Thursday, March 8, 2007

Cowardice, Hypocrisy, Professionalism and the Death of Pride

Lewis Black; a man who constantly slams the government and important political notables, was asked to perform for the Congressional Correspondent’s Dinner; one of the two biggest social/political events held in Washington DC every year and attended by some of the biggest names in politics. Lewis Black's performances are usually full profanity, opinions about political screw ups, and nostalgic moments of a more American America. Lewis was told that he couldn't swear, couldn't bash the President (who was scheduled to attend), and needed to make the performance palatable to the DC, right-wing, pro-christian audience (Lewis is Jewish). After considering it and getting advice about it Lewis decided to take the job and do his act after modifying it heavily. I believe that must have been monumentally difficult for a man who punctuates sentences with the word fuck and rants nearly psychotically about politics and politicians. I have to commend that because it really does say something to care about your audience, as a performer, to drastically change your act so that they can enjoy it. That shows Professionalism; to judge your customers and make sacrifices to make them happy.

I would like to say that I also feel that given his normal material that he is a coward for not going on with his normal act. He had an opportunity to tell them, in the way he tells thousands of others, that he is angry with the decisions they make. He had the floor and instead of sticking to what he believes he rolled over and changed his act to please the very people he hates. That’s cowardice. It’s hypocritical. It’s shameful.

The only reason that I can’t say that I think Lewis ought to be beat black and blue with his own belt is that I don’t know if I would have had the strength to practice what I preach. I would like to think that I would have told the coordinator that called me that there was no way I was going to sacrifice my integrity to pander to a bunch of self-important assholes. I would like to think I would have happily accepted the job with the forewarning that I was going to do my act the way I wanted and that, since the President was going to be sitting right next to me, I would be telling him to his face in front of all the Congressional Correspondents exactly what I thought of him.

I would like to think that I would stand up for my beliefs and that if they foolishly gave me the floor I would use it to do what I always do when the opportunity arises; express myself. But I don’t know. I’ve never had my beliefs tested that thoroughly. I can’t say what I would do in that exact situation because that would be the hardest test of my life, but I can say that Lewis Black failed.

Lewis, you're still funny, but you are a hypocritical coward.

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