Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Red Ass

In a recent Rolling Stone, comic David Cross had this to say about Larry The Cable Guy:

"He's good at what he does. It's a lot of anti- gay, racist humor -- which people like in America -- all couched in 'I'm telling it like it is.' He's in the right place at the right time for that gee-shucks, proud-to-be-a-redneck, I'm-just-a -straight-shooter-multimillionaire-in-cutoff-flannel-selling-ring-tones act. That's where we are as a nation now. We're in a stage of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride."

Couldn't have put it better. But I'll add to Cross's take anyway.

Dan Whitney's "character" isn't quite as innocuous as his creator suggests. Larry The Cable Guy hates fags and liberals, and is, at best, suspicious of blacks and Latinos. But Whitney's not engaging in subtle social satire here. Larry is not Archie Bunker or Joe Bob Briggs -- he plays directly to the hatred, fear and bigotry of those white working people who see Larry as one of their own, and Whitney's cleaning up financially in the process. Small wonder that Don Imus is one of his fans.

Now, according to the script, my analysis makes me a "PC White Person" who needs to loosen up, lose the politics and laugh with the crowd. Well, fuck that. I like lowbrow humor as much as anyone. And ethnic jokes do not necessarily put me off. Sometimes stereotypes are true and need to be speared. But Larry The Cable Guy's act is simply awful, on both comedic and political grounds. His fag-bashing is just that, nothing more. And his Kill-The-Ay-Rabs bits are especially repellent, given the ongoing slaughter and torture in the Middle East. His fans do not sit back, cock an eyebrow, and comment on how Larry's a droll caricature of contemporary working class ignorance. They eat his shit up and scream for thirds.

I grew up around guys like Larry, which is why, when older, I fled to New York City to live among fags, kikes, niggers, commies, spics, gooks, and Ay-rabs. Whitney may have found a winning ticket by appealing to racists and idiots, but it's too much for him to ask that the rest of us give him a break. Tell it to your braying fans, dude.