a little east of reality

Monday, January 30, 2006

chris rock

Recently I've been listening to a lot of Chris Rock. Now somebody reading this who knows me is going to ring me up and point out that the guy does nothing but swear and get all graphic about sex. And I do listen to him on the computer because it's so easy to delete the really dirty stuff (swearing doesn't worry me, but anything that makes me cringe is out).

But here's the thing...the guy actually does a LOT more than that, and that's the reason I'm handing him kudos. This was a real leap for me. Here I was thinking this guy was just another lame comedian being loud and saying 'pussy' a lot, and what I find instead is someone I now consider a positive role model; a really decent, hardworking guy who isn't afraid to stand in front of an audience (that cheers when he mentions porn and prostitution) and declare that he's happily married, faithful to his wife, strives to be a good father, pays taxes, etc. And he stands up (no pun intended) for what he believes, observes the world and tells it like it is.

Rock has an amazing ability to couch a serious message in comedy so funny that you don't even see the message coming. That man's been "blassin' and laughin' so long" I'm sure even his momma thinks his mind is gone (^_~ to anyone who got that reference) but when you really take it all in, he covers just about every important topic there is. Here's some content from three of his shows:

Never Scared:
- being a good father so that his daughter grows up happy and emotionally sound
- how rap music lyrics used to be a defensible form, but now are just empty of anything but sex
- fairness in law enforcement
- fair trade and foreign ownership of business
- control of media to quiet political dissent and skew information about the war
- the stupidity of using political labels to define your opinion instead of really looking at the issues yourself and working out where you stand on each one
- domestic crime vs foreign concerns
- problems with foreign aid
- how economics controls what is deemed acceptable
- how some black people have gotten rich in recent years, but that this does not touch the real establishment of wealthy white people who really control the economic system, & how riches are often just wasted and not invested in anything worthwhile, whereas wealth sets up systems for a sound future. Basically encouraging black Americans, to whom being rich is a new phenomenon, to be more long-sighted and not simply fall into the typical traps that nouveau riche have always fallen for throughout history.
- how white wealth was based on crime, such as bootlegging, or gambling, but that now that same establishment decries making money through crime without any acknowledgement of where their money came from. Also how money from pain is still acceptable if you are white - eg the big tobacco companies, guns and other arms are legal. These things are as harmful as many things that are illegal.
- racism, including institutionalised racism
- how affirmative action reverses previous government policies that resulted in conditions that still affect black people today
- the importance of marriage and fidelity in marriage

Roll with the New
- the importance of strong black leaders and role models
- electing good politicians and keeping politicians accountable
- how celebrity skews trials
- alimony
- how those who fit negative black stereotypes incur the anger of the section of the black population who are decent and hard-working; the stupidity of the attitude of black people who scorn education as if ignorance is a kind of rebellious act.
- the importance of fidelity

Bigger and Blacker
- lying
- violence in schools
- gun control
- the accountability of parents for the actions of their children
- how parents need to invest time and effort into their kids - teach them, care for them, discipline them and provide for them properly
- respect for good, hard-working parents
- tolerance of difference; the illogic of racism/sexism and other kinds of discrimination
- preparing for possibilities/insurance
- how profit (and therefore not curing disease) is the main motivation of medical research and pharmaceutical companies
- racism
- positive body image
- how to have good relationships and communicate well
- sex

If you can't stand the cursing, etc, just ignore this recommendation, but I have to say I am deeply impressed with the intelligence and perception this comic shows into how life really is, the sharpness with which he critiques ignorant and unfair ideas and systems, and the positive messages he's sending out. And he does it all with gut-busting humour.