Tuesday, May 23, 2006

AOL Perpetuates Racist Stereotype
UPDATE 5.24.06: AOL is not racist. Nor uncaring. And I like the damn blog I'm dissing, OK? Read this entry, but see important note that follows. Oh, and I just noticed they added a note about their error. Well done, y'all.

In the following feature on the AOL viral blog someone (or a group) known only as aolcomedy writes this entry:

BBC Interviews Wrong Guy!

The BBC recently mistook a cab driver waiting in their lobby for an IT Expert. Please enjoy the awkward pain on his face as he is the only one who knows.
>>> Watch Now

Ha Ha! Dumb cabbie taken for expert! Ha! Oh, wait...

I did a quick Google check and learned that according to the Toronto Star he's NOT a cabbie but a university graduate who "walked into the lobby of the British Broadcasting Corp. this month to apply for an IT job, and instead found himself being interviewed as an expert on music and copyright law."

Well I guess him being a cabbie is funnier because one assumes a cabbie is dumb (is that careerist?), but although he is a black man with a funny accent, he is not a cabbie.

And here's what I say: if you are writing comedy, go crazy. Make the most racist outlandish characters in the world. But if the comedy you're peddling comes from a real-life incident, you've got to get the real-life part right. Because that's a real person. And he's not playing a part, and he's really not getting paid for this.

Sure, I see that the AOL blogger only grabbed what another site had written, but like, if it's your site, wouldn't you check into it? Sure you would. But that's the problem with this AOL comedy blog. WHO is AOL comedy? Who cares? There's no way to find out on the site, and if you made an asshat of yourself so what, you are "aolcomedy." You can hide behind that. You are some lucky young dude who is thrilled to have a paying job where he can post pics of boobs.

Yeah, it was this AOL page that led me to the "cabbie" entry and it has gratuitous boobs.

Are these boobs hilarious? I think not.

Which is fine, I'm not anti-boob, but I don't really get why these very sexy almost NSFW boobs are there. The copy that goes under those boobs is to hawk the Viral Blog I mentioned above and the copy under the boobs reads "The 'breast of what's going around' ... in tasty new blog format!" Which I guess is hilarious because the tagline above it says "The best of what's going around in tasty blog format."

Basically, to paraphrase an old comedy saying, if you are going to work boob, you have to be twice as funny.

NOTE: I came to the AOL site via a wonderful comedy site known as The Apiary, and yeah, I will probably never be featured by AOL comedy now. Them's the brakes.

THE AFOREMENTIONED UPDATE: So the Sr. Programming dude from aolcomedy wrote to me and I'll explain all later if I ever get a chance, but he admitted the error (he saw multiple stories behind the clip and choose the cabbie one because it was funnier) and he wrote a nice note and made me feel like a dog for calling them out and for assuming it was some cold, unfeeling corporate blog. Oh and he didn't touch on the boobs. Just FYI.

Here's the note I wrote back to him:

Hey [redacted], thanks for the note.

I still hold that if you weren't sure what the guy was after hearing conflicting stories, you should say exactly that and not choose one because it's funnier.

Also, was the breast joke yours? Pretty lame, but then again already I have found people coming to my little blog because of it so maybe you've got something there.

So, now that I seem totally obnox, let me tell you something else straight from the hip: I applaud what AOL comedy is trying to do. I'm glad I found it. And I think the portal is very cool, and I think y'all have, bad breast puns aside, great content and I hope it takes off. Truly. I don't know you, but I'm sure we have many friends in common, and I'm sure we are
both obsessive and passionate about good comedy. I'll be reading and linking from here on out.

I am amazed you found my entry and had the balls to respond. And since you revealed yourself, I do apologize for assuming AOL comedy was not a personally tended site. I was wrong.

And I don't think you or yours are racist (I have AOL friends who work at AOL, really!). I was just uppity about the error.

I'll amend the entry somehow (damn blogger doesn't have strike throughs) and thanks for your response.


So nothing to see here, move along. While you're moving along, I suggest you visit AOL Comedy. Yep, see how we can all get along? Even uppity chicks like me?