The Washington Post isn’t the only daily D.C. newspaper to rave about Sandra Bernhard’s anti-Palin ranting. Wednesday’s Washington Examiner joined in, with the headline "Comedienne delivers enraged optimism." Barbara Mackay claimed "in the end, oddly and subtly, Bernhard’s message is positive."
That’s not the impression you’d get from the blog of Theater J, where Bernhard is appearing. It has video of Bernhard calling Palin "Uncle Women," a "turncoat b—h" and a "whore." One complaint on the blog that Bernhard crosses a line of political incorrectness draws a defense from Ari Roth of Theater J that really drops the curtain on how coarse this show is:
"In fact, the play wears its politically VERY correct heart on its sleeve with its indictment of America as "A Man’s World, It’s a White Man’s World, It’s a F–ked Up White Man’s Racist World" and can only be suggested to be racist in its content if one is hell-bent on protecting White Folk for Sandra’s blistering indictment.When Sandra warns Sarah Palin not to come into Manhattan lest she get gang-raped by some of Sandra’s big black brothers, she’s being provocative, combative, humorous, and yes, let’s allow, disgusting.
The fact that the show has a few riffs like this does not — to my mind — make it a "disgusting show." there’s too much beauty, variety, vitality, and intelligence to label the entire show as "disgusting." I’ll agree with you that we produced this show because we did find it to be edgy — because we wanted to give right wing conservative Jews a good run for their money by being on the receiving end of some blistering indictments from Sandra. Does it go over the edge sometimes? On the gang-rape joke, yes. Sure. Not much else. It goes over the edge and then comes right back to the cutting edge." [Profanity editing is Graham's.]
Forgive me if gang-rape jokes don't greet my ears as oddly and subtly positive, as the Examiner suggests, and forgive me if gang-rape jokes aren't "a rotating sprinkler that a spectator washes in most happily," like the Washington Post insists.
(If you feel compelled to see the video of Bernhard, you can go to the blog link above and it is in there. Have at it.)
I gotta agree with Tim here. As a lifelong feminist, I don't see one damn thing funny about suggesting ANY woman be gang raped. Nothing. Not anywhere close to funny. And when it comes from a WOMAN about another woman, well, that just screams internalized misogyny to me. Oh - and I don't see how that can end up being "positive" at all.
Add on top of that the RACISM of this statement (no matter what Roth says - that is racist), and it just boggles the mind that THIS is the kind of person with whom anyone would want to associate their cause, or campaign, or beliefs. But that's just me.
And there's still more from Roth of the Theater J:
Roth insisted to the complainer that the D.C. Jewish Community Center is loving their Bernhard show, and partied with Bernhard on opening night. They’re in tune with her right-bashing rage:
"We’re proud of our producing -- proud of Sandra’s sense of timing -- taking the fight out to the house and to the street beyond, channeling so much of our rage and frustration at the bizarre recent twists of fortune since Karl Rove trotted out Sarah Palin for John McCain to briefly meet and then get in bed with. Sandra’s face is hanging 10 feet tall in a banner over the DCJCC steps and we’re proud that she’s a new emblem and ambassador for our theater and our center. She’s not the only one who represents us. But her large heart, her generous talent, and her big mouth are all a big part of who we are."
"Who we are" at this theater clearly isn't someone who's interest(ed) in presenting anything other than rage. The video itself, presented like a commercial for the show, explains who the show is intended to please. The average person probably wouldn’t find it the least bit funny. But if you really, really hate Sarah Palin or Christian conservatives, this show is for you. Here’s some of what she says in the promo:
"Now you got Uncle Women, like Sarah Palin, who jumps on the s--t and points her fingers at other women. Turncoat b---h! Don’t you f--kin’ reference Old Testament, bitch! You stay with your new Goyish crappy shiksa funky bulls--t! Don’t you touch my Old Testament, you b---h! Because we have left it open for interpre-ta-tion! It is no longer taken literally! You whore in your f--kin' cheap New Vision cheap-ass plastic glasses and your [sneering voice] hair up. A Tina Fey-Megan Mullally brokedown bulls--t moment."
Is it too broad an interpretation to suggest that when Bernhard attacks Palin's "new Goyish crappy shiksa funky bulls--t," she means the New Testament? It sounds like she's telling the Christian(s) to stay away from "her" Old Testament, as if Christians don't have an Old Testament in their Bible. It's quite clear that the D.C. Jewish Community Center is not attempting an interfaith dialogue with this rantfest.
Oh, boy. I have to admit - I just do not see how anyone justifies that type of ranting against anyone anyway. But I guess I do not understand the need to vilify anything and everything even remotely connected to Sarah Palin. As I said above, until May 31st, I was a diehard, yellow-dog Democrat, but I cannot see why there is such a high level of animosity directed toward Palin, ESPECIALLY by women! What the hell with that already? Is it that these women resent SO much how Palin, a conservative Republican, seems to have done EVERYTHING feminists claimed we wanted for ourselves, including labeling herself a feminist?? Are they resentful? Envious? Angry that she has done it her way? Are they that intimidated by her that they feel compelled to diminish her in any way they can, including calling for her to be "gang raped by black brothers in Manhattan"? I'm sorry - there is just no excuse for that. It is not positive, it is misogynistic as all get out, and it undermines the speaker, not the subject. It is offensive, and it is shameful. Women do not need to jump on this bandwagon - as this campaign season has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, there are plenty of men willing to do it for us. If you are interested, there is a site dedicated to documenting the sexist attacks on Palin, including the implication above that Palin had not been properly vetted first - she had (H/T to Medusa for this link).
And I have a dream, too. I dream that one day, and oh, how I wish I would see this in my lifetime, that women will stand with women, without undercutting them, maligning them, attacking them, demeaning them, diminishing their accomplishments, and spreading hate about them. I have a dream that one day, one day, and oh, please let it happen in my lifetime, women will celebrate and affirm one another, no matter their religious affiliation, or political party, or class, or color, or orientation, but will celebrate them for who they are, for succeeding against a stacked deck, for standing strong when the winds are gusting against them, for being themselves, fully, and completely, for loving who they are and what they bring to the world. One day, oh one day...