Reply to: Re: Colin Powell as Bonapartis

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Sat Feb 3 07:27:38 MST 1996


On Sat, 3 Feb 1996, Rahul Mahajan wrote:

> >Louis: ...(I discovered
> >this tidbit reading the world's greatest Marxist theoretician Alex Cockburn.)
> 
> You forgot the smiley-face, Louis.
> 

Louis: You know, one of the reasons I can't watch any situation comedies 
on the tube is that I hate the sound of canned laughter. I also hate the 
sound of a prompted, jacked-up studio audience that laughs, for example, 
whenever that knucklehead with the big hair tumbles through Seinfeld's door.

That is why I don't use the smiley-face: it is canned laughter for the 
Internet.

I'll tell you something else. I like to make people laugh. Years ago I 
had some interest in writing comedy for a living. I used to write skits 
with somebody by the name of Chevy Chase who made a career for himself on 
TV and bad movies while I sold socialist newspapers door to door in 
housing projects.

But somebody once wrote me some private mail telling me that it was a 
"mistake" to be funny on the Internet, because unless you put in smiley 
faces, other people wouldn't get it and it might lead to 
misunderstandings. Now I am not going to tell you who that person is, but 
I have a feeling you can guess. It ain't Juan Inigo.

I tell jokes because it is part of my personality. It is also part of 
personality to be brash, sarcastic and cutting. By the same token, it is 
part of my personality to be warm and supportive.

The lesbian novelist Dorothy Allison who wrote "Bastard out of Carolina" 
was profiled in the NY Times Magazine section. When told that she was a 
new Faulker, she complained: "Please, if you're going to compare me to 
anybody, compare me to Roseanne. What I have in common with her is that I 
am not afraid to act like a clown, even stupidly, in public as long as I 
can communicate some truth about the human condition." When reading this, 
I said to myself, "Yeah, tell it like it is, sister." Her words explain 
my persona to some extent on this list.

And I am not going to change for anybody.


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