[Marxism] RE: Ali G

Mine Doyran mine.doyran at verizon.net
Wed Jul 21 10:18:57 MDT 2004

> Mine, aren't you arguing that leftists shouldn't write cultural criticism
at all, and should just let the workers watch whatever garbage they want
without any input from us?  (BTW I don't recall Calvin arguing that workers
should be physically prevented from watching Ali G, or that the state should
be asked to shut him down, etc.)

Lou, leftists should write the cultural criticism of the show, just as
somebody wrote about difference between new and old rap music (and their
cultural representations of black people) on the list a while ago. Fine.
What I am saying is that any criticism of the show on the basis of picking
up or "cartoonification" of black man makes little sense from a leftist
perspective. As I said, the show is NOT about black man. There are other
types that he plays as well (white man of Turkish origin- Kazak guy;  a gay
punk ridiculing a christian fundamentalist who tried to convert gay men into
heterosexuals, for example).

In addition, the woman in the show are NOT sexual slaves really. They happen
to be show girls who are dancing in a sexually intimate manner with Ali G.
Let's not forget about the difference between outright sexism/sexual
violence and the pornographic use of woman/man in the show. He touches his
own penis at the start of the show, for example.

But any comments close to God forbid workers from watching the show is a big
minus. If the republican or democrat ruling class bans the shows one day,
Calvin would be joining the crowd who is against freedom of speech. For
example,I don't always approve what Howard Sten says in  his show, but I
defend his right to free speech. Of course, Calvin did not mean physically
preventing workers from watching the show.

Before criticising the things that you have not actually seen, why don't you
go and watch the show?


> Lou Paulsen
> Chicago

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <loupaulsen at comcast.net>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:28 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] RE: Ali G

> > Calvin also wrote:
> > > Criticising Ali G neither makes one a liberal nor humourless. If the
> > workers
> > > find Ali G funny, then so much the worse for them- I don't,
> > > God forbid anyone on the left shouldn't pander to the systematic
> > > degradation of the working class.
> Mine:
> > But this is the same mentality that opposes pornography on moral
grounds. We
> > don't need left to join the course of religious fundementalistm and
> > prutanism. There is no need to preach the working class not to watch the
> > show. Let them watch it first and make up their own minds. They will
> > figure out what is right or wrong with the show.
> Well, I haven't seen the show and I never heard of it before it was
mentioned here.  However, I must say that I am very impressed by the
arguments against it and rather unimpressed by the arguments in its defense.
I admit to being very suspicious of any routine that depends for its humor
on a white man dressing up as a Black stereotype.  This was the basis of the
Amos 'n' Andy radio show, and of "minstrel" shows for that matter, and they
got a lot of laughs in their time too, and their critics (if any) were
probably also accused of being humorless PC twits..
> I know that subjectively progressive white men can sometimes be tempted to
"skewer the stereotypes" by pretending to be stupid Blacks and fooling white
racists.  In fact, when I was much younger and somewhat more ignorant, I did
it myself once.  Somewhere in my filing cabinets of old trash is a "play"
which I wrote once as an entry for a drama competition in college.  I put
together three pages of illiterate "Black-militant" nonsense, with the idea
that the liberal professors would award it a prize (!) and then I would
"expose" their racist patronizing assumptions.  I'm sorry if this doesn't
make much sense.  A lot of stuff I did at that age didn't make much sense.
You can see that it is basically the same thing as the "Ali G" routine.  In
partial self-exculpation, at least I didn't actually submit it.
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