Here’s the latest chapter in the world of offensive content.
Golf Channel analyst Kelly Tilghman said something really stupid on television. She said something to the effect that the only way golfers could beat Tiger Woods was to lynch him in a back alley. She quickly realized that what she had said was insensitive and apologized. Originally, the network let it slide, but then Al Sharpton got upset and she was suspended for a short time. Then Golfweek put a noose on its cover, when it covered the event and the editor of that magazine was fired.
Wow. Here’s my take on it.
1. I think it’s obvious that Tilghman isn’t a racist and that she just messed up. I have no idea why she said it and find it an odd choice of words, but she was ad libbing and it happens. Maybe she had just seen the new movie the Great Debaters, which discusses the lynchings of Blacks and features a graphic lynching. Probably, being from South Carolina, her brain had been programmed to immediately think of a lynching when she considered doing harm to an African American. Either way, I’m sure if she was a writer and had it pointed out to her that she would have immediately been embarrassed and reworded it. What came out was offensive and I don’t particularly have a huge problem with her being suspended a couple days as a mea culpa, but I’d be pretty upset if she had lost her job.
2. I don’t find the Golfweek cover to be racially offensive. Although, I do think that it’s offensive that they were blowing up such a small issue in such a graphic way to make money. I feel sort of sorry for the editor that got fired, because it’s my usual understanding that though ten people may have approved that cover, one person has to fall on a sword for it.
3. Al Sharpton wanted Tilghman fired, because he felt that if she had said something similar about a Jew that there would have been more of an uproar. Maybe, he’s right, but a lot of times Jewish Groups are out of their minds too and I’m Jewish.
It reminds me of two instances that drive me crazy.
1. A lot of people accused Howard Cosell of racism when he called a play featuring Avin Garrett of the Washington Redskins. Garrett is Black and Cosell said “look at that little monkey go.” Cosell’s explaination was totally credible. He said that he often used the term as one of endearment about one of his grandchildren and meant nothing racial. This didn’t satisfy a lot of people. Jesus, Howard Cosell stood by Muhammad Ali when 90% of the Country was calling Ali a nigger draft dodger. By the way he acted throughout his life he deserved the benefit of the doubt.
2. Sarah Silverman got in trouble for telling this joke on the Conan O’Brien show.
“I was telling a friend that I had to serve jury duty and I wanted to get out of it. So my friend said ‘When they hand out the questionnaire, write something horribly offensive like “I hate chinks” then there’s no way they will choose you. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it, to say something so hateful, so I wrote — I love chinks.”
Asian groups went nuts and Conan O’Brien, although not Silverman, apologized for the incident. This type of thing drives me crazy. Silverman was satirizing and showing distaste for racism, but people were either too dim or unwilling to understand that. I lost a lot of respect for Conan, because he sold Silverman out by apologizing, and he definitely knew better, but then again GE has a lot of microwaves to sell.