Friday, March 28, 2008

The Lede: Immigration Debate's Intensity Claims Claims an Irreverent Voice

In an article by Mike Nizza in The Lede today, the resignation of a controversial columnist is discussed. Gustavo Arellano, who wrote for the OC Weekly, formerly authored the "!Ask a Mexican!" column. He has resigned now, however, apparently burned out from the response he got and the lack of good feedback to his video blogging.

Nizza goes on to explain that Arellano was a controversial figure because he often took on certain stereotypes and helped to spread racism and xenophobia. He was the only Latino journalist for the OC Weekly, and therefore was the only person who could answer those types of questions. He wound up getting national attention, and as a result was seen differently by many groups.

Arellano said that a big influence for him was the TV show "The Simpsons," which taught him to be hilarious and offer substance at the same time.

I too love "The Simpsons," but I don't know if I'd want to base my professional career off of the teachings of Homer. It's one thing to be edgy and try to entertain while teaching, but you have to step back and see whether or not you're actually getting the point across.

Take a look at the comedian Carlos Mencia. His whole shtick is that he's Mexican, so therefore he can poke fun at every Mexican stereotype, as well as other stereotypes of other race's. What Mencia fails to realize, however, is that he's not funny. He's just perpetuating negative images while annoying the audience. Rather than using sketch comedy to further these stereotypes, he could poke a little fun, but use the message in the end to show how ridiculous it all is. That was something that Dave Chappelle was great at.

This all circles back to Arellano in some way. If he was trying to be too funny with his audience, he probably wound up losing them and made them think he was serious. The thing you have to realize is that most of the time, an average audience is pretty dumb. It kills the joke if you have to explain it, but sometimes you need to do that so you don't lose your own credibility.

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