February 25, 2013

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn)
Presumably to celebrate the arrival of the NBA in the Brooklyn, New York assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) dressed up for a Halloween-style Purim party as an NBA player, complete with Afro wig and dark makeup. "“I can’t imagine anyone getting offended," he responded to the deluge of criticism.

The New York Daily News reported in a follow-up:
"In hindsight, I should have picked something else. It never crossed my mind for a split second that I was doing something wrong. It was as innocent as something can be," said Hikind, who drew heavy condemnation for wearing an Afro-style wig and having a makeup artist darken his skin for his basketball-player getup. 
"People in the community were dressed up as Arabs. What was that about?" asked Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who's known for his impassioned critiques of anything he thinks smacks of the slightest anti-Semitism, according to our Reuven Blau, who was on scene for the presser outside the longtime lawmaker's home.

Among the things Assemblyman Hikind has been strenuously offended by in the past is The Passion of the Christ, against which he led a protest outside of Fox headquarters (what Fox had to do with that self-financed movie is not immediately apparent).

The New York Times editorial board members were among those upset with Assemblyman Hikind (for the NBA costume, not for protesting the Mel Gibson movie, although that likely goes without saying).

To avoid such unpleasantness in the future, perhaps the New York Times editorial board should publish a cross-tabulated list broken down into three categories:

A. Which demographic groups are A-Okay for anybody to parody

B. Which demographic groups can never be parodied by anybody, and

C. By far the longest section: which groups can be parodied by some people but not by others. This can be very finely calibrated. For example, Assemblyman Hikind is a Democrat and Jewish (good), but an Orthodox Jew opposed to gay marriage (bad). In contrast, Saturday Night Live put Fred Armisen in blackface for years to do President Obama, with virtually no protests. Was this because Armisen is a little bit Japanese? Or was it because SNL could never think of anything funny to say about Obama?

I would find the NYT's Who-Whom list fascinating reading. 

Or is the entire point that if you need such a list, you aren't the Right Sort of Person?


Anonymous said...

He should have gone as the prophet Muhammad

Anonymous said...

Well.. it's sort of like this.

It makes no sense to parody talkshows and reality shows since they are too ridiculous to begin with.

Same with blacks. It makes little sense to parody them since so many blacks are such self-parodies, often unwittingly.
I mean just look at the clothes, manners, lingo, names, blings, and etc.

No sense parodying the parody.

Anonymous said...

Dat is one nappy-headed schmo.

Anonymous said...

>>Or is the entire point that if you need such a list, you aren't the Right Sort of Person?<<

To paraphrase JP Morgan, if you have to ask, it's not OK.

josh said...

it seems pretty stupid. I think jews like the fact that they forbid others from making fun of blacks,but can reserve the right for themselves.I think this guy miscalibrated his jewish privilege.He looks tho,more like he is parodying the 1st lady than the b-ballers. NOTE to Anonymous: Do NOT be doing black slang less'n you can do it w/o sounding Super-White!! Mmmmkay??It was,btw,Michael Jordan,who was yes a bit funny looking with a full head of hair,who shaved it when he started going bald. Thats kind of when everything started going South,so to speak. Those shaved headed blacks just seemd so hostile.

Anonymous said...


Liberal Zionists have chosen and favored neocons as the new face of conservatism, and too many conservatives went along with the neocon takeover in the hope that if that GOP bent over backward to the neocons, the rich and powerful Jews would come to the conservative side.

Well, how's that working out?

MAtthew said...

"Which demographic groups are A-Okay for anybody to parody"

I.E., why there is a "Book of Mormon: The Musical" mocking Mormons and Mormonism playing at a major Broadway theatre, and which won a bunch of Tonies, but why there will never be a "Torah: The Musical" or "Koran the Musical" and probably never even an "African Methodist Episcopal Church: The Musical," though in the latter case the music would certainly be amazing.

agnostic said...

How quickly the world has changed:

Fletch, 1985

Soul Man, 1986

Trading Places, 1983

"Puttin' on the Ritz," 1983

Anonymous said...

He indeed looks african-american, if by african-american you mean a Libyan colonel who galavanted as an african strongman after distancing him self from arab nationalism.

TGGP said...

I suppose I'm tardy, but the previous thread on the extent of southern antisemitism (and whether jews raised there think it's so bad) made this from Noah Smith relevant. He was raised in Texas, but definitely sees most Texans as the Wrong Kind of White People, and explicitly says that "Django Unchained" is great because it's a revenge fantasy against them. He even realizes that this is primarily an intra-white beef, with Christoph Waltz representing the Good White People who killed Confederates. Smith thinks its significant that many prole whites were cheering the german on, I think all that indicates is that proles like on-screen violence, particularly when someone like Tarantino makes it look cool.

Now I'll be boring and say that while Noah can definitely come off as trollish at times, I actually do find him an interesting thinker worth reading. I just don't think most culture-warriors here will be as interested in his writings on brain modification.

Anonymous said...

Two differences:

1. Fred Armisen is an actor/comedian.
2. Fred Armisen is making fun of an individual, not an entire race (that he doesn't belong to).


Anonymous said...

Always safe: Jeremy Lin.

SNL covered this topic already:


Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two differences:

1. Fred Armisen is an actor/comedian.
2. Fred Armisen is making fun of an individual, not an entire race (that he doesn't belong to)."

Fred Armisen doesn't make fun of Obama. SNL doesn't make fun of Obama. They make fun of how other people react to Obama, but never of him. He is sacrosanct.

Anonymous said...

Hikind also fought to prevent non-Jewish victims from being commemorated at the Brooklyn Holocaust Memorial:


"Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whose mother survived the death camp at Auschwitz, said yesterday that only Jews persecuted during the Nazi reign should be honored at a Holocaust memorial in Brooklyn.

Hikind said even though 5 million people from other groups -- including gays, the disabled and Jehovah's Witnesses -- were killed along with 6 million Jewish people during the Holocaust, the memorial in Sheepshead Bay should be for Jews only.

"To include these other groups diminishes their memory," said Hikind, as he stood next to his 89-year-old mother, Frieda. He said he is not against a memorial to honor the other groups -- as long as it is somewhere else.

"These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regards to the Holocaust," Hikind said following a press conference at the memorial. "It is so vastly different. You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims.""

Auntie Analogue said...

There was scant, if any, humor under Hitler or Communism either, or, for that matter, last night under Seth MacFarlane.

Anonymous said...

The good assemblyman should have proclaimed that it was in fact a Jew-fro wig he was wearing and that all naysayers are antisemites.

Theere, problem solved.

Dov H. said...

You Goyim, er, I mean anti-Semites just pretend to be easily offended.

I would certainly never react that way!ll

Anonymous said...

With the SNL thing, they're usually parodying a particular Black person, not just making fun of Blacks in general like what Hikind was doing.

Anonymous said...

OT but related:

"The Onion apologizes for offensive actress tweet"

The actress in question is a 9-years old Quvenzhane Wallis.

The Onion? Apologizes???

What a difference time makes:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the liberal mainstream no longer allows blacks to be made fun of but finds it okay to make fun of Asians in stereotypical ways. Bill Maher recently did an extended "FU China" bit chock full of stereotypes, for example. And the Inidan guy on The Big Bang Theory is a total cipher. Unlike the other nerds, who at least have some goofy charm and recognizable characteristics, he's just a nothing with an accent (surprised to see on Craig Ferguson the other day that the actor who plays him is fairly charming). I suppose it's because Asians are perceived as honorary white people, with unfashionable white-people characteristics, plus they're docile and won't fight back.

Marlowe said...

How has the Indian Chief member of the Village People gotten away with it for so long?

Remember the Brando quote about the Jews of Hollywood?

rob said...

The posture that 'anti-Semitism' is a special form of race-ism-the only one that has no causes in the behaviors of the disliked group is pretty common for Jewish people. Even (ha!) among Jews trying to march through HBD like Sabril, TUG, or Whiskey. Jews were never fond of blacks. They just wanted shock troops, hence NPod's 'Negro Problem.'

Tank said...

Steve, whatever list the NYT is making up, you're going to end up being the wrong kind of person.

Not that there's anything wrong with that !

Pat Boyle said...

The simple fact is that blacks are inferior. Most of the racial taboos can be understood if you realize that hiding that fact is paramount.

Jews I understand were once closely associated with basketball. The original game was designed for men of normal stature to play. It was designed to emphasize team work. Now it's almost 180 degrees away from that original vision. We have very tall athletes who play as individuals. This new sport favors blacks just as the original game favored Jews. In sports we call it team work. In the rest of life we call it a conspiracy.

But of course basketball is not really important. It's an arbitrary game that does not predict success outside of basketball. The factor that does carry predictive power is IQ - the factor that Jews have and blacks don't. Jews are now inferior basketball players while blacks are inferior at just about everything except basketball.

A couple generations ago everyone accepted the proposition that blacks were inferior, but then that idea went out of fashion. We are not suppose to entertain that idea anymore. I'm not sure just why. There certainly hasn't been a turn around in black culture and behavior. We have a black President but just as much black crime and poverty as ever before.

It was as if we participated in an experiment in which if we all pretended that blacks were just as smart as whites or Asians it would start to become true. But it hasn't.

The results of this experiment is that we have a whole series of taboos over anything that threatens to expose black inferiority. For example, Al Jolson in black-face can no longer sing "When I was a Little Pickaninny". Why should that be? Jolson was trying to be sympathetic to blacks.

Human biodiversity is just a euphemism for black inferiority. Jews in black-face? OK with me.


Anonymous said...

They're not in the same category, Dov?

The category is "dead". They're in the same category.


Jefferson said...

I am surprised it is not considered racist to make fun of Italian Guido culture, because some of those Italians on The Jersey Shore were quite dark by Caucasian standards. They were not exactly as lily pale as Conan O'Brien for example.

And the liberal media says it is always considered racist to make fun of anybody that has even the slightest bit of melanin in their skin.

But I guess that rule does not apply to swarthy Italian Guidettes and Guidos.

alonzo portfolio said...

Those shaved headed blacks just seemd so hostile.

<My experience has been the opposite. I've played b-ball with hundreds of brothas, and almost invariably the ones with whitey problems have a half-inch of nap. Just saying.

Alcalde Jaime Miguel Curleo said...

Armisen's a legitimately talented impressionist though. (I realize modern SNL not being a fearsome benchmark)

Darrell Hammond's Jesse Jackson was really inspired even by his own high standard. Like all the best caricatures it only faintly resembled the real person...

Samson PhD said...

almost invariably the ones with whitey problems have a half-inch of nap

I'm sure there's a decent sociobiological explanation for this, that would get cited on at least 200 blogs

new identity ventures said...

SNL seems to have scant qualms about bashing broad ethnic groups such as Juggaloes

Anonymous said...

This article cleared it up for me:

Armisen's Obama Is a Dana Carvey Rip-off

p.s. The otherwise trite comment about Tina Fey could be intriguing since it was written after election 2010, which seems to have never happened in the alternative universe of the Upper West Side.

no kidding said...

Steve, just consult that giant colored left/right blotter-graph you plastered up here last year, re: the political alignment of fans of NASCAR or pro wrestling or Applebee's. Unflattering observations about the beau ideal would never be comfortable for the core audience of late-night "jokes about the news" programming. For liberals The Daily Show is their church.

Anonymous said...

My high school used to host "thug" themed spirit day. It was banned on the grounds that it insulted a socie-economic group, which despite being somewhat racially diverse, still constitued a "demographic" which had the capacity to be offended.

Many of the teachers had strong to mixed feelings supporting the ban, but the majority of the student body was against it, feeling that the spirit day was a racially ambiguous imitation rather than an insult.

Two lessons can be learned from this:

① Parody of lower class blacks, as parody, is a no-go. Parody of lower class blacks, as cultural incorportation, is OK (which MTV seems to confirm)

② There is a disconnect between the elites and young people on whether insulting a group that isn't an ethnicity or race is bad

Anonymous said...

..Hikind, an orthodox Jew who's known for his critiques of anything he thinks smacks of the slightest anti-semitism...

How sweet it is to see this clown get a taste of the very political correctness he and other Jews have helped to create! How does your own medicine taste!

Anonymous said...

That "We are the exception" belief among Jews rears it's ugly head like always.

Anonymous said...

Looking at this objectively, it can only be concluded that America is now difficult to parody.


Marc B said...

Ask former representative Bob Dornan how great amnesty is for republican candidates. It's such a stupid idea strategically that it's ridiculous that anybody claiming to want to win republican elections would suggest such nonsense. Even legal immigrants tend to vote democrat until the third generation.