Saturday, February 04, 2006

Stones, Clams and Racism

Bob Garfield of Ad Age slammed the choice of the Rolling Stones as the Super Bowl halftime act, calling them "114-year-olds" who've "been around since the Jurassic period."

Adrants slammed Garfield back, praising the choice, saying he was out of touch with just how authentic the Stones were compared to recent Super Bowl performers.

Obviously the Stones are much cooler and more authentic than Garfield gives them credit for, and I'm sure it will be a great, big, vulgar, rockin' show. In other words, perfect for the Super Bowl.

(Of course I guarantee they won't play my favorite Stones song -- and here's where Stones purists will throw up their hands in dismay: "Dance, Part 1"... If anyone ever remixes that song to be, like, twenty minutes long, please let me know.)

But what Adrants doesn't slam Garfield for, I will:

The relentless, wearying Rolling-Stones-are-dinosaurs jokes.

Yes. They're old men. We get it.

Ha ha. Come up with a new bit.

There's a comedy writer's term called a "clam." It means "a really tired joke." I think the word "clam" itself is a clam -- plus I don't have very fond memories of some of the people who use the word -- so I prefer to call them "really tired jokes."

"The Rolling Stones are old" is a clam.

Like "Bill Clinton likes fast food." Or "Donald Trump's hair is strange."

It's the last resort of a lazy intellect.

But there's something else at work here, I think: racism.

When the Stones go out on the road, it's "Oh, here come the dinosaurs, get the Ensure, where are the Depends, blah blah blah."

But when B.B. King or Tina Turner or Smokey Robinson perform, it's "Here's a great chance to see a legend."

The great John Lee Hooker and the legendary Eubie Blake both practically died on stage at the age of a thousand, and not one critic or journalist ever wrote a single Jurassic joke about either.

I've got news for you: When Mick Jagger or B.B. King are performing, it's a chance to see a legend perform. Regardless of race.

Adrants » Bob Garfield Wrong About 'Rolling Stones' Half Time Show


Russell Arch said...

Again... WTF?! Why has my brain NEVER thought of this? What is wrong with... my..... brai.... Gotta go! Football's on!

bob garfield said...

you're right about the clam. however, i'm racist for what i DIDN'T say?
there's an old term for that charge, too. it's called "libel." asshole.

Michael Markowitz said...

Jeez, I was talking more about a subtle, pervasive racism that's expressed itself through the constant retelling of that joke. I certainly didn't mean to suggest that you were a racist. Or that I was an asshole. I apologize if I left either impression.