[Marxism] RE: Ali G

loupaulsen at comcast.net loupaulsen at comcast.net
Wed Jul 21 09:28:22 MDT 2004

> Calvin also wrote: 
> > Criticising Ali G neither makes one a liberal nor humourless. If the 
> workers 
> > find Ali G funny, then so much the worse for them- I don't, particularly. 
> > God forbid anyone on the left shouldn't pander to the systematic cultural 
> > degradation of the working class. 

> But this is the same mentality that opposes pornography on moral grounds. We 
> don't need left to join the course of religious fundementalistm and 
> prutanism. There is no need to preach the working class not to watch the 
> show. Let them watch it first and make up their own minds. They will then 
> figure out what is right or wrong with the show. 

Well, I haven't seen the show and I never heard of it before it was mentioned here.  However, I must say that I am very impressed by the arguments against it and rather unimpressed by the arguments in its defense.  I admit to being very suspicious of any routine that depends for its humor on a white man dressing up as a Black stereotype.  This was the basis of the Amos 'n' Andy radio show, and of "minstrel" shows for that matter, and they got a lot of laughs in their time too, and their critics (if any) were probably also accused of being humorless PC twits..

I know that subjectively progressive white men can sometimes be tempted to "skewer the stereotypes" by pretending to be stupid Blacks and fooling white racists.  In fact, when I was much younger and somewhat more ignorant, I did it myself once.  Somewhere in my filing cabinets of old trash is a "play" which I wrote once as an entry for a drama competition in college.  I put together three pages of illiterate "Black-militant" nonsense, with the idea that the liberal professors would award it a prize (!) and then I would "expose" their racist patronizing assumptions.  I'm sorry if this doesn't make much sense.  A lot of stuff I did at that age didn't make much sense.  You can see that it is basically the same thing as the "Ali G" routine.  In partial self-exculpation, at least I didn't actually submit it.  

Mine, aren't you arguing that leftists shouldn't write cultural criticism at all, and should just let the workers watch whatever garbage they want without any input from us?  (BTW I don't recall Calvin arguing that workers should be physically prevented from watching Ali G, or that the state should be asked to shut him down, etc.)

Lou Paulsen

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