Some amazingly smart writer wrote an amazingly smart essay about Stephen Colbert, his testimony in Congress and a character on his show, Ching Chong Ding Dong. Here’s a clip!
Migrant workers (and de facto, often immigrants) are so often little more than causes–even in progressive circles. In the best case scenario, we are an “issue” to be rallied around, in the worst case, a “problem” that needs to be fixed through compromise with radical right politicians that have consistently exhibited hateful actions/votes against migrant workers and immigrant populations.
In this more serious passage, Colbert is operating from a pure place, a place of compassion and interconnectedness. He is saying, in the public sphere, migrant workers are human beings with bodies that are doing ungodly work and have little power to change the conditions they work under. He is saying that there is a moral and ethical obligation for those who have power to help how they can.
An unprecedented message in such a mainstream sphere.
I am taking the time to tell you about what Stephen Colbert means to me because I actually want to critique him. I want to talk about Colbert’s character, Ching Chong Ding Dong.
And we’re back. A few days filled with tech difficulties that put us offline didn’t stop us from paying attention and informing you on what’s going down. On Friday, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security held a hearing on AgJOBS, a bill that would offer a pathway to legalization for the many undocumented farmworkers who probably had something to do with what you ate for breakfast this morning.
VivirLatino livetweeted almost the whole thing (we may have missed some stuff in the beginning). The hearing put the words, “immigration reform” back in the minds of many. It also, unfortunately, put the word “amnesty” into the twisted minds of others. The hearing featured testimony from Carol Swain, a law professor and race “expert” at Vanderbilt University, apple grower Phil Glaize, United Farm Workers of America head, Arturo Rodriguez, and Stephen Colbert. Yes, that Stephen Colbert.
There has been much attention on the push for the DREAM Act as a downpayment on the promised Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) but not as much attention to another piece of legislation that would also potentially pave a path towards justice for undocumented workers, AgJobs.
In June, the United Farm Workers announced a campaign to draw attention to the plight of undocumented farm workers who help bring food to tables across the United States. The campaign invited documented residents of the U.S. and citizens to take farmworker jobs. Stephen Colbert took the call.
So far only 3 people have signed on to work in the fields that provide us food. The campaign is an effort to reflect the reality of what it is to work in farm labor and humanize that experience for so many who have come to believe the fallacy of the immigrant worker as a threat.
I’m still struggling with the right words when it comes to Tiger Woods. I think he’s a misogynistic sexist asshole on so many levels…but so much of what he’s struggling with regarding his sexuality (racialized stereotype expectations versus what you really want)–yeah, been there done that.
Here is a humorous update on the whole sordid affair. At least now, I’m spared from having to say anything.
I love the shit out of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert…but last night, Stephen Colbert did a spiel that kinda threw me off. Apparently, because Mexico is attempting to take away the world record of country with the most world records, Colbert started an insult contest where he vowed to become the talk show host with the most insults directed toward Mexico.
It started off with Colbert making insults with a little mariachi at the bottom of the screen keeping count. And I started squirming. Some of the jokes were funny (I need to go to a library and check out a book–”Why does Mexico suck,” and others were just poor taste (burrito jokes, come on).
And BAM! I get his point! And I laughed! I still don’t know as if I entirely appreciate the humor–but I also am aware now of how little patience even those of us who consider ourselves “sophisticated” viewers of pop culture have with “waiting for the pay off” of a joke. In other words, when Comedy makes an uncomfortable joke, Comedy better make the payoff fairly quickly so that I understand where Comedy is coming from. Waiting thirty minutes to get to the payoff seems like just too much to ask. Especially when it comes to racialized humor.
But is it really? Are we that sensitive?
What do you think?
I must say upfront that don’t find Wanda Sykes particularly funny. I think she’s a ground breaking comedienne, and I would never take away from her the work that she’s done breaking ground for black/lesbian women to declare themselves and be judged based on their skills rather than who they are. But I don’t find her that funny.
What do you think? Do you think jokes about kidney failure and “pulling out” are worth the outrage? Do you think they’re too crass for the people of D.C. who have made and defended “jokes” about Barak the Magic Negro?