Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two Culture, Two Comedians

Folks we have a veritable conundrum in today's news.

It is a chilling example of how two cultures handle similar issues with totally polarized behavior.

First we have Michael Richards, best known for his role as Kramer in the Seinfeld TV Show. Richards was appearing at a Los Angeles Comedy Club and lost control when dealing with some hecklers. He said some hurtful words to the hecklers and dropped the "N" bomb.

Last night Mr. Richards appeared on the David Letterman Show and issued an apology. However it's hard to accept since we are now suspect of what may be his inner feelings that were expressed in rage.

Here is the AP story:

Michael Richards said Monday he spewed racial epithets during a stand-up comedy routine because he lost his cool while being heckled and not because he's a bigot.

"For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry," the former "Seinfeld" co-star said during a satellite appearance for David Letterman's "Late Show."

"I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this," Richards said, his tone becoming angry and frustrated as he defended himself in a clip from the show played on CBS before "Late Show" aired Monday night. (Watch Richards' apology and why Letterman's show is the wrong place to make amends )

Richards described himself as going into "a rage" over the two audience members who interrupted his act Friday at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. Richards responded to the black hecklers with repeated use of the "n word" and profanities

On the opposite side of the world we have a sliver of sunlight that brought a laugh to many mainstream Middle Eastern residents.

Walid Hassan was a Shiite Muslim that poked fun of the Iraqi government and the feuding factions that have not just disrupted life in Iraq, but have killed hundreds of thousands. He had a daily television show called "Caricature" that was the Iraqi version of Laugh-In and Saturday Night Live.

In Los Angeles...in the United States someone famous opens up their big mouth and spews forth a tirade of the most gawd-awful words. Then he or she is given TV time to explain their actions and apologize.

In Baghdad, under the Jihad being raised by irate and radical Muslims if you speak your mind, you get a bullet in your mind. No chance to recant, no chance to publicly apologize. Bang - bang your dead! Infidel!

BAGHDAD, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi comedian and television personality Walid Hassan, 47, has been killed during an attack in a Sunni section of west Baghdad.

For three years Hassan has been comedy relief for the Iraqi people, finding and giving inspiration in times of turmoil, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

On his television show, "Caricature," he poked fun of poor security, ineffective politicians and the long gas lines among other things.

He was a popular figure among many Iraqis, giving the people of his country an outlet for their anger and frustration. But Monday Hassan became another victim of the war.

He was found in the Sunni neighborhood of Yarmouk in west Baghdad with bullet wounds in his back and head, said the police report.

"He was a star in the galaxy of Iraqi arts," Ali Hanoon, the director of "Caricature," told the Post. "Now, he's another sacrifice on the altar of this slaughtered country

When I was a younger man we faced the threat of Communism, Russia and the impending Red menace that announced, "We will bury you." These turned out to be veiled threats. All the handwringing and fear of the staunchest John Birch member was all for naught.

At my current age, I see the threat of impending radical Muslim jihad and it scares me. It really scares me.

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