Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Robinson on "Kramer"

The sky truly falls. No, not just the rain over the Northeast!

I agree with a MSM columnist.

Eugene Robinson, writing for the WP, discovers what lurks beneath the outbursts of both Michael Richards and Mel Gibson. Take a closer look:
The other lesson is that in each case, something ugly erupted from somewhere so deep inside that I'm not sure Richards, Gibson or Allen even knew the ugliness was there.

Richards's heckler just happened to be black. As far as we know -- the video clip begins with the comedian losing it -- there was no racial content in the heckling. But something inside Richards was triggered, some hidden fail-safe switch, and he went immediately to race as if that were the reason the man was annoying him and thus an appropriate way to strike back. He didn't see the heckler as a man, he saw him as a black man -- one who needed to be reminded that once upon a time he might have been lynched for his impertinence, and who needed to be put in his place with the most explosive word in the language.

Gibson's rant about Jews was a similar thing. Allen's fumble was less unforgivable, but then again he's a United States senator, not an actor or a comedian.
I ranted with a colleague about a headline in one of the NY tabloids. The headline ran: Art made Kramer crazy. The paper appeared to put Kramer's racism behind him in a mere two days, while the MSM hammered Gibson for his anti-semitic outburst for far longer. The double-standard infuriated me.

Mr. Robinson redeemed that unfortunate copy editor's transgression. He touches on the darkness within us all that awaits the opportunity to consume us. Mr. Richards wraith lashed out in pure racism at a mere heckler. Mr. Gibson's imprudence gushed out anti-semitism unworthy of a civilized man. Both of them surrendered to their darkness in a moment of unadulterated emotion.

We could be either of them. Perhaps we'll not pour out venemous racism or insidious anti-semitism. We'll flood our surroundings with more original sins, nevertheless. Our lack of vigilance ensures that we'll stop loving our Creator and his creation. Let us beware when we're falling asleep at the wheel.

Mr. Robinson rightly calls Mr. Richards to task. No responsible commentator will give him a pass while slamming Mr. Gibson. They both deserve the criticism they've received.

Yes, we must forgive them both. We must extend forgiveness to them both. We must not, however, whitewash one man's sins while condemning another for his own. Hypocrisy is a luxury we can't afford.

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