makes a clear distinction from the words 'gay' and 'faggot', and precisely, the joke istelf, is that difference.

In the joke, you can be straight or gay and behave -or not- like a faggot. In any case, he's making fun of people who behave like faggot, but that can also be straight men, so why should gay people be offended? He's not talking about people behaving like gays, he's talking about people behaving like faggots. I don't think you can actually replace 'faggot' with 'nigger', because the idea is completely different.

Theonenonly said:

Boy joey, are you dumb? The commentors get the correlation of replacing the words but-THEY'RE JUST JOKES!!! Man, what is wrong with our society when we have to watch everything that we say. We are a nation that's suppose to be FREE but at the same time we are so SENSITIVE! I am an African-American who is also a lesbian. When ppl make comments that are hateful & deragatory e.g.(Michael Richards) I just let it roll off of my back. When someone such as Chris Rock-I laugh, then I just let it roll off of my back. It's called COMIC RELIEF people. Get over it!

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