Vern’s Venting: Satire, My Ass

by Lavern Merriweather

Anybody who knows me knows that I have a hard time believing in white entertainers or performers who try to wrap their racism up in a pretty bow of satire. Many a white performer has tried, and often times failed, to disguise their hatred as either humor or artistic expression. That also goes for filmmakers and TV producers, particularly Marc Cherry of “Desperate Housewives”, the popular ABC dramedy that ran for 7 seasons on that network.

One storyline that especially got on my nerves revolved around noted character and actress Alfre Woodard and her two sons on the show. Not only was her plotline woefully out of place, but she was the ultimate mammy. It’s no coincidence that they picked a woman who was not as pretty, thin and youthful looking as her Botoxed-up counterparts. On top of that, they gave her a ‘troubled’ offspring that had to be kept chained in the basement like a wild beast.

Well, her crazy unbalanced son really loved ice cream so much so that he jeopardized his family’s secret and his own freedom to get some. He then goes and breaks into the house of Gabrielle and Carlos Solis. When Gabrielle catches him in her house, she’s naturally terrified and bolts out of the room to get away, where she then falls down the stairs, causing her to miscarry the baby she was pregnant with. Now, it’s bad enough that Marc Cherry, a gay man, sees nothing wrong with painting a young black male as the neighborhood predator. But to then turn around and have him tackled as he tries to flee by town hero Mike Delfino, where he is arrested as the whole group of cast regulars who are lily white, by the way, looks on while he rides away in a squad car is really pushing it.

There is only so much bullshit I will buy before I start calling people on it, and I wouldn’t buy that mess with a $6 bill. When Cherry was criticized, and rightfully so, he pulled out the old get-out-of-racism-free-card standard by calling it ‘satire’. What a crock of shit. That wasn’t satire, asshole. That was you letting your true colors about Negroes come to light.

Marc Cherry

Many white males in show business have long harbored racist feelings that they use their industry to slyly vent. And Cherry seems to be no exception. Remember, this is the same network that employed “NYPD Blue” producer David Milch who was revealed to have said that he thought black people were dogs, among other things. I will paraphrase long time TV judge Judith Sheindlin by saying, don’t pee in my glass and call it lemonade.

Some filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino are extremely bold about their dislike of black folks. So, we should not be surprised by Cherry. He is just as much a part of that old boy Hollyweird mindset as anyone else, homosexual or not. Maybe, he’s even more so. White liberals in Hollywhite have a very long standing tradition of hiding behind their so-called liberal agenda, which judging from the look of things is the same one as the people they pretend to always disagree with. White gay folks are still white folks and still just as capable of letting their true colors show through clever writing while justifying their bigotry with a lame as hell routine response that has been used to death.

Not to be left out, unfunny putz and former Time contributor Joel Stein wrote a scathing piece, mainly about how he hated that his former New York co-op was being taken over by “rotten dotheads” [his words not mine]. Stein seems to especially hate the over spicy food and culture change that comes with people of Indian descent. When those same folks that he talked shit about weren’t too pleased with his sense of humor, Stein got defensive. He just couldn’t wrap his pseudo liberal little brain on how the people he so maliciously trashed would take it personally.

Yeah, who’d have thunk it Joel?! I can’t imagine why a group of people you said such nasty things about wouldn’t get your obvious joke. Maybe that’s because the same words and statements that you attempt to call satire/humor have been uttered before and in a less comical capacity you know by the same bigots that you adamantly say don’t reflect you.

Joel Stein

What I find hilarious is that you can say that with a straight face. Wrapping racism in a different package doesn’t change its meaning or yours. The minute you start spewing the very same hateful rhetoric as those who you claim to oppose, then what the hell makes you any less prejudice? It’s like that old saying if it swims, walks and quacks like a duck, well, you know the rest.

I wonder how funny Mr. Cherry would find it if I or any person of color stood on stage making disparaging comments about gay people. You think he would be as quick to defend my position where I to use it to mock white people like him. I’m not Jean Grey from the X-Men, but I have a sneaky suspicion that would never happen. Know why? Because like Stein, Jarmusch, Milch and Tarantino, Marc Cherry lives in a world of arrogance created by privilege, a world that is supposed to let him get away with showcasing black people in the most negative way possible while not having to apologize, particularly when you can find a patronizing excuse meant to condone your dick behavior.

Honestly if they are just trying to be funny, then why stoop to using trashy, low-class racist humor? That right there tells me this isn’t about jokes or satire. It’s about what type of people they really are, stupid pricks too full of it to come out and admit what they truly feel. Well guess what chuckles, that whole satire rhetoric isn’t fooling anyone anyway. You need to do a lot better than that to convince me.


22 thoughts on “Vern’s Venting: Satire, My Ass

  1. Whites will be whites, whether conservative or not.

    They see themselves as normal, good, admirable; basically every virtue conceivable, and see POC as the polar opposite.

    Plus, they enjoy rubbing this ideology in POC faces, while claiming to not be racist, and act like that’s just the way things naturally are.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Whites’ self-worth is derived from degrading “others”, mainly marginalized groups like POC.

    It’s in their nature.

    We as Black people need to start accepting this reality, and see them for the lowdown, untrustworthy, selfish, degenerative egomaniacs that they are.

    The only way we can sufficiently protect ourselves from them is to be conscious of who our enemy is, avoid them, and if we can’t do that, learn to be on guard when around them to limit their exploitation and mistreatment of us.

  2. Yeah, I was feeling some kind of way about that episode on Desperate Housewives. I felt like they wrote the character as the brutish black beast terrorizing the white village. I was uncomfortable with that.

  3. When “Desperate Housewives” did that episode they had just run out of story lines and the show had run out of juice, they just threw something together, it was an incredible waste of Alfre Woodart’s wonderful talents. I guess they wanted to bring some color to the lilly white suburb of Wisteria Lane, they had the brown latino Eva Longoria and her husband can’t remember the actor who portrayed her husband Carlos so they had that covered. So they threw that lame ass story line together. Then they added Vanessa Williams to the cast. I like Vanessa Williams as an actress, but her talents were wasted in the stupid role they cast her in. The show was fun at first. But the stupid writers just didn’t know what to do with the black characters. That’s why a diversity of writers need to been on these shows when black characters are created. Whites don’t know what to do with black characters without turning them into something buffoonish and stupid.

  4. Diversity of writers is only an employment quota met. They have black writers on SNL but I would never know it or can’t tell, ya’ dig? These black writers and actors on shows still have a caucanderthal as a boss, an executive producer. So like the NAACP which was started by wp, how rebellious, truthful, revolutionary can one get before touching that glass ceiling? My guess is no higher than a ceiling fan in a one-story.

    There is one show that has the most powerful & respectable woman role out, I feel, but people don’t or can’t see it from the forest that is Scandal: Suits, on the USA network. The Boss B(eautiful, Brilliant & Black) Jessica Pearson played by the OH-SO LOVELY Gina Torres, wife of Laurence Fishburne.

    I fear comments like this if they gain traction would cause writers to have her character to go in a different direction. So far, she is the smartest person in the room, ferocious when tested and has crushed every wm in the room w/o so much as a crease in her eyebrow…

  5. Great post, Vern! Having previously lived in San Francisco for a lengthy time through my school years, I can say with certainty that indeed many gay men there are no different from your average racist when it comes to establishing equal treatment for their own straight, or even gay POC counterparts. As a matter of fact, there have been articles written about this very topic-such as this one here: FYI, I have some fabulous gay friends in the Castro as well, and have spent some fun nights with them at these very clubs listed in the paper, so without a doubt I am very aware of this long-standing issue within this area of S.F.’s community.

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