I’ve confirmed it with my sources. We live in a Monty Python movie.
The Atlanta Hawks, on the selling block after news that their owner wondered in a memo if too many black people attending games scared away whites, meted out discipline to General Manager Danny Ferry for reading words in a scouting report. “Instead of editing it,” team CEO Steve Koonin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “he said the comment.” As to the specifics of “the comment,” Koonin describes it as an “offensive and racist” remark.
Do you blame him for ducking? The Hawks punished Ferry for reading what somebody else wrote, which led to the internal fishing expedition, which led to finding the two-year-old email from Bruce Levenson, which led to the owner putting the franchise up for sale lest he become the new Donald Sterling. Would the team really overlook Koonin quoting the words that Ferry quoted somebody else saying?
Really, he’s saving all of our necks. When it comes to ignorant comments, it’s best to remain ignorant to keep the situation from ensnaring you. After all, what would my punishment be if I reported what Koonin said about what Ferry said about what a scout said? And then where would you be for reading what I wrote about Koonin saying what Ferry read about what a scout said?
Even linking to the comments risks blaspheming the great god political correctness–always a bad career move.
Koonin has surely watched The Life of Brian, or at least the scene in which the mob of women impersonating men–played in several instances by male Monty Python members playing women playing men–stone John Cleese to death for blurting “Jehovah.”
“Look, I had a lovely supper,” explains the initial target of the rock throwing frenzy, “and all I said to my wife was, ‘That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.'” The chained man reasons, “Look, I don’t think it ought to be blasphemy–just saying ‘Jehovah.'”
After a scandalized Michael Palin exclaims that the man again had uttered the forbidden word, which Palin makes the mistake of uttering, the rock throwers throw rocks at him.
“Now look,” a disgusted Cleese, overseeing the whole operation, warns the mob. “No one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle–even if they do say ‘Jehovah.” The mob, itching for the catharsis that winging hard objects upon flesh inevitably brings, casts its stones at Cleese for saying what he says others shouldn’t.
Monty Python makes us laugh by taking situations to their preposterous extremes and sticking tongues out at authority. We laugh at the Jehovah stoning, or the People’s Front of Judea, or the Judean Popular People’s Front because they appear at once preposterous and yet tethered, however loosely, to experience. Like Danny Ferry’s public punishment for reading aloud the 21st-century version of “Jehovah”–with so many demonstratively gunning stones at Ferry for fear that they will be seen as closeted blasphemers if they don’t–it’s ridiculous yet real.
To combat benighted bigotry, we aren’t to speak, see, or hear evil. That’s the lesson learned by Danny Ferry. Ignorance is the new enlightened.
Get some popcorn. Pretend it’s a movie. Laugh.
The only problem when real life becomes satire is that the satirists go out of business. The world strangely provokes less laughter once it becomes a joke.