When It’s Funny ‘Cause It’s Hateful.
In a stunning turn of events, comments which only days ago had been considered astoundingly offensive have now been revealed to be clever satire. ”I thought more people would get it,” says Alexandra Wallace of her clever satirical rant, “But they didn’t. Not at first.” The spunky UCLA student’s anti-racist message was misconstrued, leading viewers to believe that the provocative statements were Wallace’s views. ”No way,” says Wallace, “Racism is gay.”
Wallace, who grew up on the hard streets of the suburbs, knew she wanted to devote her life to fighting racism even before she matriculated at UCLA. Still, she isn’t sure where her quest will take her, as she doesn’t like to call herself a performance artist, nor does she see herself specifically as a comedian, “Although I think people like to laugh at themselves,” she says. Wallace considers herself a ‘Stealth Philosopher.’ ”I like to blow people’s minds without them knowing it.”
Wallace’s now-infamous YouTube performance was modeled on the loveable bigotry of progressive sitcom characters Archie Bunker and the ‘Even-Funnier-’Cause-He’s-Black’ racism of George Jefferson, and delivered in a delightfully self-aware homage to Andy Kaufman. ”I’m just like Borat!” she squeals.
But things didn’t turn out as Wallace had planned. It didn’t take long for Wallace’s video to go viral, but the altruistic student was surprised by the backlash which followed. At worst, she expected her words mind garner some mild tut-tutting, as when Jesse Jacskson insulted Jews by calling New York Hymietown or when the Gaff-o-Matic Joe Biden marveled that a black presidential candidate could be both clean and articulate. “I guess I forgot to take a good look in the mirror this morning,” Wallace says.
Although she had expected some grousing from purists who didn’t approve of her radical method for delivering her message, Wallace could in no way have been prepared for the firestorm which followed. Although Wallace didn’t say anything which isn’t being said right now in America’s comedy clubs, she failed to take into account how being a blond–and therefore presumably privileged–white girl only served as a degrading example to other girls who were not, and could never be, blond white girls.
“With the edgy stuff we see on TV–there’s a laugh track to let us know when someone is only pretending to be racist. But Ms. Wallace provided no such mechanism. We thought it was racism,” says UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block. ”That’s why we hounded Ms. Wallace out of school and contributed to the lynch mob mentality.” Shaking his head he whispers, “If only we’d gotten it a little sooner. She could have made it easier.” He went on to add that picking on Asians was an especially contentious issue, since with the exception of age-old cultural prejudices against blacks, whites and even other Asians, this sort of intolerance is not seen at all in Asia.
Wallace agrees. ”It’s my own fault. I didn’t take into account that all Asians–or ‘Orientals,’ as they prefer to be called–lack a sense of humor. Everyone knows that you need a soul to laugh.” True to character, Wallace remained stonefaced, pretending confusion at the nervous titters which greeted her statement.
But with Wallace’s biting diatribe revealed to be satire, the misunderstanding has been put to rest. UCLA has asked Wallace to come back–but not as a student. Starting in September, Wallace will teaching a seminar on sarcasm in the new media. Wallace has put aside her own educational plans for the moment to pursue a career in front of the camera. ”I love it,” she says, “LA is awesome, but there’s kinda a lot of Mexicans. They drive really gross cars and they don’t talk English. And can I say that there are WAY too many homos here?”
Hate can be funny. But serious hate is no laughing matter.
UPDATE: Apparently, earlier reports claiming that Wallace’s unconscionable racial hate screed was satirical in nature have been revealed to be false. Given that no sensible person could find anything remotely humorous in her comments, Wallace must be seen for the ugly hate-monger that she is. Despite the many striking resemblances to even more incendiary but also more socially instructive characters like Borat, Archie Bunker and George Jefferson or the similarities between Wallace’s comments and those of edgy comedians like George Carlin or Lewis Black, the former UCLA student uses her words to hurt rather than heal. There are those who say that the young woman has suffered enough for what were essentially harmless comments, and who see something unseemly in the smug, contrived anger of this recent witch hunt. Ridiculous. We question whether Wallace’s complete ruination goes far enough. We can only hope that Wallace develops a hideous and painful wasting disease. Maybe then she’ll understand just how much words hurt.