Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Choose humor targets wisely

Bob Griese, the ex-pro quarterback and current ESPN college football commentator, got himself in hot water last Saturday over a joking comment made during the Ohio State-Minnesota game. During the game, ESPN ran a promotion for the Sunday NASCAR race on ABC. The five top drivers in the Sprint Cup standings were mentioned in the promo, and Griese’s fellow announcer, Chris Spielman, asked why Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya (shown above) wasn't mentioned. Griese, apparently not very clear on Montoya’s country of origin, said Montoya was “out having a taco.” Griese was immediately on the political correctness hotseat. Later in the same telecast, Griese issued an apology for his comment, no doubt at the direction of the network. ESPN later issued an apology on top of Griese’s apology. And if that weren’t enough, during the broadcast of the Florida-Mississippi State game Saturday night, the folks at ESPN had Griese get on the phone and read another apology. All this over someone suggesting that a person ate a taco? It's not like he hurled an epithet or racial slur at Montoya. But in the world of political correctness, there seems to be a hierarchy of groups that you can and cannot poke fun at. Had Griese made a comment about the dining preferences of black Americans, he’d probably be looking for work by now, after the obligatory news conferences by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Because Montoya is a South American, he got away with an apology. But if he had joked that a German driver stopped off for a knockwurst or that a British driver took a tea break, I'm guessing that nary a word would have been said. The lesson here: Choose your joke targets wisely.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are all too bloody touchy. It must have started when they complained about the "Frito Bandito" lo those many decades ago. Then there were the complaints against Disney because the film "Aladdin" (set in Arabia) had Arab villains and by Wiccans because the film "Hocus Pocus" "portrayed witches in a negative way" and a complaint that the "Pirates of the Carbibbean" ride had pirates drinking and womanizing. And then there's this year's flap over the "illegal alien" costume. Seems like you can't make a joke about anyone or anything nowadays: religion, gender, ethnicity, politics without offending someone. What's a safe target for humor? You tell me. How big is the Nazi lobby?

October 27, 2009 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Why didn't the guy say a NASCAR joke instead of an ethnic reference, who knows?
Montoya's week wend that bad. He is so hungry for a Championship he was out eating bumpers and not taco's or checkered flags

October 28, 2009 at 5:59 PM  

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