So Much Hate

By now I am sure everyone has seen and heard Michael Richards’ racist tirade at the Laugh Factory. Tonight he appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman trying to explain his actions. I just finished watching his halting apology and don’t know what to make of it.

This is more of an open thread than a post – I am interested in what you think of this. As for me, I am stunned to see so much hate in a man who has given so many laughs to so many people. His anger had to come from some place. You don’t just spew that kind of hate out of the blue.

I think I have watched every "Seinfeld" episode. This just leaves me sad.

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15 Responses to So Much Hate

  1. Rudy says:

    Who knows why people let out racial slurs or insults in some cases they later regret doing so? I was a big M Richards fan but this act was way over the edge. It was much more than a slip of the tongue IMO. I doubt if he will ever be accepted by blacks again as an entertainer as well as most other people. A truly sad affair.

  2. Robbie says:

    This is more than just a slip of the tongue. This is flat-out racism at its ugliest, lowest denominator. You could see that Mr. Richards had malice behind those words in that video clip. In one tirade, he made former Senator George Allen (I love saying that) look like a garden-variety bigot, which is no small feat.

    We all make mistakes but Mr. Richards committed career suicide this past weekend.

  3. heathlander says:

    I can’t believe it! I hadn’t heard about this until I read your post. One of the links I read said that he had been invited on to the stage the following night to apologise and he didn’t. This makes his later apology on David Letterman have a bit less meaning. Obviously what he said is disgusting and the fact that it went on for three minutes means, like Robbie said, tha it was more than a slip-of-the-tongue.

    But he’s KRAMER!! All my Seinfeld-watching is going to be tainted. I just bought the DVD as well…:(

  4. ZaFa says:

    Do you ever feel like there are other Richards under wraps around us?

  5. Robbie says:

    To answer your question ZaFa, yes and it suprised me. Not in a good way, either. [-(

  6. odanny says:

    His rambling explanation on Letterman left me baffled. Is he really nuts? Cause he surely acted like a lunatic on the stage of that comedy club and his apology on Letterman’s show made very little sense, like Richards was trying convey to people he had no control over his actions, like he lost control to inner demons.

    All very bizarre.

  7. i dunno, when i get really pissed off in my car and i’m in a bad mood, i’ve yelled some pretty nasty stuff. and if i had a microphone and the person in the next car could hear what i’ve said, i might be up on charges of war crimes. i don’t think michael richards is a racist (then again maybe i’m one) i think he just got mad and yelled the most base thing that entered his mind and i think everybody here has been guilty of that at one time or another. just my 2 cents.

  8. Robbie says:

    If you read the Huffington Post last night you’d see some more disturbing stuff on Mr. Richards I didn’t know about: anti-Semitic language and wearing blackface.

    Not good, Kramer. [-x

  9. dude says:

    hey, i don’t think in the most ardent rage have i ever called anyone any racial explatives. disparaging things about their family, yes, things about their ethnicity or religion, no!

    i am reminded of an episode where kramer says how he likes to yell out explatives, guess he wasn’t acting.

  10. Mash says:

    epitaph, I would like to think Michael Richards is not racist. Not because I know him personally, but because like many others I feel I know him from his character “Kramer”.

    This whole episode leaves me sad. I do not want to judge a person in his entirety based on three minutes of video. There is no doubt he was angry. But when I get angry, I may say the most awful curse words, but he seemed to have formulated multiple thoughts all along the same line of thinking. That does not seem to me to be random rage. His tirade was not all over the place – its focus and its direction was racist. As much as I try, I cannot get around that conclusion.

    But I also believe in redemption. So perhaps his tirade may end up shedding some light on racism in America in a way that would not happen if it came from someone you would expect to behave that way. We all have fears, some rational and some not. Until we put our fears on the table for discussion, instead of sweeping them under the rug, we cannot even begin to overcome them.

    We are also creatures who can reason. You would think in the 21st century humans would have come so far as to be able to choose reason over fear. Maybe, someday.

  11. mash,
    i appreciate what you’re saying. from my perspective the truly awful thing richards said was the initial lynching comment, which was base, racist, and plain old ugly. after that it looked to me like he was trying to rope it in as a schtick/routine and failed miserably. he obviously works from the seat of his pants and doesn’t use pre-written material. i can imagine that for someone that works that way, on stage and live, and doesn’t have a good enough grasp on how to manage and manipulate hecklers, you’re going to shoot yourself eventually, especially if you can’t always control your mood/temper.

    to be clear, i don’t dismiss or diminish what was said, but for me, again it was the lynching comment he had to apologize for. that was a visceral hatred from the bile in the bottom of our stomach, but the n word crap afterward, that was just a performer bombing badly; a captain trying to steer a ship after it’s hit the iceberg.

    i also believe the sanctimoniousness and self-righteousness i’ve been hearing from all corners about this is insincere and hypocritical. we live in a racist society, especially evident to those of us in urban, heavily populated, multi-cultural, economically diverse environments. and the racism is ingrained in our economy, our language, our politics, our identities. and it ain’t those words (like those that spike lee has his character and danny aeilo’s and john turturro’s and others machine gun off in do the right thing) that cause the damage. the damage is caused by how it’s internalized without even realizing it (by those that spout it as well as those that think it, as well as those that receive it [and personally i think all of us are guilty of all three]).

    thanks for letting me speak my mind. don’t mean to be a troll, the whole michael richards thing first hit me as foul and then after watching it a couple times, and his apology, and what sanctimoniousness i’ve heard/read/seen all over the media and internet, it just left me as sad for everybody.

  12. dude says:

    mash, i hear what you are saying, BUT, even my wee one has consequences to their behaviour, as we all do. yes, people should get 2nd chances, but when you make a living performing, one must realise what one says has a wider audience, reach, and, maybe consequences.

    based on the comments i like others here have been reading on different boards, i was a little shocked at the underlying tension and acute racism that exists in our societies.

    and come onnn, kramer was a character, by no means what he really was, any more than anyone who plays villains is a real villain in real life…

    what this does is bring to the front burner something that only gets discussed when problems arise. it is my belief that there is much underlying social strife that does not get discussed and dealt with. unfortunately, only when events, such as natural disasters, i.e. katrina, and or riots etc do people deal with it, and even then, only until the media shifts focus on something else…

    a good example of this is how media no longer talks about how crazy tom cruise and scientology is… we should be STILL discussing how NUTS tom cruise is.. no personal grudge because he ruined the war of the worlds remake for me, or the fact that those damn scientologists bugged the crap out of me thru their harassment whenever i was going thru port authority…~X(

  13. Mash says:

    epitaph, I agree with you on the lynching comment. I also agree that racism is a lot more subtle than racist words. Feel free to speak your mind here – a little debate is a healthy thing. I don’t censor anyone unless the content is X-rated or illegal.

    dude, I see that you are busted up over Katie Holmes going over to the Dark Side! :d

    Also, I am not saying that there should not be consequences. Redemption does not mean no consequences. But, I do think this episode exposed what is very much a part of our society – racism. Even in my quiet suburban neighborhood, I see it quite often.

    And I agree with you about Kramer, that is why I italicized the word “feel” in my comment. Oddly, I read somewhere that the real Kramer (i.e., the guy who lived across the hall from Larry David) is concerned that the behavior of the TV Kramer will impact his business, his business being a tour of Seinfeld locations in NY. Go figure, you got to love capitalism! $-)

  14. Group Captain Mandrake says:

    I feel kind of bad for the guy, but it’s not like he didn’t deserve it. But his career in stand-up is over…maybe just as well, the consensus seems to be that he wasn’t funny even BEFORE he started using the n-bomb. Maybe there are some comedy clubs in Idaho…

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