"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Reset Chris Rock

Drudge and Sean Hannity have been hammering the decision to have Chris Rock host the Oscars. Particular attention has been paid to a joke Rock did where he spoke of going to pro-choice rallies to meet sexually active women. I'm not a big Chris Rock fan and absolutely hated his movie Head of State, but it looks like he's been quoted out of context here.

Slate fixes the problem. Here 'tis:

What really bugs Drudge isn't the F-words, which thanks to a several-second broadcast delay you're no more likely to hear at the Oscars than a Mike Leigh acceptance speech. It's Rock's politics. In particular, Drudge objects to a stand-up bit in which Rock announces that "it's beautiful that abortion is legal" and says that he likes to pick up women at abortion rallies. "'Cause you know they're"—well, here Rock uses one of those words Drudge doesn't think very classy. Because he knows they're sexually active.

That's some tasteless "S," no doubt about it. Drudge's selective quoting, however, doesn't do justice to the joke. Putting the bit in context doesn't make it safe for the hallowed red carpet (whose purity is defended by the chaste, bare-breasted goddess Jennifer Lopez), but it does affect the meaning. Far from an encomium to fetus killing, Rock's abortion bit is an attack on women for the frivolous manner in which they decide whether or not to keep a child. "When a woman gets pregnant, it's a choice between the woman"—here Rock pauses, a mischievous grin barely restrained—"and her girlfriends." From there: "One girlfriend goes, 'Child, you should have that baby—that man got some good hair…' And the other girlfriend says, 'Child, why we even talking about this—ain't we supposed to go to Cancun next week? Get rid of that baby!' " And that, Rock says, "is how life is decided in America."

The assumption is that women who get abortions are frivolous and irresponsible rather than poor and desperate, as a liberal might have it. Not much there to offend a conservative's sensibilities. Though Drudge claims the academy "went to the gutter" by picking Rock, where it actually went was to the right. Rock may speak the irreverent language of blue comedy, but more often than not, his ideas are red-state red.

2 comments:

Jay D. Homnick said...

The Slate analysis is dead-on correct; kudos to Hunter for importing it to this venue.

Jay D. Homnick said...

And Head Of State was awful, I don't think I lasted until the end, although I enjoyed that my friend Sharon Stone was sort of the reigning-goddess-recurring-joke (in a good way).