Friday, February 20, 2009

Boycott the New York Post!!

I'm sure that most of you have heard about what happened in Stamford, Conn., this past Monday:

Sandra Herold's "pet," (maybe even paramour) Travis the chimpanzee, violently attacked her friend, Charla Nash, who's now recovering in the critical unit of The Cleveland Clinic. Travis was shot and killed by the police soon after the attack.

Sean Delonas, whose best known for his satirical cartoons that appear daily on "Page Six" of the New York Post, has received nationwide attention for the cartoon published this past Wednesday (shown above).

(Choose "February 18th, 2009" to view a larger image of the editorial cartoon):

The cartoon shows two police officers standing over a dead chimpanzee and the caption above reads, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," which links the "Travis the chimpanzee" incident to the stimulus bill written by President Barack Obama. That's the punchline. I'm not laughing.

Delonas and the Editor-in-Chief of the New York Post both stand behind the cartoon and its satirical intentions.

When you look closer at Delonas' cartoon, you'll also notice a "Beware of Dog" sign hanging off of a post. Probably just a weird coincidence--or is it?

I thought about brushing it off as just another form of institutional racism that I've learned to live with in America. But as the day grew longer, so did my anger, my rage. I was enraged not only because of how this seemingly intelligent cartoonist could pass this cartoon off under the guise of satire, but more so because I didn't feel like I could do anything about it.

For years, America has involved black people in their sick sense of humor: coon songs, blackface, minstrelsy, bulging eyes, smiling white teeth to hide the fear and pain, and one-dimensional characters on film and television (butlers, mammies, buddy roles).

Just like the penultimate scene in Spike Lee's film Bamboozled, when will black people finally shout, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"?

Now is the time to shout and demand real change. Don't do it for President Obama. Do it for yourself. Do it for our children.

Stop supporting companies that do nothing to support and uplift the black community. We have the power to cut off any and all financial support to these companies, who continue to not hire us, to demean and ultimately ignore us altogether.

Stop buying the New York Post!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I WAS THERE . . . Paul Mooney @ Carolines on Broadway, 02/01/09

There wasn’t a stadium-packed crowd here tonight at Carolines on Broadway, mainly due to the fact that it is Superbowl Sunday. The crowd is definitely an intimate one, where at every turn you can easily see the range of people: old, young, white, black, etc. We all had one thing in common that night—to laugh our asses off in order to forget about the real world for just a few hours. And with tonight’s headliner, the legendary Paul Mooney, we were geared to do just that. Mooney has written for several shows, including In Living Color, where he created characters like “Homey the Clown.” He started out in comedy by writing for his longtime friend and perhaps the greatest 20th century comic, the late Richard Pryor. In recent years, he’s gained younger fans from his appearances on Chappelle’s Show. Despite his many years in show business, Mooney has never considered himself to be a “star”: “I’m not Hollywood, I’m neighborhood,” he states proudly. Mooney never censored his voice as both a writer and comedian in order to gain mainstream acceptance. His gift as a comedian is his fearlessness. He is not afraid to make the subject of race the focal point of one of his shows and people can relate to him. We all related to him tonight because there’s no pretense, no need to hide anything. Instead, Mooney is engaged in a conversation with his audience and we’re all eager to listen to what he has to say.

Shannon J. Effinger