April 15, 2014

Tracy Morgan's back

Tracy Morgan on free speech:
 A. Nowadays people take themselves way too seriously. 
Q. Is that what happened in 2011, when you were criticized for a routine in which you said you would stab your son if he came out as gay?
A. That’s what I thought I was doing, but it was taken out of context. No matter what, if my son was gay, I’d treat him like a king. I wasn’t trying to say that’s how I felt. 
Q. What did you learn from that?
A. I learned that things are different now. Would Richard Pryor be able to survive now? Would George Carlin be able to survive now? Would Sam Kinison be able to survive now? Would Lenny Bruce be able to survive now? I don’t know. Everybody is supersensitive. We have freedom of speech, but you got to watch what you say. 
Q. Do you think the Internet has made things worse for comedians?
A. Bad news travels at the speed of light, good news travels like molasses. People bring camera phones into comedy shows and clubs and concerts, and sound bites never come out right.
 

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve for referencing the greatest thinker of our generation. Him or Charles Barkley....

Who is it that said we are doomed?

Dan in DC

The Rick Sanchez In The Iron Mask said...

"We have freedom of speech, but you got to watch what you say."

As the Brendan Eich case shows, you have to watch your speech in the light of taboos that don't exist yet, but that may be imposed later.

And you have to realize that donations are speech too.

And just as different kinds of speech may be made taboo retroactively, you had better remember that different kinds of acts may later be defined as speech.

However, no matter what happens, you still have the comfort of knowing that you have freedom of speech provided you accept the consequences. (Which may include professional and personal ruin.)

Things can go better if you engage positively and without any false pride in guided self-criticism and self-denunciation, and make acts of contrition, and testify to your worshipful love of organizations empowered to direct such things, such as the Anti-Defamation League. And again I'd like to thank my dear friend Abe Foxman, who has led me to know myself and led me to grow in unexpected ways.

Anonymous said...

"""""I learned that things are different now. Would Richard Pryor be able to survive now? Would George Carlin be able to survive now? Would Sam Kinison be able to survive now? Would Lenny Bruce be able to survive now?""""


What about Andrew Dice Clay? Is he surviving now?

Anonymous said...

There should, of course, be limitations to free speech. I think people should be able to have someone punished for a hate speech, that is, if *many* people feel it was a hate speech. Maybe like 50,000 people or something.

At the very least I believe there should be standards set for journalists and penalties for blatantly lying to the public and inciting violence. At this point in time, it is basically legal to brainwash a nation. Why do you think the Koch brothers are buying up the media outlets? Somehow there must be protection for the less educated and therefore more vulnerable among us. There should also be justice for victims of hate speech, some of them children, many of whom have been driven to suicide. Let's face it, both our first and second amendments are outdated and need to catch up with the society we now live in. Guns have changed, media and communication have changed. We need to get over our fears and also change with the times.

Anonymous said...

OT. Is the essay at the following link Swiftian satire that indicates we're nearing the bottom of the cultural cycle, or is it the real thing marking the bottom?

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/04/is-parenthood-morally-respectable.html#more

Anonymous said...

He has a good PR person, apparently.
Good message control:
"Bad news travels at the speed of light, good news travels like molasses. "
"They were able to make fun of our bigotry and our racism with The Jeffersons and Archie Bunker and all of that. We were able to laugh at ourselves, but people are crying now."

etc similar words repeated in another interview.

"No matter what, if my son was gay, I’d treat him like a king."
There was an 'even' before that if, but I'm not sure if NYT, or Morgan himself retouched it.

I'd seen him on a talk show in character, but he seems he is trying to dispel the reckless coke-head image[?].

Anonymous said...

Comedians are now starting to ridicule the left as viciously as they used to the right. I knew it would eventually go mainstream. Stanhope is a good example. I wonder how the left will attempt to stem the tide. Comedians can't work if they can't target everyone. Queers, entitlement types, retarded administration, shrill femnists. Waiting for open ridicule and anger directed at Frankfurt School treachery.

Anonymous said...

Sam Kinison did get bad press for saying homophobic stuff so boo hoo Tracey

Marc B said...

This is one of the invisible lines of demarcation between liberals and post-modern leftists. Liberals of the 1970's and 80's were the most vocal free speech and civil liberty advocates. I first noticed their lurch towards PC thought policing during the rise Andrew Dice Clay, which was likely a case of him having the wrong sort of fan base.

Grey Enlightenment said...

"Nowadays people take themselves way too seriously."

A vocal minority does

There are implicit rules about who can joke about which ethnic groups.

Anonymous said...

And after they "apologize" they are never the same.

In fact, that's the mistake most people accused of offending the pc rules make--apologizing. They should just laugh.

BurplesonAFB said...

Tracy is right that a 12 second video clip can really badly distort a string of words which were said in the context of a 1hr standup performance.

Also, I'm the biggest fan of isteve's comedy posts recently.

Anonymous said...

Comedians are told what jokes they can make, audiences are told what they can laugh at. What's wrong with that formula, aside from the fact that the only comedians you can have are unfunny preachy hags like Janeane Garofalo...

Reg Cæsar said...

See! Whites are not powerless against blacks.

Not if they're pervs, at least…

Big Bill said...

Imagine someone transcribed a Lenny Bruce show and delivered it right now.

Would a modem hipster audience laugh or be shocked and appalled?

Anonymous said...

This is a good thing: you shouldn't be able to demean and dehumanize other people or peoples. This is a good development.

Anonymous said...

I heard that's how freedom of speech works in much of the rest of the world. You just got to watch what you say, or else the powerful people will get very supersensitive at you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's not the times that have changed but the people in it. Would those past comedians stop saying things because they were controversial, or keep saying those things BECAUSE they are controversial?

I submit we are just weaker people who run the game in our head and preemptively resign rather than act freely and accept the consequences. Everyone abandons freedom to a few die-hards and that only accelerates the conformity.

Shouting Thomas said...

Yes, I've go to agree.

In the past, people paid a terrible price for challenging the conventional wisdom.

I set out a plan for escaping the fags and fag hags' domination of the office a few days ago, and the majority of the responses were that it's too hard to do.

There is an element of surprise for a lot of people that the liberal bromides of the workplace and academia are enforced with an iron fist. I guess we expected liberals to be better.

That was a mistake.

If you intend to challenge the conventional wisdom, you'd better have a tough skin. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you. Most people are going to tell you that you had the inevitable kick in the ass coming.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic. Steve, you are truly a prophet without honour:

“We have good and trusting relations with the Americans and the Russians, and our experience has been very positive with both sides. So I don’t understand the idea that Israel has to get mired in this,” Lieberman told Israel’s Channel 9 television when asked about the Ukraine crisis.

When White House and State Department officials read these comments, they nearly went crazy. They were particularly incensed by Lieberman’s mentioning Israel’s relations with the United States and with Russia in the same breath, giving them equal weight. The United States gives Israel $3 billion a year in military aid, in addition to its constant diplomatic support in the UN and other international forums. Russia, on the other hand, supplies arms to Israel’s enemies and votes against it regularly in the UN."

via Andrew Sullivan

Anonymous said...

More on Israel/Russia Alliance:

"Ha’aretz reports that the Obama administration is annoyed that Israel puts its own interests first:

White House and State Department officials in Washington have built up a great deal of anger over Jerusalem’s “neutrality” regarding Russia’s invasion of the Crimean Peninsula. Senior figures in the Obama administration have expressed great disappointment with the lack of support from Israel for the American position on the Ukraine crisis and with the fact that the Israeli government puts its relations with the United States and with Russia on the same plane.

The U.S. doesn’t have to be happy that Israel isn’t taking the anti-Russian line that it wants on Ukraine, but it is a little odd that anyone in Washington expected a significantly different response. The administration is free to be disappointed with Israel’s reaction to the annexation of Crimea, but no one should have been surprised by it. This is hardly the only example of how dysfunctional this patron-client relationship has become, but it is an instructive one.

Even if it weren’t the case that Russian-Israeli relations have become much stronger in recent years, it would be odd for Israel to condemn another state for laying claim to territory outside its recognized borders. Like many other states that don’t want to rile Russia over matters that don’t directly concern them, Israel isn’t going out on a limb to uphold a principle that it doesn’t take seriously. Even if a significant number of the current government’s supporters weren’t Russian-speakers with connections to Russia and other former Soviet republics, Israel has no particular interest in upholding the sanctity of other states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. Israel has violated both on more than a few occasions over the decades and reserves the right to do so in the future, so why exactly is it going to denounce Russia for doing things that are in some ways less egregious than its own past actions? Israel stands to gain nothing by antagonizing Russia on this issue, and it knows that risks nothing by disappointing Washington. Besides, the U.S. isn’t obliged to agree with Israel on how best to address Iran’s nuclear program, and has correctly pursued the current diplomatic course over Israeli objections. Why would we expect Israel to line up with the U.S. on an issue that matters even less to Washington? We shouldn’t, so why are so many people in the administration oblivious to this?"

Daniel Larison

Anonymous said...

Looks like Andrew Sullivan is definitely another secret reader of your blog, Steve.

"Large swathes of the Israeli corporate and political establishment have extremely close ties to Russia, in the wake of the post-Soviet influx, and the Russian immigrants are among the most hardline with respect to the Palestinians. And you can see the rapport between Netanyahu and Putin as clearly as you can see the lack of chemistry between Netanyahu and Obama."

Anonymous said...

"Would Lenny Bruce be able to survive now?"

Yes. He faced much worse pressure but pushed back even against threat of prison. He didn't take his freedom for granted. He expected and even welcomed the public outrage against him and took up the fight.

Morgan, in contrast, wants to be 'outrageous' with the approval of the governing elites. He's the phony.

Bruce was willing to risk all for his freedom to be offensive. Morgan is not.

Anonymous said...

'As the Brendan Eich case shows, you have to watch your speech in the light of taboos that don't exist yet, but that may be imposed later.'

The difference: Leftists and Jews in the 50s and 60s got angry and fought back against censorship and blacklisting.
Conservatives today just gripe and wring their hands.

The difference is Jews and leftists didn't take their freedom as a privilege. They saw freedom as something they had to fight for.

Conservatives have taken freedom-as-privilege for granted for so long that they don't know how to fight back when it's taken away. They just get all flustered and complain.
If they want freedom, they better get down dirty and fight.

Anonymous said...

Paul Walker's back too, after a fashion:

"Paul Walker’s Two Brothers Will Fill In For Actor In ‘Fast & Furious 7’"

http://www.businessinsider.com/fast-and-furious-7-paul-walker-younger-brothers-will-complete-role-2014-4

Whiskey said...

What we are seeing with Morgan is the disconnect between political orthodoxy and career.

A guy like Morgan, like Patton Oswalt, like Daniel Tosh, like most comedians, has made it semi-big but not Jerry Seinfeld shut-up-go-away money. They still want the top money, fame, power. The kind of acclaim and cash that sets them up for life.

And to do that, they need to make people laugh. A lot. To the point where their concerts sell out, their comedy albums make a lot of money, they get a hit sitcom that pays them Seinfeld money.

Being PC orthodox is about as funny as Stephen Colbert. Which is to say, not very and I guarantee Colbert's deal is far less than Letterman's. Little known is that both Leno and Letterman as a consequence of NOT BEING FUNNY had to take pay cuts to keep their staff intact. Nice loyalty but indicative that even Late Night which has as its cost the crew and a staff of writers is running out of money. Because the comedians are NOT FUNNY. Not making enough people laugh and thus failing to even cover their costs of star + production costs (crew_ + writing staff.

The only people who can afford to be "comedians" who are PC compliant are those who made a bundle or come from money already: Colbert, Stewart, Letterman, etc. Non-entities who are not competitively funny (Margaret Cho, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, Colbert, Stewart) can also benefit from PC restrictions. Handler/Silverman in particular have the same schtick (aging used-to-be-hot chick saying naughty things and acting slutty).

You can make money making people laugh but that requires violating PC taboos. You can adhere to PC but you will never make it big. Hence the pushback from Morgan and Oswalt among others.

Mark Caplan said...

"good news travels like molasses"

I'd find a safer alternative to "molasses" -- slow, Southern, brown.

How about "good news travels like the maundering electrical pathways through a white supremacist's jumbled brain cells"? That should be safe for now and the foreseeable future.

Cail Corishev said...

This is from an Irish perspective: The worst bit is that you in these countries you get - at best - treated like you're crazy if you so much as hint that your compatriots owe you preference, or at least not getting shafted with cheap competition, because you are, y'know, their compatriots.

It's the same in America now. White-collar workers point and laugh as blue-collar workers are replaced by Mexicans, saying they're getting what they deserve for being shiftless and unwilling to work hard. Blue-collar workers point and laugh as white-collar ones are replaced by Asians, saying they're getting what they deserve for being stupid and soft and expecting a good salary.

We've been divided quite handily along various class lines, to the point where people feel no obligation to or empathy for their fellow citizens outside their own social and economic circles.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"The difference: Leftists and Jews in the 50s and 60s got angry and fought back against censorship and blacklisting.
Conservatives today just gripe and wring their hands. "

Don't seem to recall Herman Wouk doing much in the fight against censorship.....

Mountain Maven said...

You don't like freedom for people who disagree with you. What about All Sharpton and George Soros? Do you want to abridge their free speech? A .majority of Americans believe in the first and second amendments. Do you respect us and our institutions? or do you and your elitist fellow travelers know better than us rubes?

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Thank God!

Thank you, Steverino, for saving this neglected genius from going down the memory hole.

i said junglebunny so this post is whimmed said...

"you can see the rapport between Netanyahu and Putin as clearly as you can see the lack of chemistry between Netanyahu and Obama"

Even so, there's more rapport between Netanhayu and American Jewish establishment than between Netanhayu and Putin. And in the end, it's the Jewish establishment that controls Obama.

Besides, it's good press for Jews to exaggerate the tension between Obama and Netanhayu for it lends the false impression that Jews don't control American foreign policy. So, just because Obama is only 100% pro-Israel than 120%, lots of people are led to believe that Obama is 'throwing Israel under the bus', and poor Israelis and Zionists are helpless to do anything about it.

Jews feel uncomfortable when they are overly praised or when gentiles cravenly grovel at the feet of Jews, as with the Sheldon Adelson's Jewish Republican convention. Such servility only reinforces the notion that, hmm maybe, Jews really do control America. Jews felt nervous about George W. Bush and Mitt Romney acting like butlers of arch-Zionists.

So, even though there are some disagreements between Obama and Netanhayu, the latter is smart enough to see the advantage of Obama playing it 'cool' than acting cravenly servile toward Israel for all to see. Besides, Netanhayu can use the 'tension' to drum up more sympathy among American Jews and offer more false hope to American conservatives that here finally is a slamdunk opportunity for them to win over the Jewish vote in the next election. (In truth, Netanhayu knows that Obama won't do anything to harm Israel and that the American Jewish establishment is fully with the Zionist project and won't allow Obama, its servant, to do anything that might undermine Israeli interest in any meaningful way).

Netanhayu can also use the false perception of the crack between Israel and the US to lure men like Putin who might try to exploit it.
It's like how Don Corleone sent Luca Brasi to the Tataglias to pretend as if he had a falling out with the Corleones and wanted to make a deal with them. The Tataglias didn't fall for it, of course. Likewise, gentiles should be very wary of Jews who play the 'Luca Brasi' game and pretend to be estranged from the 'establishment' and are willing to work with the other side. In fact, Netanhayu and Obama are not enemies. Netanhayu is just huffing and puffing to give the false impression that he's been dissed by Obama and therefore willing to work out deals with nations having trouble with the US.

But in the end, it's good for Jews all around. For for Jews in relation to US, good for Jews in relation to Russia.

Anonymous said...

Bruce was a pioneer, like him or not. He risked much to create a new culture, like it or not.

Morgan is an inheritor. The freedom he's enjoyed as a comedian just fell on his lap as a child.

So, if he wants to work in the spirit of Bruce, he better be willing to be a pioneer and even risk losing his wealth to stand up for the freedom to be outrageous.

Hunsdon said...

MountainMaven said: A .majority of Americans believe in the first and second amendments. Do you respect us and our institutions? or do you and your elitist fellow travelers know better than us rubes?

Hunsdon said: You're new here, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Bruce was a pioneer, all right, and a genuinely funny man. But if he had given equal time to attacking Jews the way he went after Catholics, he would not have prospered the way he did, in money and reputation. All of the comedians mentioned, Pryor included, knew how to pick their targets.

Anonymous said...

""""Post Title says: 'Tracey Morgan's back' """


Uh, when exactly did he leave and for how long was he gone?

Anonymous said...

"But if he had given equal time to attacking Jews the way he went after Catholics, he would not have prospered the way he did, in money and reputation."

Don Rickles made lots of Jew jokes.

And Woody Allen got away with this back in the day:

http://youtu.be/A79N8HfaQV8

ricpic said...

We have freedom of speech but you got to watch what you say.

This brilliant member of the talented tenth has no idea that he's just said something oxymoronic. But he's brilliant. He's brilliant. So brilliant. Just keep telling yourself that about the tenth and you'll be alright with our world turned upside down. After all, you wouldn't wanna be called a BIGOT!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said

"Why do you think the Koch brothers are buying up the media outlets?"

Why, to do battle with Comcast-Time Warner and the Progressives, silly.

" I think people should be able to have someone punished for a hate speech, that is, if *many* people feel it was a hate speech. Maybe like 50,000 people or something."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

"There should also be justice for victims of hate speech, some of them children, many of whom have been driven to suicide."

You Are crazy.

Anonymous said...

"There are implicit rules about who can joke about which ethnic groups."

More and more frequently I've tossed that taboo aside, with everyone I know basically.

I am wondering if others have begun doing the same. Of course I'm retired and don't have to worry about employment but it is quite freeing.

Anonymous said...

"This is a good thing: you shouldn't be able to demean and dehumanize other people or peoples. This is a good development."

I get the feeling were I to know you I would demean you. As for the dehumanizing? Only you can do that ---to yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Conservatives have taken freedom-as-privilege for granted for so long that they don't know how to fight back when it's taken away. They just get all flustered and complain.
If they want freedom, they better get down dirty and fight."

True, but if you believe in HBD, you do know that one reason you don't see protests, sit-ins and the like from conservatives is that they have different temperaments than liberals. This makes it easy for the MSM to ignore us and to ignore the Progressives' corruption.

It's a conundrum: how do people who don't believe in burning buildings, throwing shoes and tantrums, sticking pies in people's faces. occupying city streets get a little respect around here?

Seattle O one said...

If you 'have to watch out what you say' nowadays then you don't have freedom of speech.

Physically being capable of saying something controversial is not the same as freedom of speech.

A North Korean can tell Kim Jong Un that his grandmother put out for American servicemen in the 50s for Marlboros, but he won't because of the consequences. That is not freedom of speech. Nor is keeping silent about things for fear of losing your job, etc.

ogunsiron said...


Marc B said...
This is one of the invisible lines of demarcation between liberals and post-modern leftists. Liberals of the 1970's and 80's were the most vocal free speech and civil liberty advocates. ...
=======================

A highly praised comment from Ross Douthat's article "diversity nd dishonesty" at the NYT :
uwteacher colorado 3 days ago
For Ross, the unfairness is that there is a move afoot to be intolerant of intolerance.

Is it just me or has the Marcusian idea of repressive tolerance become extremely prominent on the Left in the past 5 years or so ? It seems to me to be linked with the arrival of the millenials. Millenials can be extremely, extremely aggressive in enforcing conformity of thought, especially when it comes to lgbt issues.

Anyone else feeling this or things have more or less been the same for a while ?

Anonymous said...

How about "good news travels like the maundering electrical pathways through a white supremacist's jumbled brain cells"? That should be safe for now and the foreseeable future.

Screw. You.

Hacienda said...

No. 3: Russell Peters

on list of highest paid comics.

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eimi45ldg/no-3-russell-peters/

He does a lot of fairly edgy race humour, but in the seemingly disarming way that only Indians and some special blend of Canadian can do.

Maybe white people and to certain extent blacks aren't allowed to be race-baiting assholes anymore. Just another thing that been out-sourced.






David said...

>Jerusalem’s “neutrality” regarding Russia’s invasion of the Crimean Peninsula.<

The USA should be so neutral. And where's our fence?

ben tillman said...

As the Brendan Eich case shows, you have to watch your speech in the light of taboos that don't exist yet, but that may be imposed later.

Yeah, he got slammed with an ex-post-facto prohibition.

Mr. Anon said...

I never found Tracy Morgan to be funny - just loud and obnoxious. His replacement Keenan Thompson is much funnier. And economical too, as SNL was able to combine the fat cast-member slot and the black cast-member slot.

Ray Sawhill said...

Bill Burr is pretty darned daring. There's a lot of his stuff on YouTube. Try this little bit for an example.

Melendwyr said...

'Freedom of speech' is a legal concept that's binding on governments. It doesn't prevent people from objecting to things you say or demanding that private organizations inflict penalties on you. It doesn't protect you from private consequences, only certain kinds of legal ones.

We still do have freedom of speech. What we don't have is a populace that tolerates its use. As usual, 'liberals' are anything but liberal, as 'conservatives' aren't very conservative.

The degradation of the English language proceeds apace...

Otis said...

"There should also be justice for victims of hate speech, some of them children, many of whom have been driven to suicide."

Name one.

Anonymous said...

"There should also be justice for victims of hate speech, some of them children, many of whom have been driven to suicide."

If 'hate speech' has that kind of power, I would use it more often. Imagine if all my enemies committed suicide if I called them bad names.

That would be heaven.