Modern communications creates the illusion of intimacy. Millions of people think they know what Brad Pitt would or wouldn't do, or how he left his wife or what he's like as a person.
And they don't.
You have no idea of Pitt beats his woman and kicks his dog. I doubt that he does, but we don't know him. Everything we see of him is second hand, or crafted to create an image.
Now, personally, I don't think he's better or worse than most people, but that is a guess, not experience.
The problem with that is people, needy, desperate people, can become famous and no one who isn't working with them realize how dark and unpleasant they can be.
Everyone assumed that Michael Richards was Kramer, his TV character. They saw him in that way, and assumed it reflected his personality.
But he's an actor. In real life Jimmy Stewart was fearless and John Wayne booed by wounded Marines as a phony.
So we assume that Richard's outburst is some kind of odd outburst and not part of him. But we don't know the real him, the him protected by money and fame. We don't know what is in his heart and if that heart is as black as night.
So when people try to say he's not a racist, or he just lost his temper, or that the audience provoked it.
His tone was deeply racial and mean. I've been called nigger before, but never has anyone said I should be lynched. That kind of hate comes from a feeling of racial superiority, that other people are lower than you (e.g Borat and the Gypsys) and that is the natural order of things. When the two neatly dressed men walked in the group, he said as they did "here comes the blacks and mexicans" They weren't in hoodies, they looked like young professionals. Yet they were racially abused.
But it's not that Richards is or is not a racist which is the issue. It's misanthropy. The hatred of everything, of every one.
Someone who says Afro-American in 2006 is stuck in the past. I would bet this is hardly his first disgusting outburst when challenged. If he had called someone a fat cunt, he might have slid, because that's just bad taste. But his repeated slurs and his imperious comments means more than just disliking black people.
I don't think this is a man who handles failure or correction well. Even with hecklers, you don't call for them to be murdered. This is an unhappy man, who got rich but never grew up. He lives in a white world, and his outbursts have been ignored for years. You don't see his former cast members running to say "this isn't the guy we know". Only Seinfeld, who has a financial relationship with Richards, jumped in.
Probably, because that IS the guy they know. One who can rant at will. One who has some pretty ugly ideas about the world. It's one thing to say "fuck you nigger". which will get you a punch, it's another world to say "50 years ago we would have hung you from a tree with a fork in your ass"
We? Most people would have said, they or the Klan. Not we. We is pretty twisted.
At another point, he says to one of the young men, "Tomorrow, when I wake up, I'll still be rich and you'll still be a nigger."
That's hate, real hate, hate which comes from within. And it probably goes beyond race.
posted by Steve @ 1:04:00 AM