Last week I was watching a Barry Crimmins comedy special produced by one of my all time favorite comedians, Louis CK. I honestly wasn't sure how I felt about the special. I was looking for something where I could just shut down my brain and laugh with impunity at horribly politically incorrect material. Crimmins' style ended up making me cringe a few times, but mainly because some of his material felt a little too truthful to be funny. There wasn't much laughter, but I did take away a new favorite line that I want to share here.
In the setup, Barry describes being at party with one of his old acquaintances who pulls him aside and "gives him the opportunity to clear his name." The acquaintance asks Barry if it is true that he'd done a benefit for AIDS. Crimmins replies, that of course it was true and that he does a lot of benefits to raise funding to support AIDS research. This obviously stuns the acquaintance as he responds: "So, what are you, some kind of queer?"
Crimmins' perfect comeback is the kind of genius I think of 6 days after while I'm driving in my car reminiscing about what I should have said:
"I'm whatever threatens you."
I applaud Crimmins for his wit and humor in the circumstance and hope we might all be inspired to rise to this challenge. While his response probably did not open the floodgates of intellectual discussion, when he was confronted with bigotry instead of gliding around the obstacle as so many of us do, he stood firmly to face down fear.
I've said before, I believe that there is no room for outgroups in our society, save perhaps one—and that outgroup should be filled only with those who hate and fear things diverse.
Monocultures of hate will never thrive. Here's to threatening bigotry every day.