Friday, September 22, 2006

Democrats Continue Kinky Attacks

Spurred by fears that their own candidate could well finish third in the governor's race, Texas Democrats are still trying to make the argument that Kinky Friedman is a racist. This time they have gone back 26 years and found an old comedy routine in which Kinky makes fun of Texas' racist attitudes. It seems that he used the "N" word in telling the joke. Of course, in the eyes of Chris Bell supporters, this makes Kinky a racist.

Fortunately, I believe Texans are starting to see this as the nonsense that it is. Today, Bob Ray Sanders stepped up to defend Kinky against these attacks. Sanders is probably the most liberal of all the Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnists, but he sees this act of desperation for what it is - a brazen and untrue political attack. Here is some of what Sanders has to say, "Come on, ya'll. There may be plenty of reasons not to vote for Kinky Friedman, but him being a racist is not one of them, namely because he is not. He may be -- he is -- a lot of things, but not a bigot. I know satire can be hard to comprehend and, even if one understands it, hard to follow. But that's what the man does....To his credit, he doesn't backtrack on the things he says, even if it may cost him some standing in the polls and ultimately some votes....How you vote is up to you, but by all means vote based on some authentic issues facing this state -- not because a humorist refuses to be politically correct."

Sanders is right. Kinky is not now, and never has been a racist. However, he is a satirist who uses humor to attack the evils in our society. As an example, Kinky has a song titled "Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed". But you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that Kinky is not opposing women's rights, but instead making fun of those who do oppose women's rights.

Even the Libertarian candidate can see through this nonsense. James Werner says, "It seems like an unpleasant remark, but I have seen nothing to indicate that Kinky is a racist or a bigot. People say stupid things all the time - but they don't always have Republican attack machines scrutinizing their every utterance." Of course, this time the attack machine trying the hardest is a Democratic one.

Kinky's campaign spokeswoman, Laura Stromberg, sees it like this, "The latest political assassination attempt takes completely out of context a controversial word that Kinky was using in a 1980 stand-up performance to lampoon racists. Kinky was onstage opposing bigotry through comedy and satire. It's pathetic that the major-party candidates have sunk to this, trying to paint Kinky as a racist when, in fact, he was poking fun at racists....While Rick Perry was cheerleading in college and Chris Bell was being potty trained, Kinky Friedman was picketing segregated resturants in Austin to integrate them. Now that Kinky's in second place and a serious threat to the two-party system, Perry and Chris Bell have paid political assassins digging back 30 years through fictional books, comedy shows and song lyrics, desperately seeking to paint Kinky as a racist."

Kinky himself says, "...of course I don't want to apologize. When you're doing a stand-up act satirizing racism, you don't apologize for it....I've always been an equal-opportunity offender....You can't stop being an author and just become governor. The salient point here is the truth flows from the music, through the books...people that are offended by anything like that, they definitely got other choices, and that's a good thing."

Kinky offers no apologies. I'm glad, because none are needed.

17 comments:

  1. I am a Bell guy, at least right now I am. I will vote for whoever is running second. I find this racist crap an attempt by Bell and Perry to not build their campaigns up but to shoot down Kinkys campaign. I really dont care for Kinky, but not because of the racist junk. But, if hes running second come election day, I will vote for him. Anyone but Perry.

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  2. Keep in mind not every Democrat thinks he's a racist. I'm one of the many you just think he's a talentless buffoon with absolutely no sensitivity and even less ability to lead and no ability to be governor of the second largest state in the country.

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  3. jak & mc -

    Thanks for commenting. You have every right to dislike or not vote for Kinky - I respect that. I just think this racist stuff is a cheap shot at a good person.

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  4. I'm glad you mentioned "Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed." Didn't the National Organization of Women have some objection to that song?

    It seems to me that, on the one hand, it is not unreasonable for an entertainer to write songs and books which some people find amusing and some people find offensive; some people liked Andrew Dice Clay, some didn't, right? On the other hand, it seems like those people who find the song or joke or comment in a book offensive should be 100% free to vote against the muscian, or author, or comedian. If Andrew Dice Clay was running for office, I would be quite surprised if some portion of the voting population didn't decide to vote against him based on some of the jokes he did as part of his comedy routine.

    I wouldn't personally vote against Kinky because of his lyrics to the song "Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed." But if someone else found that song more offensive than funny, should Itry to talk her out of voting for a different candidate? I don't think so.

    Now take three of Kinky's comments that are all over the internet:

    1. "Then I come down to Houston, I went to a bowling alley. I couldn't go bowling, there were no bowling balls. The people here throw 'em all in the sea, thought they were nigger eggs."

    2. "It's like what old Abraham Lincoln said once he sobered up, ya know... 'I freed the what?'"

    3. "Yeah, reminds me of old Jimmy Carter's Christmas card that he sent to Khomeini some time ago that said 'Ho Ho Ho, the Niggers were the spies.'"

    To me, these jokes aren't very funny, but I woudn't rule out that someone else might find them funny (probably not someone very mature or someone who I'd enjoy spending much time with, but someone).

    To me, these jokes are more racially inflected than racist, but I wouldn't quibble with anyone who called them racist (particularly #1 and #3). I especially wouldn't quibble with any black person who found them racist because sometimes a person's approach to a situation depends on whose ox is being gored.

    Would I talk someone out of voting for a candidate who made these jokes to a concert audience many years ago (but not so long ago that the word "nigger" was widely considered acceptable back when the comments were made)? No, I wouldn't.

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  5. You quote Bob Ray Sanders saying "To his credit, (Kinky) doesn't backtrack on the things he says, even if it may cost him some standing in the polls and ultimately some votes."

    The 9/9/06 San Antonio Express-News quotes Kinky saying "As it happens, the crackheads and thugs who remain in Houston after Katrina happen to be black; that's fact."

    But the 9/13/06 Dallas Morning News quotes Kinky saying, "I never said what color their skin was.... I'm smarter than that."

    Can somebody help me reconsile these comments?

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  6. "Spurred by fears that their own candidate could well finish third in the governor's race, Texas Democrats are still trying to make the argument that Kinky Friedman is a racist."

    Are you stupid or a kinky supporter?

    Pull your head out of your ass and smell the cigar smoke.

    My gosh. Give it up already.

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  7. Here is one of the problems with Kinky. His supporters care who comes in second. I'm ONLY interested in who comes in first.

    Bell is the only one who can possibly beat Perry for three reasons: because Bell will benefit from the straight party ticket and pre-established base vote boost; and because Kinky has ZERO support among minorities (mostly due to his anti-immigration and anti-equal-access-to-college policies and not due to the recent news stories) and he is hemmoraging support from women ever since his appearance on Dan partick's raido program; and because Strayhorn's gambit is not working because Perry is holding over half of the Republican base and Bell is holding over half of the Democratic base.

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  8. 2 questions.

    Are Kinky's comments more or less damaging than Clayton Williams's comments which cost him the governorship in 1990?

    Is Kinky's "negros talking the themselves" youtube video more damaging than George Allen's "macaka" youtube video?

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  9. TT:

    More offensive but less damaging than Clayton's comments (will drive Kinky from third place finish to fourth)

    Equally offensive but less damaging than the macaka video because Allen was on track to win before "macaka" but Kinky was going to lose anyway before "negro is a charming word."

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  10. I think Kinky's comments are far more harmful because I already knew Claytie was an asshole before his comments but Kinky's comments changed the way I felt about him.

    I think the youtube videos are of equal harmlessness because Allen will win despite the macaka video and Kinky was going to lose anyway before the negroes in prison video.

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  11. If Kinky isn't going to apologize, I wish he would at least explain the apparent discrepancy between his quote in the 9/9/06 edition of the Express-News ("As it happens, the crackheads and thugs who remain in Houston after Katrina happen to be black; that's fact") and his later coments in the DMN ("I never said what color their skin was").

    That would help.

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  12. Kinky's comments are worse than Williams's, but the Allen's youtube was worse than Kinky's.

    Allen loses; Kinky comes in fourth.

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  13. Ten questions:

    What is Kinky's view on affirmative action?

    How about his position on the top 10 percent college admissions rule?

    What level of support was Kinky receiving in the black community before the recent controversy?

    Do you think Kinky's support in the black community will go up or down as a result of Kinky's comments?

    Do you believe the election will be close?

    In a close election, do you think any candidate can win with support from less than 10% of the black community?

    Do you personally tell jokes with the word "nigger" in the joke when you are in the company of black people?

    Do you personally tell jokes with the word "nigger" in the joke when you are in the company of white people?

    Have you ever been to a Kinky Friedman concert where anything close to 10% of the audience was black?

    If I find Kinky's "Negro in prison" comment offensive, and I believe a white person telling jokes about "niggers" to a white audience 20 years ago reinforces my feeling that the joker does not have my community's best interest at heart, and I'm starting to think it may be more than a coincidence that the same joker also supports policies harmful to the black community, do you think it's my prerogative to vote against Kinky?

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  14. lamont -

    1. I don't know.

    2. Kinky is opposed to the 10% rule.

    3. Very little.

    4. Probably go down.

    5. Yes, it will be close.

    6. Republicans do it all the time.

    7. No.

    8. No.

    9. Haven't been to one in many years - don't know how many Blacks were there.

    10. It's always your right to vote as you please.

    Thanks for dropping by.

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  15. Thank you for the courtesy of answering my questions.

    If we agree that I should have the right to base my vote on my evaluation of Mr. Friedman's statements (both his recent statements and his statements from some time back), how can we criticize anyone for spreading this information?

    I personally found Mr. Friedman's statements reflect a lack of political judgment. It seems as if Mr. Friedman is running for class clown, and not to represent me and my family as our governor. I most certainly did not find Mr. Friedman's comments on the CNBC program racially neutral, nor did I find them charming.

    I have been telling my friends and family about these comments because, if they affected my evaluation of Mr. Friedman, it is fair for me to conclude that those comments may equally affect the judgments of my peers.

    By sharing the information which I consider relevant to my selection of a candidate for governor, I am doing the very same type of thing which you are doing with your blog. How, then, can you say that those who are sharing this information are "swiftboating" Mr. Friedman? I would never pass along false information to my family and friends, but I will proudly pass along the truthful information which I judge to be relevant to their intelligent execize of their vote. In this regard, I take exception to your use of the word "swiftboating" to belittle the efforts of community activists who are doing their best to inform voters with information which is true and which they judge relevant.

    Thank you again for allowing me to express my disappointment with your comments and for your courtesy for answering my questions.

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  16. Lamont gave me this information.

    I did some additional research on my own, and I found these comments from Kinky:

    "You folks know the Friedman family motto now- The Jews own the world, the Catholics run it, Protestants work it, and the Niggers and Mexicans enjoy it basically that's what they've done."

    "They took me to the Ben Talb hospital now- when I came to the doctor told me, 'Kinky, we've had to give you a transfusion with the blood of a person of the Negro persuasion.' I said, 'well that's moderately unpleasant.' He said, 'well yes Kinky there's a good side to this, too. There's some good fringe benefits. Your welfare check will start coming in next month and your penis just grew 12 inches so these are some things you should think about.'"

    That is NOT satire.

    That is something I expect from juvenile fraternity boy comedians, and not something I expect from a political candidate who believes he can fairly represent me and my family.

    These statements may not convince me that Kinky is a racist, but they do convince me that Kinky must not be elected governor.

    I ask you to imagine that you have a seven year old daughter and a four year old son. My daughter is old enough to read the newspapers. How do I explain this to her? If she repeats this to my son, how do I explain this to my boy?

    If you agree it will be hard for me to explain these comments to my children, just imagine how hard it will be to explain to them how a man can get elected in Texas even after he has made these comments.

    You can call it satire or say the comments need context, but you sit down with a child, look her in the eyes, and justify these comments.

    Then come tell me whether or not you understand how I feel.

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