March 16th, 2011

Peter G

Dangers Abound

Seminole, Florida.

Nathanial Zeno, 16, is a student at Seminole High School.

He's been arrested for planning a "Columbine-type" assault at the school.

He told another student "was targeting people that had a history of being cruel or neglectful to animals."

Zeno, a self-professed furry, was studying a book on Columbine, was acquiring maps of the school, and coming up with a list of weaponry he wanted.  According to the Furry News Network, "His entries on the website show Zeno’s level of distress over the past months: He uploaded two pictures of himself. Under one, he wrote, “I know I’m ugly.” Under the other, “I’m hideous.” He listed his personal quote in German, which translated to, “Would die in order to be a real furry.” His tagline on messages: “I’d rather die on paws than live on feet … FFL — Furry for Life (Keepin’ it furry since 1998)."

As the world spins further into the darkness....

This Whole Situation Is For The Birds

Let's talk about comedy for a minute.

Relatively recently, politically incorrect comedy has enjoyed a resurgence.  The reason is simple -- people love to tell off-color jokes.  They like to tell offensive jokes.  They like to tell jokes in poor taste.  Usually, they take measures to make sure no one that might find such things (at the very least) questionable are around.  I work with a lot of different ethnicities and trust me, those jokes are very different than the ones they tell in mixed company.

Now, I want to emphasize I don't fault this.  Everybody does it to some extent.  There are women who tell jokes about how inferior men are, for example.  But there was the question of doing it as a professional comedian or public figure.  We live in an era where name is brand, and people can lose viable gigs.  The solution?  Make fun of everybody.  Extend your target range to include everything and no one can accuse you of being discriminatory.  It's their gig.  Lead by such comedians as Sarah Silverman, humor shifted into a way to tweak the nose of the Establishment.  But unlike the true greats who did it to challenge and change the minds of their audience (Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, etc.), getting the reaction was the goal.  In a way, many of today's "edgy" comedians are no different than idiots like Andrew "Dice" Clay, only with a wider attack pattern.

Comedians who weathered the social chill when comedy became Big Business have found a second life.  Among the comedians is Gilbert Gottfried.  I've never been thrilled with his act.  My first exposure to him was some station promos for MTV and hosting USA's Up All Night.  Pass.

Gottfried's stock in trade (besides a very annoying voice) is being offensive.  Three weeks after 9/11, he made a joke about it at the Friar's Club.  His Twitter feed is chock full of jokes that offend women, Jews, Christians, gays, etc.  Like I said, he spreads it around.

Well, he decided to make some Twitter jokes about the Japan tsunami.

Guess who just lost his job as the voice of the Aflac duck in commercials?

"Aflac announced today that it has severed ties with comedian Gilbert Gottfried.”Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,” Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna said. “Aflac Japan – and, by extension, Japan itself – is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”

Don't get me wrong, I think it's too soon for this stuff.  But I find it curious that Aflac had no problem with any of the other jokes on the feed or the 9/11 joke or the Aristocrats joke, but make a joke about a tragedy afflicting a country where Aflac does 75% of its business, and suddenly they're concerned about sensitivity.

Gottfried isn't the first to stick his foot in his mouth.  I've already mentioned Alex Sulken and his reference to Pearl Harbor.  50 Cent made a surfing joke (they have both apologized).  Glen Beck called the tsunami and earthquake a "message from God" on his radio show.  He hasn't apologized.  Only Gottried is getting his feet held to the fire.  In very suspect fashion.
Lorne The Friend For Life

A Quick Thank You For All The Support

Thank you to everybody trying to keep my spirits up from yesterday's frustration triggered post.  Hugs to all of you.

Also just got off the phone with my teacher.  She was worried, but not that worried.  She said the Josey Wales And The Pussycats post seemed to indicate I was back to my usual humor, but she was checking up on me anyway.  I'll write more about it later.

Just wanted to thank you for being there and giving support.

Family Member

Dear Unnamed Individual In My Family Who Doesn't Read This But I Don't Care Right Now,

It's not prostrate, you idiot!  It's prostate!

At first, I thought I misheard you.  But you said it five times during our phone conversation, so I have to believe that's what you think the word really is.

And you give me shit because you finished college and I didn't.  Jeeeeeezus....

Peter G