I read a report online in the Speakeasy section of the Wall Street Journal today which bothered me a bit.
apparently, and I am summarizing, Maclemore, the unsigned, unlabeled grammy-winning (not that any of that is really relevant to this story) showed up at a surprise show in his hometown of Seattle wearing a..well…odd looking, to say the least, “costume”. Apparently he had no ill-intent (according to his responses on his website), but some people viewed the outfit as inappropriate and as depicting a hurtful and mal-intended jewish stereotype.
Seth Rogan, to me, a very funny, very well crafted joke-deliverer, stated his opinion pretty clearly in a couple of tweets which are, as taken from the Wall Street Journal story, as follows:
Followed up by tweeting that the fake witch’s nose, beard, and wig are items similar to the shopping list for an “anti-Semitic Jew costume.”
First of all I do think that Maclemore is a very, very talented “rapper”. Whatever you label him as, I think he is a talented artist who has a great understanding in meanings, usage and timing in word delivery. That being said, I posted the following comment in response to the tweet by Seth Rogan on the Wall Street Journal story:
“Listen… Seth, man, I’m saying this as both a fan of yours and someone who is anti-segregation and anti racism from my heart..at some point, you have to let go of the hatred associated with things you deem to be representative of hate. Simply ask yourself these three questions before you associate something with hatred: 1) Did they perpetrator/artist clearly state their intent to be demeaning or hurtful 2) Is there any chance that no harm is meant by the words/actions/situation and finally, and most importantly 3) Would a child, one whom is not raised to view everything through a prism of racism and bigotry, just a normal, everyday, life-loving child view this as anything hurtful if they are not trained to see it that way. The reason I say this is the most important of the three is because it exemplifies the point: Something can not hurt you unless you let it. If you are offended by something it is because YOU find it offensive. I have no hatred or stereotypical views of jewish people or their culture, so never, not for a second would I have looked at this costume and thought “wow, this is obviously hateful toward jewish people”. I would have looked at it and said, “man, what a goofball” or “what an odd choice for a costume” but never, and I MEAN NEVER would I have immediately thought “wow, what a BIGOT. You, Mr. Rogan (again, still a big fan!) were the one who assigned hate to the costume for me. It was your words, your observations, and ultimately YOUR VIEWS which introduced any sense of bigotry to the otherwise, in my view anyway, simply silly costume. Let go of your own sense of hatred, and the hatred you associate with words/actions/situations can again become simply what they are :playful and innocent and most of all…harmless.”
It’s true. I really do feel that way. Yes. You can argue all you want to, but…I truly do think Seth Rogan is VERY funny! I just watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno for the first time like two weeks ago and I loved it, as I do pretty much every film I have seen that he has been in/a part of (I really don’t get the people who hate him and or think he isn’t funny, I guess they just don’t get his style, BUT I DO!!) Back to the subject at hand…
I really believe in what I said to Seth above; If we stop allowing things to automatically be associated with hatred and bigotry, we take the hatred away from them. They can go back to being what they really are: just words, or just actions, or just clothes, etc.
Want some proof than I am right, alright you “Clover”, try this on:
Let’s harken back to the old “NINA” days when a young healthy bog-jumper used to roam the streets of a young New York in search of work only to be ridiculed and taunted, beaten and refused work all together anyway just for being a harpie. Most mackrel-snappers were lucky to be coal-crackers, if they were given the back-breaking opportunity to be one in the first place, and struggled to make ends meet. A lot of the female frotches were put to work in the streets to provide for their narrow-backs, if they had any, and were spit on by the same shunful society which forced them and their families into that position in the first place. These were hard times indeed for many of our ancestors, but they muscled through it, and most of all those days of pure hatred towards them and their race is well behind all of us.
Now, if you had any trouble understanding what or whom I was talking about there, it is because you are a helping me prove my point: hatred and the hatred associated with certain words or people or things will eventually die and permanently dissolve if we let it. I am not going to tell you what I was talking about. It is very good that you don’t know (if you do, that is amazing and you have either lived a very, very, very long life or you have managed to travel through time and miraculously also how to use the internet which may be even more impressive given your birth year and I would like for you to please leave a comment so I can send you a gift for being the miracle that you are). However, if you’d really like to know, you can translate for yourself by using this site (I hate perpetuating hatred, but it is only fair that I give credit to my resources).
All of that being said, please people understand that our children only know of hatred because they are taught it, either by home environment or social environment, and they are not born with hatred or bigotry. If we stop perpetuating the hate, it will eventually go away, because it will eventually stop meaning something hateful. If you refuse to be hurt by something said, than it can not hurt you. You are offended only because YOU are offended. It does not offend me when you say the “F” word Seth, not one bit, in fact sometimes it adds to the humor of the situation for me; my grandfather however, would say you are a despicable and humorless person who doesn’t deserve a single dollar you have earned by being “filthy”. I have de-valuated that word, while he would still find it very offensive. There are limits, my eight year old did not watch Zack and Miri Make a Porno with me, but one day, she will and we will both laugh at it…together, but not today.
I welcome your comments, arguments, and insights on this topic. Please feel free to post as a guest or leave your own comments below.