Tag Archives: epithets

Reaching for Epithets (also: Paladino isn’t Mel Brooks)

16 Apr

Here, Channel 2’s Josh Boose interviews Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who needs no help from anyone to insert hoof in mouth.


It really couldn’t get any worse. If Paladino spent as much time formulating a reasonable reform platform as he does hunting for appropriate epithets to hurl at his enemies, he wouldn’t be in this trouble.

Yesterday, two editorials excoriated Paladino’s judgment regarding the emails – one in the Albany Times Union, and one in the Buffalo News. But the Tonawanda News takes the Sandy Beach tack and calls it no big deal – just a matter of taste.

I reviewed the scant few examples reported by WNYmedia.net that embattled gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino apparently e-mailed to people he knows. They are all visual examples, and many are extremely crude. A couple of them have even been sent to me by friends, and I deleted them because, quite frankly, they’re not funny.

Which means you had the good judgment not to forward them, unlike the local gubernatorial candidate, who found them compelling enough to share along.

One doctored picture depicts the president and first lady as 1970s pimp and prostitute. I can see the humor in that. Of course, I see the humor because I remember some of the characters that TV’s Kojak and Starsky & Hutch dealt with in the 70s.

Could some be offended by that example? Sure.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some people ignore the blatant and obvious racial degradation in that specific example, but it’s quite palpably there. Hint: Obama is dressed up as a 70s ghetto pimp, and the First Lady is dressed as a 70s ghetto prostitute.

But there are also those who are offended by jokes about Irish drunks, dumb blondes — and their Canadian “Nuefie” equivalent — dumb Poles (the predecessor to dumb blondes) cheap Jews, pedophile priests, feeble/forgetful elderly, etc.

That paragraph is an example of the phrase, “digging a deeper hole”. Also, it’s “Newfie“, for God’s sake.

By the way, at least two other presidents have been compared to primates. Several photos of George W. Bush, doctored to depict him as a monkey, have circulated via e-mail. In the 70s, Mad magazine used President Nixon in place of Japan’s “Three Wise Monkeys” who “see/hear/speak no evil.” Although a precedent had been set, to make a similar example with President Obama is apparently wrong. But don’t you dare suggest that the one crying racism is actually the racist for pointing it out. You’re not enlightened.

Because comparisons of black men to simians is patent, blatant racism. Throughout history. I can’t imagine anyone denying that or not realizing that.

So, what’s wrong with Blazing Saddles? The movie that is ranked sixth by the American Film Institute in its list of “100 Years 100 Laughs” is apparently inappropriate, when taking public outcry over Paladino’s e-mails into consideration, because it contains 17 references to the N-word. I guess those people at AFI missed the week when sensitivity training was offered.

Yes, taste is subjective.

Well, here’s the difference.

First of all, Mel Brooks, the writer & director of Blazing Saddles, is a comedian. Carl Paladino is not. They have different skillsets, different audiences, and the public has different expectations from them. Secondly, you really have to be dense to not realize that Blazing Saddles was satire – it was mocking racism, not engaging in it.

Because it’s not addressed, we have to trust that the ethnicity issue with the e-mails were specifically related to or perceived as racism. But we don’t know for sure. The Web site alleges it’s racism, stating “Other emails display an attitude of misogyny or blatant racism — the latter being an issue with which Paladino already has a problem, given his past dealings with and criticisms of Antoine Thompson, Jim Pitts, Byron Brown and Dr. James Williams.”

This is racist. It really isn’t open to interpretation, but thanks for asking.

Yet, Paladino has been on record criticizing several politicians such as Eliot Spitzer, Rick Lazio, Andrew Cuomo, Sheldon Silver, Brian Higgins, Bill Stachowski, George Pataki and Michael Wilton, the former head of USA Niagara Development Corp. I guess that wasn’t necessary to report.

We’ve reacted to Paladino’s criticisms of the feckless Andrew Rudnick with glee. The Tonawanda News must be new to our site, and didn’t bother to check. But addressing the specific comparison here, Paladino never said, “Eliot Spitzer was elected because he’s white”. Or “Sheldon Silver is a corrupt white man”. Yet he has said that Dr. James Williams was selected because he’s black. You might want to look at Boose’s interview at the top of this post once more.

Also referenced in the report were emails pertaining to claims that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States while others “were just pictures of naked women.”

JUST pictures of naked women? Methinks that misogyny comment should be extended beyond Paladino.

As we’ve explained countless times now, we selected emails for publication that went beyond run-of-the-mill birtherism or pornography. In other words, no one reacts with shock-horror if a man like Paladino looks at pictures of a naked Kelly Monaco.

Paladino himself very likely has his own trust issues now. It’s not a crime to share an e-mail, but to me it’s a violation of trust. It’s also a good example of why one should cherish and protect his own privacy.

When you mass-forward an email, you have no expectation of privacy. No more expectation of privacy than when you, say, write an ignorant, childish editorial in your newspaper.