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Colorless Friends You Can’t Get Rid Of

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Blessedly, a final season of Friends. Alright, go already. Be gone. And take your syndicated re-runs with you. What do I have to do to get rid of you? I’m just about ready to put on a Captain Beefheart CD.

I’ve always hated this show. Not really hated, for that is an active emotional state. More like the Martian hate of Stranger in a Strange Land, the kind of bitter hatred that might best be described as “mild distaste.”

I charge Friends primarily with the crime of being colorless. Let me just expound by copying and pasting from dictionary.com: they are characterless, dreary, dull, insipid, lackluster, lifeless, prosaic, tame, unmemorable, unpassioned, vacuous, vapid.

In short, they have the blandest show on television, give or take the insipid Everybody Loves Raymond. These characters have no personality. They are the blandest bunch of nothing imaginable. Howard Cunningham had more flavor.

Still others have a perhaps not entirely different argument against Friends being “colorless” on the basis that none of the principal friends is black. It is apparently at least a misdemeanor hate crime to have any show without a major black character. You remember when we all voted on that, right?

I really don’t see the merit in this lament about blackness. Keeping the argument all in the family, let’s refer this to fellow Blogcritic Dew, and her cleverly titled column “Friends Race Against Time.”

“Blacks have a problem with the lack of color as its being referred to here because where do we get to identify?” Apparently black folk can’t or shouldn’t identify with a caucasian character. Hmm. From my side, I have no trouble at all identifying with, say, Bernie Mac.

Here’s a particularly prime bit of NONSENSE from our Dew:

I think you would have to be black to understand

Why is that? Do you have some special superior black people logic that goes over whitey’s head? Or do you wish to make an epistemological argument that knowledge is based on emotion, and further that being an American of African heritage in 2003 is uniquely oppressive so that no other kind of human suffering would suffice in giving you the ability to understand the horrible injustice of not seeing any black Friends?

Oy, the suffering! Will this torment ever end? By that I mean the whole show, not any non-existent black characters. Thankfully, yes. Just this ONE more season.

But then again, one of these Friends fools already has a new show for the fall. I bet he’ll be up to his ass in black folk, doing penance for the Friends collective hate crimes of exclusion. Watch and see if they don’t absolutely literally come up with, in the infamous words of James Watts, a woman, a black, two Jews and a cripple.

But why would a black or any other hue of personhood want to watch this crappy bland show in the first place- much less a sequel, when they could be watching any of The Original Kings of Comedy? See, these guys are actually FUNNY.

You want something to bitch about, Fox has cancelled Cedric the Entertainer Presents. Now THAT sucks.

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  • Al! Al! Al! You were doing fine until the fifth graf. Then, you stepped in a steaming cow paddy. (Or perhaps it was goat poop, knowing your preferences.)

    Friends and Ray are the kind of colorless shows I don’t watch. I do mean colorless in the sense you started out using it — uninteresting. Among my all time favorites have been Frasier and The X-Files (early years). Neither was a bastion of ethnic diversity, but each was a very good at its kind of theme. Shows without people of color need not be colorless.

    However, I don’t believe Dew’s remarks are without merit, as you imply. Shows with large casts that lack minority characters are noticeable in a society with more than a quarter of people of color in the population. I believe that is particularly true when the program focuses on youths, who polls show have much less prejudiced views than their elders.

  • Dew

    I feel like the critic who was quoted as saying Gigli was “first rate” when they actually said Gigli was “first rate garbage”

    There are Blacks who do not watch the show because they feel there is no one on that show to identify. I am not speaking for an entire race of people, which Al I think you should appreciate. What I am speaking on are the mass of Blacks who have a problem with this show and the reason they give for having a problem with it: No Blacks.

    And from the comments I continue to see from whites who don’t understand why that is, apparently you do have to be Black to understand.

  • Dew

    Oh yea and Cedric the Entertainer is FUNNNNNY, Cedric the Entertainer presents…was not

  • Don’t think that I’ve watched a single episode all the way through of Friends. Something about the backdrop and characters just never really interested me.

    However I never watched STNG either until the DVDs came out and then my opinion changed when I watched the shows back to back.

  • Mac, I made a statement disagreeing with a complaint from an official person of color, therefore I am by definition The Goat. I acknowledge my badness.

    However, my people are from Kentucky, so you might need to dumb things down a little bit. I’m sure I committed some crime against decency, but what was it? Exactly what is my offense?

  • Dew, I’m not sure I understand your complaint. I am not speaking for an entire race of people, which Al I think you should appreciate. What I am speaking on are the mass of Blacks who have a problem with this show

    Are you saying that you personally don’t feel the racial grievance over Friends, but are explaining what most African-Americans would say? That’s the best sense I can parse out of the words. But how would that be NOT “speaking for an entire race of people”?

    I’m not even disagreeing with you here. I simply don’t understand what it is you are intending to say.

    How am I misunderstanding you bad enough to get comparisons to purposefully dishonest movie ads? I’m TRYING to understand your intended meaning. However, as has been mentioned previously, my people ARE from Kentucky. Work with me here.

  • My people are from North Carolina, but we ain’t dumb.

  • As the great white philosopher Forrest Gump oraculated, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    I’m just saying that while Kentuckians may not have the top reputation for mental prowess, neither have we elected Gray Davis governor nor run up 10s of billions of dollar deficits in state budgets. I’m just saying…

    North Carolina, on the other hand, certainly has fairly high reputation. Top obvious arguments for North Carolina, in order 1)Dawn Olsen, 2)Andy Griffith, 3)Jesse Helms, 4)Ben Folds. But now I guess I need rebuild the NC list to include Miss Diva.

  • Al,

    Even though I’ve never seen Friends it does seem bland to me based on the commercials I’ve seen for it. So I never had any incentive to check it out. I agree with your comments on people being able to identify with characters regardless of race too. But I’d like to make the point that identifying isn’t even necessary to enjoy a show. You may want to watch something that is totally out there just as an escape, or to see how other people live, etc.

    As for the “it’s a Black thing…” comments. Believe it or not Al, there are some things that non-Blacks would likely never understand or feel like Blacks do. Certain things are impossible to feel if you haven’t lived your entire life under certain conditions. Some examples: the feeling of not being able to get a taxi; having police profile you; being ignored by salespeople (ever seen those hidden camera news spots?); being the only non-White face in a class or the whole damn school; people thinking you only got into a good college b/c you played a sport or b/c of AA… It’d be very hard for White people to truly understand the feelings those things evoke. It’s not about superior logic, it’s about life experience & emotions. There are things that you or some other Whites might feel that Blacks wouldn’t understand too.

    As for Cedric’s show, it deserved to be cancelled IMO. I was really disappointed in it. (I will miss the dancers though!) Now Dave Chappelle’s show is funny. That’s what Ced’s show should have been.

  • If it took place in Vermont or Vail, it might be understandable (though not excusable). But Friends takes place in NYC.

    The funny thing is Farai used to live in the building they use as the outside of their apartment.

  • Dew

    Al, I like Friends. The Black people who I have come across that do not like the show, have said they do not because there are no characters of color on the show. Simple enough for ya?

  • Mike said something I can testify to. Just last week, a neighbor refused to let me into the building where I live. I was juggling two grocery bags. My other reason for motioning to her to open the door was her dog (not allowed in the property, incidentally) was trying to break free and run outside when the door was opened. She sneered and refused to open it. After I used my own key to enter, I told her where both her and her mutt could go. This is the kind of white privilege attitude people of color encounter regularly. All of us. The ones who do the ‘white folks are so-o–o wonderful’ rap are lying ‘tween their teeth.

    I haven’t searched for the latest stats, but as of a few years ago, the top ten shows viewed by whites and top ten shows viewed by African-Americans were completely different. If that does not speak of alienation, as Dew suggests, I don’t know what does.

  • Jane Ripley

    A friend once told me that all you need to do to clear a party of namby pambys was to put on “Trout Mask Replica.” Only the truly elightened would stay to listen to this odd masterpiece.

    Hypothetically, if we were to try this experiment on the set of “Friends” last year, maybe we would have been spared another season of their idiocy.

  • Damn Jane, what a great idea. Perhaps you’d like to accompany me and a boombox full of Beefheart on a trip to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond.

  • I like to think of myself as completely uncool, so this little litmus test confuses me: if you like Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, you are cool; if you like Friends, you are not.

    Is it possible to like both? Of course it is. But that’s the problem with hipness. Hipness is all about screwing people into little boxes.

    To me, words like hip, with-it, or cool have come to be synonomous with being trendy, immature, adrift in the winds of shifting opinion, and completely alienated from one’s own thoughts or feelings. It means insecurity; it means the dread fear of being thought out of touch, and I personally have come to the conclusion that being out of touch is one of the things I do best. Being in touch, being hip means being married to the status quo; it means looking at the latest issue of Esquire or Rolling Stone or Details or some other cultural arbiter and hoping to God that you stack up, that you’re closer to Hot than Not Hot. And it has always been Hot to dig Captain Beefheart and Not Hot to dig “Friends.”

    Well fuck that and fuck it hard.

    Being uncool, unhip, and out of it, I like “Friends.” I laugh at it. I think it’s one of the funniest shows on television and I like all the characters. There’s no difference between liking “Friends” and liking “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Taxi,” or “NewsRadio,” considering the same man, James Burrows, had a creative hand in all of them.

    I like “Everybody Loves Raymond,” too — except for the guy that plays Raymond’s brother; him I find grating.

    I bought Trout Mask Replica a number of years ago and gradually came to kinda sorta like it, to respect it in sort of a distanced way. It’s a record that takes getting used to, because it’s so different than anything you’ve heard. I loaned it to my daughter’s teacher some years ago, and she took it with her when she moved, unfortunately. I started mourning the loss of it just this weekend, because I was listening to another record made around the same time and produced by the same man — Frank Zappa’s Uncle Meat. These are works of absolutely extraordinary minds who soaked up everything and who seemed to have been especially influenced by Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman, and tried to reinterpret them in somewhat rockish ways.

    Unfortunately, liking these records puts you in a cultural mold, one best exemplified by the Al Bargers and Jane Ripleys of the world; this idea that if you like Trout Mask Replica then by definition you don’t like “Friends.” It’s one of those assumptions people make that are just so wrong-headed. Similarly, people think if you love the music of Frank Zappa you also like his movie 200 Motels, which is possibly the worst film ever made. (In fact, all the musicians I love — Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Frank Zappa — are terrible, terrible filmmakers, from what I’ve seen.)

    So, to sum up, go with your gut and epater le hipoisie! Laugh loud, long and heartily at Joey’s lunkishness, Monica’s obsessiveness, Phoebe’s spaciness, Chandler’s snarkiness, and the mix of girlish naivete and overly-educated dullness that make the blissful on-again, off-again pairing of Rachel and Ross. Then crank up “Nine Types Of Industrial Pollution” or “Dog Breath, In The Year Of The Plague” from Uncle Meat. Then settle back and watch “Will and Grace.”

    With any luck, the hipsters will leave your house and never return.

  • andy

    so, as a white person, I’d never be in that situation where someone’s just an ass and won’t open the door for me? It’s just a racial thing? Come on. People are asses. Period. Whether you’re black, white, hispanic, doens’t matter. Assness is color blind. Welcome to the 21st century. People aren’t nice. I was the only white person on my block when I lived downtown. What if I said it was a race issue when my car got broken into twice, or my alley was chosen as a heroin drop off point, or when my friend got mugged outside of my apartment? Give us “white folk” some credit Mac. We’re trying to better ourselves and move on. It seems like you’re the one holding on to something.

  • andy

    Another point…

    It’s a great racial crime to not have black people on “Friends” or something, but when the WB put a show on like the Wayans Brothers”, and the only white character on the show’s name was “Whitey” and was made to look like a complete fool and country bumpkin, that’s ok?

  • Well, I can understand why she would think that was the case. Law professor Patricia Williams once wrote about how when she would try to go into the exclusive clothing stores in SoHo which always had locked doors, she wouldn’t be let in.

    I’m sure some people working on Friends would like Trout Mask Replica.

    The guy who plays Ross, David Schwimmer, just directed a play of Studs Terkel’s book Race at the Lookingglass Theater company in Chicago. I wonder if he talked about the issue of race and Friends in any the press around the production.

  • Sometimes, I wonder how even white folks (who are very tolerant toward other white people) can tolerate “Andys.” Between the stupidity and the bigotry, I would be like “Outta here, dude.”

    Rodney, your point about the whole arbiter of coolness thing is well thought out. I hope you posted that as an entry to your blog, too. My own reason for not watching Friends is just lack of interest, I think. And Zappa is still my arbiter for irony done well.

    Steve, thanks for handling “Andy,” so I wouldn’t have to. Anyone clueless enough to think people of color are victims of crime less often than white people would have been in for a drubbing from the Diva. BTW, used to run into Pat Williams a lot back in my Critical Legal Studies days.

  • andy

    I’m sorry…what part of my statement was racist again?

  • Eric Olsen

    I can easily see all sides of this, and while I have no problem believing life in America is still different on some fundamental levels for people of different colors, I also think Andy is getting a bad rap here. I believe all he was saying was that crime, indifference, lack of courtesy, etc., don’t necessarily have to do with race, unless I am misunderstanding something.

    What people of color sometimes forget is that there are all kinds of discrimination and prejudice: by class (NO ONE likes poor people), by culture (who do you think the clerk in an upscale Beverly Hills boutique would serve first: a well-dressed, sophisticated middle-aged black woman, or a tattooed, pierced, smelly, mohawked, snarling young white man? Race is not the answer to this one), by ethnicity (I would guess most white Americans would feel more in common with a black person of similar socioeconomic status than some “foreigner”), etc., etc.

    Race still counts, some experiences are peculiar to people of a certain race, lynching only ended less than 50 years ago and “Strange Fruit” still rings a very ugly bell, but as Andy implied some people are just dicks to everyone and race has nothing to do with it.

    Re coolness and taste and all that, two things: I am so in my own little world that I have always assumed whatever I like is what is cool, and sometimes the rest of the world gets it like I do and sometimes they just don’t.

    Of course you can like both Friends and the good Captain because people like different things for different reasons – there are many planes of judgment, not just one where Beefheart precludes Friends. We are not one-dimentional beings: we can like ABBA and John Cage, Friends and Beefheart

  • andy

    Right Eric. What I’m saying is, stop seeing it as a black/white issue, and see it as what it is. A humanity issue.

  • Joe

    Proposed comment: Sometimes, I wonder how even black folks(who are very tolerant toward other black people) can tolerate “Mac Divas.” Between the stupidity and the bigotry, I would be like “Outta here, dude.”

    Status: Rejected, too hypocritical, ugly, racist, ad hominem, etc, etc…

  • Rodney, up in #21, let me take issue with your hipness argument. You went about presuming a lot about my tastes and motivations that really isn’t in evidence.

    “Hip” actually is defined as “whatever Al Barger thinks is worthy.” I am in fact the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not “cool.” The definitions are derived internally from my gut. If you need to know if something is cool or hip, ask me and I’ll give you the correct, objective answer.

    Lots of relatively smart, college educated people like Friends. Exactly WHY totally escapes me. I do not like the show because I internally judge it to SUCK.

    I’ve been on the Beefheart tip so long that he doesn’t really sound especially weird to me. I will admit, however, to taking some active pleasure from time to time in seeing the strong negative reactions that his music often generates. It is some of my best music for scaring the straights.

    On the other hand, just to counter misperceptions that I chase after trendy coolness, I’ll note that I’ve become a sincere fan of The Flying Nun.

  • Let me second the defense of Andy. He said absolutely nothing that could reasonably be seen as offensive.

    Mac Diva- It wasn’t very nice at all for you to call him a “stupid bigot” like that.

    His statement was reasonable. Perhaps you could disagree, or make subtle distinctions or counter his point. Discussing our disagreements is the point here.

    You have NO legitimate reason at all, however, to address him disrespectfully as you did. His statement is not dishonest, nor is it hateful.

    You reacted to it as if he was the Klan or something. Frankly, right here you’re indulging in unearned presumptions of moral superiority. You’re putting me in mind of Dana Carvey’s “church lady.” Although I’m sure you would do a much funkier Superior Dance.

  • None of you were there when it happened. You can’t tell her what she experienced.

    Yes, there were assholes when I was growing up in Indianapolis, but I could tell the anti-semitic assholes.

    Indiana was run by the Klan for a while and there were still kids I went to school with who went to Klan paramilitary summer camp and a computer store in Carmel with the Protocols of the Zions of Elder on display near the cash register (needless to say, I didn’t buy my Atari 800 there).

  • I will address a bigot disrespectfully whenever I want to Al. Ditto for Andy’s fellow bigot Joe. The whole rap that:

    1) Black people cause racism by mentioning it,

    2) Only people of color commit crimes,

    3) Only white people are victims of crimes,

    that Andy posted is explicitly racist. It all assumes white supremacy, as does the attitude that you or any other white person can tell me what to think or say and I have to comply. There are far too many people with that attitude in the blogosphere and I will continue to stand up to them.

    The ignorance of some of the people here amazes me.

  • Mac Diva, no amount of indignance you muster will change the fact that your argument lacks any hint of a rational foundation.

    Those points 1, 2, and 3 you cite don’t look like anything that Andy wrote. What, for example, was the textual basis in Andy’s writing for your claim that he says “Only people of color commit crimes.”? You just insisted on putting stuff in that ain’t there.

    And Joe [comment #23] didn’t do a thing but directly turn your own words back at you. If you don’t like having those words pointed at you, then you shouldn’t point them at others.

  • Al, obviously, you haven’t read Andy’s rant or you would know I responded to it point-by-point. As for Joe, he can always be counted on to support bigotry. He seems to come here for that purpose. He seeks out the threads dealing with race and eggs on anyone expressing a bigoted viewpoint.

    However, I have decided to do something different. From now on, I am not going to respond to the almost criminally biased and ignorant people who post here. So, I will have nothing further to say to those two.

    Sad to say their attitude is reflected to an extent throughout the Right blogosphere (and among some liberal hypocrites). When I looked at Right Wing News’ surveys of history, you guys true colors were revealed. Most of those who responded were overtly hostile to civil rights reforms. If it were up to y’all, slavery would probably still exist.

  • Ms Diva, you’re just getting hysterical now. “If it were up to y’all, slavery would probably still exist.” Take three deep breaths.

    Here’s the thing: If somebody says something that the least bit strikes you the wrong way you will absolutely lose your mind, as you have here. Yet Whitey [aka ol’ Al] is expected to take with good humor being accused of supporting slavery, which would have to be about the number one worst thing you could be accused of in this time and place.

    When you’ve calmed down Ms Diva, you may wish to apolgize for that hateful, slanderous, and totally unwarranted comment.

  • Not in this life time.

  • Eric Olsen

    This one is starting to spiral out of control:

    There IS still racism

    Not everything unpleasant that happens to people of color is caused by racism

    There is such thing as reverse racism

    Andy did not say any of these things – “1) Black people cause racism by mentioning it,

    2) Only people of color commit crimes,

    3) Only white people are victims of crimes”

    He said “what if” he claimed that the crime he encountered as the only white person in the neighborhood was due to reverse racism – his claim would be viewed as absurd. Obviously he does not believe the crime he encountered was due to racism.

    Conservatism does not equate with racism, although they may coexist, but looking for it, assuming the conflation, is not fair or helpful.

    In every direction and for everyone it is always much easier to make generalizations and jump to conclusions than to take each person and each situation individually, but isn’t that what we are all looking for, to be treated as an individual and not stereotyped?

    This is a much more complicated matter than anyone has expressed here.

  • Al, you must have misunderstood me. I can’t stand hip, I can’t stand cool, and the chances are excellent I can’t stand most of what you deem to be so.

  • Joe

    Could somebody please alert the media, Mac Diva just accused someone of bigotry, racism, insensitivity…

    Bigotry>/a>, an interesting word choice.

  • Really, Eric? When is the last time the cops stopped you for driving while white? It is ridiculous to deny that people of color face discrimination daily and white people do not. Natalie’s main piece on her blog currently is about a similar incident, but I guess you think she is lying too — or that a certain idiot you are determined to defend has had the same experience.

    And, no, I make no apologies for referring to a white person as ignorant, stupid and an idiot. Plenty of them are exactly that.

  • The Theory

    this is rediculous. obviously some people can’t be reasoned with. it’s their loss, not ours.

    peace.

  • andy

    no Mac Diva. I didn’t generalize black people at all. I pointed the finger at YOU. But of course since you represent the entire black community, I guess that means I’m pointing the finger at all blacks.

    Whenever someone points out your stereotypes that you use for white people, you call them a racist. That’s great. all us “white folks” must be cross burning sheet wearing rednecks then.

    I never said only people of color commit crimes. If you’re refering to my part about my neighborhood, that’s just proof of how you take something and blow it up into this big racist thing.

    I also never said anything about how white people are the victims of this crime.

    Look, no one’s denyig that black people are the target of discrimination. WHat the hell does that have to do w/ me or most white people? That’s like saying that all black people are criminals. It’s just hard to be open to someone who hates white people. Who’s the bigot? From just about every one of your comments, it sounds like you are. Of course since I’m white and you’re black, I’m a racist for saying that.

    Maybe instead of putting the blame on us “white folk” you should turn the attention to yourself.

  • Eric Olsen

    It appears we are speaking different languages as I just wrote I believe racism is real. I also said not everything unpleasant that happens to people of color happens because of their skin color. I neither said nor implied anyone is lying – I didn’t even imply anyone was mistaken regarding any particular incident.

    How could I know the “real” motivation of an incident I didn’t experience? As often as not, people don’t even know their own motivations. All I said was don’t jump to conclusions.

    Here is a simple fact you might not be aware of: one of the most common “profiles” police look for is white males in their forties driving under the speed limit – they are thought to be transporting drugs – in particular marijuana. Is this racism? How should I interpret it when I am pulled over for meeting that profile, which I have been? Since I can’t change my race, gender or age, now I always speed.

  • really? holy crap, i’m white, 41 and a pokey driver!!

  • andy

    Try being fat. It’s always funny for EVERYONE to make fun of fat people. Yeah…we’re not discriminated against at all….hehe

  • Well, it is obvious I’m not going to get any respect around here.

    Eric, I leaving you to semiliterate white guys who can’t think or write their way out of a paper bag like Andy and Joe since that is who you obviously identify with. Y’all deserve each other. I am deleting my entries from Blogcritics. Consider this my resignation.

  • Dew

    o-my

  • Dew

    o-my

  • andy

    hmmm.

  • Eric Olsen

    Come on now MD, I believe that is an overreaction. My whole point is exactly that I don’t “identify” with anyone. I agree with any number of people – including you – depending upon the issue. You have made yourself a strong presence here – do you really want to just leave? Then everyone loses. Why don’t you think it over, please.

  • Diva’s tirade makes for a little teaching opportunity, so let us make the most of it.

    As Ayn Rand would say, emotions are not tools of cognition. Said differently, you do not know by feeling. True knowledge comes from reason built on empiricism.

    Ms. Diva feels very strongly that a bunch of bigoted white guys are disrespecting her. In fact, she feels so strongly about it that she has quit us to prove how adamantly she feels.

    OK, I believe you. You really, really truly and deeply feel that we’re a bunch of Klansmen.

    That, however, does not constitute proof that we are. The record [ie this post and the comments] shows no sign of white boys being abusive or disrespectful.

    Mac Diva can hold her breath until her face turns blue, but that will not turn her spiteful bigoted attitudes into truth.

  • Joe

    Making a graceful exit certainly has become a lost art.

  • andy

    amen Al.

  • Actually, my exit is not quite finished. My next step will be to contact Amazon to see if it wants to be associated with bigots like Al, Andy, Joe, etc., who dominate this site. (Eric has already established himself as afraid to stand up to them, so that is the path for change left.) I doubt Amazon realizes what the ‘face’ of Blogcritics has become. Corporate America generally does not want to be associated with people who support bigotry or who can be perceived as doing so. I doubt Amazon is an exception.

    Furthermore, as a resident of the Pacific Northwest it embarasses me to see one of our most famous names carrying water for bigots. I doubt Amazon is aware of how it is being misused and I will correct that oversight. If it turns out that Amazon is happy to be associated with person who wrote these items that is fine:

    here

    here

    here

    However, I don’t believe that will be the result.

    Since Eric’s other pals, Joe (a troll who goes from site to site posting racist rhetoric) and Andy, don’t actually write blog items, it is particularly revealing they are more welcome here than someone who contributed to the site was. Eric has interesting priorities.

  • Eric Olsen

    I can’t say I wasn’t warned, but I choose to look for the best in people and not hold the past against them.

    I do not take “sides” on any issue – I give my opinion and try to foster an environment of mutual respect.

    There are always people who can’t handle being disagreed with – on anything.

    Such is life.

  • andy

    more likely than not, Amazon will look at this site(if they even care enough to go that far), and have no clue as to what MD is talking about, and see the only bigot here is her.

  • Eric Olsen

    The site is an open book, so to speak.

  • Mark

    Andy said: “so, as a white person, I’d never be in that situation where someone’s just an ass and won’t open the door for me? It’s just a racial thing? Come on. People are asses. Period. Whether you’re black, white, hispanic, doens’t matter. Assness is color blind. Welcome to the 21st century. People aren’t nice. I was the only white person on my block when I lived downtown. What if I said it was a race issue when my car got broken into twice, or my alley was chosen as a heroin drop off point, or when my friend got mugged outside of my apartment? Give us “white folk” some credit Mac. We’re trying to better ourselves and move on. It seems like you’re the one holding on to something.”

    MacDive said: “Sometimes, I wonder how even white folks (who are very tolerant toward other white people) can tolerate “Andys.” Between the stupidity and the bigotry, I would be like “Outta here, dude.””

    Hmmmm……

  • Mark

    Andy said: “so, as a white person, I’d never be in that situation where someone’s just an ass and won’t open the door for me? It’s just a racial thing? Come on. People are asses. Period. Whether you’re black, white, hispanic, doens’t matter. Assness is color blind. Welcome to the 21st century. People aren’t nice. I was the only white person on my block when I lived downtown. What if I said it was a race issue when my car got broken into twice, or my alley was chosen as a heroin drop off point, or when my friend got mugged outside of my apartment? Give us “white folk” some credit Mac. We’re trying to better ourselves and move on. It seems like you’re the one holding on to something.”

    MacDiva said: “Sometimes, I wonder how even white folks (who are very tolerant toward other white people) can tolerate “Andys.” Between the stupidity and the bigotry, I would be like “Outta here, dude.””

    Hmmmm……

  • John3p

    Mac Diva…

    Tears are not arguments. -Machado de Assis

  • wow. i’m about to save this thread off into a pdf and put it into the archives.

    y’all crossed the tibbs threshold here.

  • Cobb, please tell us more. Explain the “tibbs threshold” thing, and how exactly it applies here. I was at your OPENING SALVO, with the riff on Poitier. I didn’t quite get it.

    In short, could you dumb this down for a Kentuckian such as myself?

  • this is my first outing to blogcritics other than the cover page. i don’t do much pop culture so i never looked closer. so understand when i read the initial exchange i had no idea that there were 300 some odd writers. nevertheless there is clearly a core, most of whom i presume are on this and the ‘happy hate crime’ thread. so i was rather shocked about the blase attitude taken by you and the others in macdiva’s resignation. i’m familiar with the tone of her writing and this stuff was too fast, too loose and patently disrespectful to my ears.

    now what i’m absolutely sure that macdiva understands, as i do, is the dynamic at work when a black person’s credibility is called into question on a matter of race. as soon as she spoke of her association with patricia j. williams i instantly knew the context. basically, what happens when blackfolks say something is racist and whitefolks say it’s not? the black person gets labeled as crazy, hypersensitive and whitefolks play the ‘asshole card’ against what they see blackfolks as playing the ‘race card’. there is a contest of standing. then it degrades into comparative victimology. the whole argument here was textbook. the only thing missing was one other black person to play macdiva off of, which in the end made it extra cruel.

    i’ve written about this stuff in the context of ‘bells rules’.

    ..but directly to the tibbs threshold. i have posted this archival entry (from cafe utne, june 1996) on the subject for clarification.

    i don’t subscribe to the idea that such matters ‘are a black thing, you can’t understand’, you meaning anybody non-black. but i sympathize with, as someone put it, hobson’s choice on the matter. often people are so wrong that it’s not worth correcting them, and whenever someone retreats into a racial victim’s fetal position it’s unlikely that the parties involved are going to have any satisfactory resolution, unless of course such conflict is the object of someone’s desire.

    in this case at blogcritics, there was no question in my mind that macdiva got the raw end of the deal. the simplest and most straightforward way to look at it was that she no longer felt that she could be respected and share space. i wonder what are the chances that any other of the writers would resign in disgust over the issue. is that a matter of pride? is that a matter of ownership or seniority at blogcritics? who’s reputation suffers most? i don’t know blogcritics so i can’t answer these questions, but from my perspective i’m not sure it was such a big deal, but that has to do with the tone of the discussion i percieve. i’m being snobby about a site about pop culture and the cavalier manner in which race was discussed in those two threads. who cares what blogcritics says about race? on the basis of what little i’ve seen there you’ve lost your most credible writer. from that perspective blogcritics gets the raw end of the deal, a point macdiva intended to slam home by her ratting out to amazon. everything i saw was perfectly predictable and probably unavoidable given the larger context of the matter of neo-confederate advocacy. i have no comment about that matter now.

    one other thing i would add is that there should be no question that macdiva owns her own words. that she would choose to scribble her history at blogcritics shows the gravity of the offense taken. regardless, i’m fairly certain the law would give her the of her copyright by default unless she specifically disowned it by joining blogcritics.

  • as for ‘friends’ i always thought it was insipid and i found it impossible to believe those nincompoops were new yorkers, and yes the show was very white in a self-absorbed naive goofy kind of way (as opposed to ‘keeping it real’). contrast that with ‘seinfeld’ and ‘mad about you’ going up the curve to good. my favorite was ‘dream on’ which was more overtly jewish, grownup, and new yorky, and yes it did have a well-drawn black character.

    hell, i even liked ‘hermans head’ better than ‘friends’, and yes i am a big fan of ‘frasier’. on the other hand, i prefer shows like ‘law & order’ so you can see how i’d have a problem with ‘friends’. all those climb the curve towards ‘keeping it real’ which is how ‘law & order’ is a more culturally black show as blacks come and go from the core cast.

    there’s a real debate about what’s culturally black or white on tv that hasn’t been discussed here, not that i’m particularly interested, but i’ve done my share to put in some adjectives. take it away.

    i couldn’t identify a captain beefheart song if my life depended on it, but i did hear the npr segment about him several months ago. i didn’t think he was all that clever.

  • Oh, I’m back! Everyone but Al and a couple guys who echo whatever he says asked me to return, so I have. I was surprised by how well, some of the, umm, white, Blogcritics understand the game Al tries to run. Suffice it to say the guy has a problem with women and minorities — not to mention anyone who gets in the way of his monstrous ego. I push all his buttons simultanously.

    My better response to the claim the neo-Confederates aren’t full of feces was to write a three-part series, replete with documentation, and post it here and at Mac-a-ro-nies. The response has been very good. I’ve even heard from members of the SCV who don’t agree with the increasingly radical nature of the neo-Confederate movement.

    Your analysis strikes me as correct, Cobb. And, the politics of the white people involved doesn’t seem to matter. Disagreeing with white liberals will also get a person of color called ‘crazy.’ I think it may be a stand-in for the usual claim black people are stupid. If that is obviously not so, then a replacement insult is needed. ‘Crazy’ serves that purpose. It would be interesting to poll very bright African-Americans and see how many of us have been through this. I bet it would be a significant majority.

  • andy

    Mac, I would have been more apt to listen to what you felt was wrong about my origional comment had you not flown off the roof and started calling me a bigot and racist right away. Here’s a recap, an explaination, and hopefully some clearing up of my bigot title.

    I said…

    “so, as a white person, I’d never be in that situation where someone’s just an ass and won’t open the door for me? It’s just a racial thing? Come on. People are asses. Period. Whether you’re black, white, hispanic, doens’t matter. Assness is color blind. Welcome to the 21st century. People aren’t nice.”

    I can see how you thought that was downplaying the fact that people of color are the target of discrimination daily. That wasn’t my point, so I apologize for coming across that way. My point, as stated by others, was to throw out another point of view. Maybe the person was just being an ass. I did not mean to point the finger and say, “oh you’re just playing the race card”. As a white “folk”, I probably don’t understand what it’s like to be discriminated against, and I probably would see situations differently if I had to deal w/ discrimination of that matter daily.

    Then I said:

    “I was the only white person on my block when I lived downtown. What if I said it was a race issue when my car got broken into twice, or my alley was chosen as a heroin drop off point, or when my friend got mugged outside of my apartment?”

    I’m guessing this is the statement where you said I said:

    “2) Only people of color commit crimes,

    3) Only white people are victims of crimes”

    Mac, honestly. That would be like me reading your post and saying that you said:

    Only white people are racist

    Only black people are the target of this racism.

    My point was this. You took an act against you(assuming by a white person) as an act of racism. From that perspective, should I take acts against me by people of different color as acts of racism?

    That’s all I was saying.

  • Andy- there is simply no legitimate, honest way to get from what you said about your experience living in a black neighborhood to anything like what Mac Diva said about your comments.

    Considering again her great complaint about the Mac Diva Non-Door Opening Massacre, maybe the non-door opener was not just being an asshole. If she treats her meatspace neighbors anything like she routinely treats people here at Blogcritics, why would any of them be nice to her? Perhaps their response was not based on any generalized dislike of black folks. Maybe they just thought (for no possible good reason, I’m sure) that SHE individually and personally is a hateful shrew.

    She definitely seems to expect far nicer treatment from others than she expects to give them in return.

    Would Mac Diva hold a door for Al Barger?

  • Definitely. . . if there was fire and brimstone on the other side.

  • You hate me, and want me to burn in hell. Yes, Miss Diva, I get it.

    Again, it seems obvious that you’re significantly emotionally disturbed. I know it’s not nice to make fun of sick people. Thing is, when you do nothing but curse and spite me ALL the time EVERY time, after a while you’re going to loose my sympathy. Having mental problems does NOT mean that you are not a jerk worthy of rebuke.

    However, I try not to close a door forever. You have only thrown (mostly dumb) words at me, nothing more. If you wish to repent and apologize, I would be inclined to graciously forgive you and make friends.

    I have reason to believe we all shall be received in Graceland

  • andy

    Al, my neighborhood was mostly hispanic hehe.

  • kim

    i hate when you have that one friend you get really close to then you being another friend around then it there the close ones i guess that why theres a saying twos company three a croud and i found that out the hard way cause i got rid of all my other friends for the two now i see that it not for 3 only 2

  • Brothers and sisters- Deliverance is at hand. Just HOURS from now the noodle-salad-eating apostles of white bread nothingness will be GONE.

    Thank you, Jesus.

    Now if you’d just help us out by smiting all the copies and ending the nightmare of eternal syndication, we’ll be grateful.

    Thank you in advance.

  • Hallelujah! The day of liberation is HERE! By the end of the day, it will be finished, and Satan will come to collect their friendly souls in completion of the original deal.

    You don’t think a show this crappy turd log became such a big hit for so many years by LUCK, do you?

  • Ben Masters

    There are a couple of sitcoms of the past that I have gotten hooked on from their DVD releases, and they are “Mary Tyler Moore” and “Taxi.” Those sitcoms, based on what I’ve seen of them, delivered the quality humor that “Friends” and its ilk never could. I am actually laughing at them– I could never do that with any of today’s sitcoms or those from the ’90’s.

  • Fan

    I think this is the first time I see someone who doesn’t like friends.

    But al, if you think that friends was a huge hit by “LUCK” then you’re a complete moron.

    just because you don’t capture the greatness that is in “friends” doesn’t make it bad.

    I’ve noticed someone who wrote: liking friends has always been uncool. You couldn’t be more wrong..after 4 years the series ended and it’s still one of the most popular shows, however, pseudo-intelligent people will categorize you if you like friends because the humour in friends is basic and very modest.

  • Fan- Thanks for reading my story and taking time to comment. I certainly do not contest the fact that the show was and remains very popular. And I don’t care that liking Friends is considered to be un-cool. I personally am the arbiter of what is and isn’t cool, so outside opinions there don’t matter.

    But the show really sucked. Lots of people like lots of sucky things all the time. I don’t care how many people buy Celine Dion or 50 Cent albums, they suck. If every last person in the land bought a Michael Bolton album, that would just be evidence that everyone else in the land had sucky taste.

    Sometimes good stuff is popular, and sometimes it can’t be given away. Sometimes sucky stuff makes a big splash.

    But it’s a free country (more or less), and if you get some satisfaction out of Friends, then more power to you.

    I would, however, recommend some alternate programming for your entertainment and enlightenment. Here’s my idea of the ALL TIME GREAT SITCOMS.

  • Fan

    You are right, I was rude and I’m sorry.

    It’s just I hate it when people recognize the success of something then blame it on “luck”. Well at least we have something we agree on: popular does not equate good or entertaining and that certainly goes for 50 cent

  • Fan

    By the way ignore my other posts, it looks like even guys suffer from pms-moods from time to time.

    I definately agree with most of your list (except for bernie Mac) and the most positive thing about it was not including the heavily overrated Seinfeld — I guess I have to add IMHO

  • Thanks Fan. Once or twice in life even the great Al has been short tempered, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

    I don’t like Friends or Celine Dion, but I wouldn’t ascribe their success simply to “luck.” They worked hard and put a lot of effort into their stuff, as does 50 Cent and Jon Bon Jovi. Their success might reflect what I would consider bad taste among the public, but they all meet the entertainment requirements of a great many people – just not me.

  • FowlLeauge

    “To me, words like hip, with-it, or cool have come to be synonomous with being trendy, immature, adrift in the winds of shifting opinion, and completely alienated from one’s own thoughts or feelings.”

    I definitely agree with you.

    Al: How many episodes of friends did you see? You could ballpark it

  • FowlLeague- Ballparking it, I’d say I’ve watched more than five minutes or so of 8-10 episodes of friends. That’s several hours of my life that I’d like to get back.

  • Al, I’m 157.3926% with you in your contention that the cast, crew, scriptwriters and everyone remotely associated with Everybody Loves Raymond must die.

    Unfortunately, Friends is one of my guilty pleasures. Plus, Jennifer Aniston is hot. So consider yourself slapped petulantly.

  • Oh Dr Dreadful, that’s just not right. It’s not like you couldn’t get your Jennifer Aniston fix from some other video. How about just re-watching Office Space?

  • Summer

    I think Friends is the best show ever created. I love it.

  • Alexander

    Al, i really don’t understand what’s your problem with Friends, but this is certainly the best show ever created. Just compare with other sitcoms: How i met your mother? Give a break!! Two and a half men?!! OMG just finish with this theatre. Friends are natural, real, simple, funny…

  • From Russis With Love

    Burn in Hell with your opinion!