Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, November 24, 2006

"If you weren't drunk, just try the old anger ruse"

Yet another editorial featuring the WSU CR fence controversy, this time by Tom Henderson in today's Lewiston Tribune.
Poor Michael Richards.

The actor best known -- perhaps only known -- for playing Kramer on "Seinfeld" just lost his career because he lost his temper.

Rattled by hecklers during his stand-up comedy routine, Richards responded to the black audience members with a tirade laced with the n-word and other obscenities.

And just to prove himself an even bigger ass, he described -- in equally explicit language -- what might have happened 50 years ago to black people who dared to heckle a white performer.

Richards has since apologized, of course. He didn't mean to say those horrible things. He's not a racist. He just lost his temper.

Right. And Mel Gibson wears a yarmulke.

Gibson blamed his recent anti-Semitic tirade on booze. Richards used the more popular excuse of a misplaced temper. That's the one David Leonard, a professor at Washington State University, just trotted out after he harassed Republican students who erected a wall to make a statement about illegal immigration.

He apologized for popping his cork. He didn't mean to bully the students, he told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He lost control.

Losing control provides convenient cover for a wide range of bad behavior. Men who beat their wives and kids often say they have problems regulating their temper.

Then why don't they slap the cop who busts them for speeding? The boss who gives them a reprimand? The judge who remands them to anger-management classes?

Even the most temperamental individuals can control themselves -- when they feel it's important. Richards didn't have a reputation for violent outbursts on the set of "Seinfeld." He didn't, as far as we know, lose control and hurl obscenities at producers Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.

He chose to launch and maintain his on-stage tirade. During the two minutes he turned his stand-up routine into a Ku Klux Klan rally, he had plenty of opportunities to get a grip on himself.

Not a racist? That garbage came from somewhere.

People need to stop blaming the anger, the booze or whatever it is that keeps them from accepting responsibility for their behavior.

It brings to mind that idiotic expression "alcohol-fueled" rape. How many drinks would it take to turn you into a rapist? How much anger would it take to turn you into a foaming racist?

Anger doesn't excuse everything. In fact, it doesn't excuse anything.

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