December 15, 2008

"Paterson in a Blind Rage over "SNL' Skit."

That's the headline to the NY Post article that begins "Gov. Paterson didn't see the humor in a 'Saturday Night Live' bit that mocked his blindness." Yeah, he shouldn't criticize it if he didn't see it.

Video of the 2 Paterson sketches at the link. Chris Danielsen, spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, is quoted saying:
"We have 70 percent unemployment - and it's not because we can't work. Obviously, the governor of New York is blind, and he's doing the job. Whenever you have a portrayal that calls the basic capacity of [blind people] into question, that's a potential problem."

Danielsen claims "SNL" has a long history of mocking the blind - going back to Eddie Murphy's Stevie Wonder impression and, more recently, a "Weekend Update" one-liner that hybrid cars are dangerous to blind people because they can't hear the engine.
Now, wait, there really were news stories, plenty of them, that reported that hybrid cars were dangerous to blind people. Like this one. Notice anything? It quotes Christopher S. Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind. It looks as though "SNL" may have read his organization's press release... and it got a laugh.

Maybe Danielsen needs to get a sense of humor...

... like Stevie Wonder, seen here standing right next to Eddie Murphy as Eddie imitates him.

And open the door for Mr. Muckle!

33 comments:

rhhardin said...

Imus said there's nothing funny about the SNL skit. He's been telling us what's not funny for about a year now, as he turns into an old lady.

reader_iam said...

I didn't think the SNL was funny, and I wouldn't mock a blind person, myself. However, I have NO problem with mocking Paterson on other grounds, like his latest nanny proposal involving imposing what I like to call surtaxes on sugared pop (as opposed to diet pop), for example, as another front in the War on Obesity. And I wonder how amused Trooper is by the concept of bringing back taxes on clothing, another thing Paterson's putting on the table.

Yeah, there's plenty of other stuff to mock without doing the cheap **physically** blind shtick. However, it's a free country, with free speech, so whatever. To each his or her own.

joewxman said...

THE PEOPLES REUBLIC OF THE STATE OF NY put its tax on clothing back on a few years ago. We have the Occasional tax free week on clothing in this one party state.

reader_iam said...

OK, I must have misread the article from earlier today regarding clothing.

BJK said...

Come on, I'm a blind man who loves cocaine who was suddenly appointed governor of New York. My life is an actual plot from a Richard Pryor movie.

Admittedly, I do not follow NY politics that much, but as someone who watched the SNL sketch, I thought pointing out the Governor's drug problem was far more controversy-worthy than the blindness aspect.


If only Obama was blind, then Fred Armisen would have a touchpoint for his impression. (I actually feel bad for Armisen, because BO is such an unfunny persona.)

Pastafarian said...

I watched the clips; I didn't see anything very offensive, or funny, there. About the only thing that got laughs was the cross-eyed expression on the guy's face. There's some high-brow humor for you -- making funny faces. The WC Fields clip is funnier.

I suppose if you're going to mock one specific person with a disability, then maybe you have an obligation to determine whether that person has a sense of humor about it before doing something that might offend them.

Joe said...

I haven't laughed at clips from SNL for years. I laughed at this one.

(Out of curiosity; are Paterson and the lets-act-offended folks proposing that when mocking the governor, they can't show him as a blind person?

As for the "gimp" comment; I thought they actually made a good satirical point. The notion that you should appoint someone just like who held the office before is dumb. But then again, it fits right in with the office.)

chuck b. said...

The WC Fields clip would be funnier if that was a table of compact fluorescent bulbs. Then Freemant Hunt could come clean them up.

Ann Althouse said...

chuck, LOL.

Daryl said...

There's nothing funny about substantial amounts of mercury being released into the air.

At least one baby has been poisoned by being too close to a group of CFL bulbs that broke.

CFL bulbs are a conspiracy to create an environmental hazard that will require government intervention and government contracts to clean up. We will all get to foot the bill.

Tom T. said...

Is this different from laughing at Gerald Ford for falling down?

Quayle said...

BTW, don't call me Mr. Quayle around Mrs. Quayle.

It's Qua-lay.

Meade said...

rhhardin said...
"Imus [... has] been telling us what's not funny for about a year now, as he turns into an old lady."

A kind old lady would be the polite way of saying that. Funnier too.

American Liberal Elite said...

Patterson should suck it up.

Freeman Hunt said...

Then Freeman Hunt could come clean them up.

Heh.

Maguro said...

The funniest thing about Eddie Murphy's Stevie Wonder imitation was this bit from "Delerious" where he imitates the brothers who are outraged by his impersonation.

Lem said...

Could it be that the Governor is lashing out because Fitzgerald put the kibosh on his own pay to play aspirations.

Cant lash out at Fitzgerald

A senate seat is a f____g valuable thing: you don't just give it away for nothing.

Chip Ahoy said...

While still in college I used to read for a woman blinded by diabetes. As this came late in life, she was poor at reading braille, and not all that adept around the house. Once I saw her walk straight on into a door jamb. BLAM!

One afternoon she asked me if I minded a short visit from friends she was expecting. I answered I didn't mind. She said they were going to leave her a sack of pot, did I still not mind? Already committed, I feared appearing a schmuck.

Within an hour I saw three blind people out on the sidewalk, all in a row, with their hand on the shoulder of the guy in front of them with apparently the one who could see the best in the lead. It was the proverbial blind leading the blind. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r for them to walk up the driveway, across the private walk, scale the few steps on the porch and ring the doorbell. Finally, the two retrievers alerted, both were guide dogs, one retired. They're deplorable watch dogs. The three men entered and seated themselves on the sofa. Mary, the blind woman was seated in a lounge chair, and I, the only sighted person, seated in another chair. We formed a circle around a coffee table. The blind guy nearest me on the sofa asked Mary if she wanted to try out the stuff. Mary said yes. The guy whipped out a pre-rolled joint and with some difficulty light it, puffed it, then held it out to the next guy, who didn't see it being handed to him.

"Hey, I'm passing you the joint."

The second man groped through the air, found the first guy's arm, felt his way up his arm to his hand, registered the orientation of the joint in the first man's fingers, transferred the joint to his own fingers, then took a puff. Then he handed the joint to the third blind man who didn't see it.

"Hey, I'm passing you the joint."

The third man groped through the air, found the second guy's arrm, felt his way up his arm to his hand, registered the orientation of the joint in the second man's fingers, transferred the joint to his own fingers, then took a puff. Then he handed the joint to Mary, sitting in the chair, who didn't see it.

"Hey, I'm passing you the joint."

But it's no longer a joint, it's a doobie. Mary groped through the air, found the third guy's arrm, felt his way up his arm to his hand, registered the orientation of the doobie in the third man's fingers, transferred the doobie to her own fingers, then took a puff. Then she said,

"It's out."

The first man asked.

"Should I torch another one."

"Sure."

Mary answered.

"I only got one puff."

The first man whips out a second joint from his shirt pocket and lights it with some difficulty, puffs it, then hands it to the second blind guy who doesn't see it. The entire process repeats itself exactly as the first joint. Gets to Mary where she takes the last puff and announces it's out. They light a third joint because they're each really not getting very many puffs. I'm sitting there watching this whole thing thinking, "Goddamnit." On the third joint my impulse was to leap out of the chair, grab the joint and hold it in front of the second guy's lips and say "Puff it! It's right in front of your lips." Then do the same to the third man, then to Mary then back to the first, just to speed up the process. Most frustrating.

jdeeripper said...

BJK said...Admittedly, I do not follow NY politics that much, but as someone who watched the SNL sketch, I thought pointing out the Governor's drug problem was far more controversy-worthy than the blindness aspect.

Of course anybody can see that. Patterson was trying to shift our gaze away from the jokes about his sex scandals, drug use and unpreparedness to be governor by having his flaks wimpering about Mr Magoo shit.

I thought the skits were great. I've watched them over and over and they make me laugh every time.

Making fun of the handicapped is ALWAYS a winner. It's just funny.

The walk on during Amy's farewell was icing on the cake. "Yeah, 50. 50 dollars worth of circus tickets". LOL.

Larry Wilmore did a a great take on Patterson on the Daily Show back in March.

Lem said...

NY Governor Patterson's Drug Use

http://tinyurl.com/6mkqc9

Marcia said...

"Imus said there's nothing funny about the SNL skit. He's been telling us what's not funny for about a year now, as he turns into an old lady."

To be fair, rhhardin, Imus has long been an expert in "nothing funny."

Paul Zrimsek said...

There is none so blind as he who cannot see.

Meade said...

PZ: That is deeply... deeply... deep.

And dark!

Michael McNeil said...

Chip: LOL! I can just see it! As I'm sure blind people themselves, who generally have perfectly good powers of visualization, can see the situation (as described) too.

Sid said...

Chip,

I laughed just reading your narrative. Maybe your should write for SNL.

Pogo said...

Paterson's just lucky no one threw a shoe at him instead.

knox said...

Chip, LMAO!

TRO said...

The SNL skit was funny, but not as funny as the the blind guy/monster scene in Young Frankenstein.

Veeshir said...

About the NY Post article, headline and first paragraph, was that funny or NOT FUNNY!!!!!!!!?

It made me laugh, but it was a cheap laugh.

bearbee said...

Chip,

Hilarious narrative.

Also hilarious WC Fields clip. Could that be replicated today without condemnation?

David said...

Hybrid cars are dangerous to sighted people because we can't hear the engine.

Some assholette in her Prius literally backed into me last week in a parking lot.

No harm no foul, but Jesus! And she was mad at me for being in the way!

How about a hybrid car driven by a blind person? Now that's danger.

David said...

To be clear, she backed into me, not my car.

rhhardin said...

Beyond the Fringe has the famous Unidexter skit.