Murder City

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But instead of just realizing Richards sucks goat balls as a standup, suddenly Reverend Jackson, who ironically got in trouble for using the slur "Hymietown" for New York back in the day, is partnering up with the NAACP and the Reverend Al Sharpton in calling for a ban on the word by all comedy clubs and all entertainers, black and white. This despite the fact that it would do away with the routines of legends like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Dick Gregory, and it would consign to the trash can Richard Pryor albums like Bicentennial Nigger and That Nigger's Crazy, as well as various Lenny Bruce albums.

Oh, and then there's every hip-hop CD from those of N.W.A to Jay-Z, president of Def Jam, who's stated his opposition to an N-word ban on Inside Edition.

The controversy had this curious cockatoo scratchin' its wattle, wonderin' what our own Reverend Jarrett Maupin II, a.k.a. "Kid Sharpton," thinks about a ban. The Bird caught Maupin, now a Phoenix Union High School District board member, at the National Action Network's PHX HQ, of which he's the chapter prez (Sharpton heads the national organization). Maupin was preparing for a civil rights summit in New York on the issue of an N-word ban. He said the NAN and Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH coalition would convene December 13 in New York, and attempt to meet with "partners in the media," such as Rupert Murdoch, to discuss the issue.

"If it's not okay for Michael Richards to use that word, it's not okay for anybody to use that word," asserted Maupin. "It's time for us to say that word's not good for anyone to use when describing our people. And we won't allow ourselves to use it."

Maupin was quick to maintain, "We don't want to censor anybody," but then went on to describe demands on artists and comedians that sound a lot like censorship to this saucy songbird. Maupin also said he hadn't dismissed the idea of approaching local comedy clubs on the issue.

Dan Mer, owner of the Tempe Improv, disagrees with banning the word outright. He said what Michael Richards did was "beyond the pale," but that an N-word ban would not work.

"Every joke is at someone's expense, whether it's a bald man, a fat person, a gay person, or whatever ethnicity," stated Mer. "You're going to get to a point where if you offend anyone, you're banned from a room."

Now, this dirty duck's not suggesting people drop N-bombs in polite company. But comedians, MCs and artists are supposed to flip the bird at society's taboos. Do you really want to live in some PC police state where they can't?

The Bird admires Maupin, and hopes to vote for him for mayor someday (maybe even versus Goober Gordon), but on this issue, he's more wrong than white leather shoes at a Baptist funeral.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons