Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Going All Nancy Grace Part II... But with red flake pepper on top.

Not to name-drop or give me - or anyone else - carte blanche for bad behavior, but Jesus had a famous 'fit' once. (And we're not even including the fig tree that took a hit before the big show.)

You know you're pissed off if they're talking about it two thousand years later. Yet that very human moment happening in a Divine Human was telling. And, for good or bad, that very episode has provided me perspective anytime I'm thinking about getting mad for a longer period of time than, say, that first choice phrase when you walk your longest toe into a wrought iron chair leg. You know. When "ouch" doesn't seem sufficient.

Sometimes the things that make me mad tell me a lot about what's important. Those times when I collapse into my own terribly flawed humanness can be illuminating. And wouldn't it be a pity if they weren't? After all, I'm almost sixty and if those moments weren't teachable ones, then - hell's bells. What have I been paying attention to for all these years anyway?

So last night I was listening to a program on NPR - one of several that make me happy not to have a television besides - Scott Baio (please see earlier post)

The show is called "Q", the once saucy Canadian program that - well, look it up if you're interested in the kind of show it is. Or was, since it was the co-creation of the pariah Jian Ghomeshi who's long gone. Ghomeshi, AKA a maple leaf version of Bill Cosby except that, instead of drugging women, Jian thought that punching and choking them without permission was that 51st shade of grey all chicks secretly want. Although Ghomeshi was very good at his job and the show was sooo much better in every way when he was at its helm, I could live another half century listening to far inferior moderators in his place.

That was quite a digression, but then again maybe not because, in my critique of Jian, my Mad Machine, that thing a good comedian needs to put forth product, gets a bit of grease. And mine's gotten downright rusty. Actually it's been in some kind of freaking prayer closest and it needs to be taken out and turned on. So. At this very moment, in your fine company, I'm amid the equivalent of opening the kitchen drawer filled with all kinds of different size batteries, seeing if this puppy has a charge....

Last night's "Q" guest was a comedian - that's right, only another comic could piss me off like this - named Mike Ward. From the sound of him - whiny and self-captivated - I incorrectly imagined him to be one of those preternaturally baby faced 26 year-olds, perhaps still living at home, the kind I traveled with for ages as a road comic: the boys who never ran out of waitresses with low self esteem and flexible lower jaws that he would later berate to other comics in that lovely way men with embryobic souls are wont to do. And I haven't even gotten to the part I'm mad at.

Make no mistake: This mad that I am isn't the prissy old lady 'how dare he' kind of mad. I'm old enough to own a bit of exactly that kind of mad, though, and the only thing separating me from other old ladies is - in ascending order - my low threshold for cruelty and incivility which I'm apt to return, ironically, in kind to the kids who err on my path and a ziplining way with words which will zoom past his ass before he has time to say, "I thought that bitch was dead already!"

This Ward punk/child comedian is being sued for being mean, as close as I can understand. This is really happening. By one of those cool departments in the Canadian government that sounds like an SCTV sketch. (And one that points to a fundamental attempt at decency in their government that's almost touching to consider. That it's possibly naïve, to boot, doesn't escape me.)

And while I completely get WHY this lawsuit is happening, I'm Little Miss First Amendment - yes, which isn't even part part of a Canadian document at all.

Realistically speaking, lawsuits notwithstanding, I think repercussions for meanness should happen in the form of collective moral outrage, good old fashioned heckling and maybe a karmic ass whipping which this petulant baby talking man-child didn't get nearly enough of in his formative years.

While I'm sure these traits don't account for his entire persona, Mike Ward is coy, abusive and shallow. He's also bright enough to be called out for this stuff. After all, I'm not implying he's an imbecile. The former traits are handy ones for a comic to have when dealing with the plethora of objectionable personalities in today's pop culture stage. Yet in Ward's case, instead of eviscerating a Kanye or a Dani Mathers, for example, bullies in their own right, he went after a defenseless child who simply wouldn't die quick enough to suit him.

What's worse and lower in every way is that he mocked the kid for a craniofacial deformity that has attendant health issues that can be quite severe and uncomfortable if not dangerous.

With all there is to mock in this insane world, why go after a child? To wryly the late, great George Mallory, "Because it's there."

By the way, if anyone's interested, all of what I'm talking about can be typed into a browser to your heart's content. Know this, too, please: I haven't bothered to apprise myself of each detail of the lawsuit. I've been fuming in the best way since getting out of the truck last night and started scribbling notes as soon as I let the dogs out to pee.

Sometimes mad is - and now I'll quote Martha Stewart - a good thing.

This particular lawsuit stands to make Ward eighty thousand Canadian dollars poorer when litigation is complete. He says he's already spent 93K on lawyers thus far - and the verdict isn't even ready9î. If he loses, he'll have to pay the family of the sick child that he used for comedy fodder. As they say with tongue firmly in cheek: Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Some things with karmic repercussions should, perhaps, be tried in actual halls if human justice but without monetary penalties. Having said that, the cloying whines of Ward were grating enough for me to pray for the financial penalty because some people can't be taught, shamed or cajoled into decency. Being out that much money won't change who he is, either, just because it's too late. According to Ickypedia, he is already 42 years-old: an age that generally sees few large changes.

Besides, he thinks he's a champion of things others are afraid to say. He's so wrong. Others have mined the same subject matter with far funnier results and with the added bonus of leaving audiences THINKING about imbalances in this life instead of heartlessly contributing to them.

The best comedy is about reversals of expectation, fortune and roles. The petty, profane for its own sake brand has been around as long as horny mean teenagers or stunted adults, both inarticulate and frustrated about other issues so deeply embedded in their mean little selves that guys like Mike Ward will always be able to make a buck. Or eighty thousand of them.

Btw, if I didn't see comedic potential in him, I wouldn't be half as pissed. He's just being lazy. After all, why try when the kids will worship you right where you are? And now, ladies and gentlemen, if you'll please excuse me, I've got some comedy to write.

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