On what has become racism Friday for some reason, I read with annoyance excerpts from Norman Lear‘s new autobiography. The relentlessly liberal ( and smugly so) TV writer, producer/director and liberal activist who created “All in the Family,” “Maude,” Sanford and Son,” and People for the American Way, tells this tale:
“Mike Evans, the actor who played Lionel, the son of George Jefferson on All in the Family, wanted to write as well as act, and I suggested he take a crack at the Good Times pilot script. He brought in Eric Monte, a black writer he wished to team up with. Eric (who later sued me, Jerry Perenchio, Tandem and CBS for something like $185 million) came from the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago, so we settled the James and Florida Evans family there. [Editor’s note: The suit was settled for $1 million.] I was charmed by Eric Monte and, having worked for years with Mike, liked him a lot, too. A number of black writers worked with us through the years, but thus far none had created a show. Mike and Eric now had the opportunity to be the first.
They blew it creatively with a poor copycat of a script. But even though what they wrote was a far cry from what we shot, we did not seek to change their credit as the sole co-creators. I could be confessing to a bit of inverse racism here when I admit that it even pleased me to see them credited and paid. That would not have happened, at least not gratuitously, if they were white.”
I have news for Lear: that’s straight up racial bias, also known as racism. He is admitting that he gave excessive credit to two writers for a subpar script because they were black. I would say that this is the purest form of the affirmative action mentality by pompous white liberals: the crippling kind. Did he tell the writers that their script stunk, as he clearly believed ? No, or at least Lear doesn’t say so. Thus they were paid and credited as if their work was better than it was in fact…and undoubtedly thought it was better than it was as a result. The next time a producer rejected their work based on a similar assessment of its poor quality, Evens and Monte would likely believe that this producer was bigoted against them because of their race—after all, Norman Lear liked what they did. Thus the pernicious cycle where African-Americans can never be certain that they are being judged on the quality of their work and character rather than the color of their skin is perpetuated.
Lear’s actions hurt both writers: being shielded from recognizing reality always hurts, because you cannot learn from it. Meanwhile, the writers who fixed the crummy script for the “Good Times” pilot didn’t get proper credit for their work….for no other reason than the color of their skin. As for Evans and Monte, these weren’t some promising kids from the ghetto trying to get a foothold in a white man’s world. Evans already had a continuing role on a long-running TV show. Hundreds of thousands of black and white actors would have chewed off their fingers to get where he was. He had his break. Monte already was on the way to becoming as established writer. Why did these two men deserve to be elevated beyond their abilities, talent and value? Race, that’s all. To knee-jerk liberals of Lear’s stripe, that’s credentials enough. African Americans—Hello, “soft bigotry of low expectations”!— can’t make it without a white man constantly putting a helping thumb on the scale! As for white, they should expect to be treated unfairly, held to a double standard, because they are white, and for no other reason.
Then, as the calling card of the true Ethics Dunce, Lear gets even now, decades later, in a published slap at both men, apparently because one of them took him to court. Now they find out that their script was junk! Now anyone who hired them because of the undeserved boost Lear provided by his paternalistic, race-based patronage understands why they weren’t as good as their resumes represented! Now he lets on that those white writers who did the work publicly attributed to one of Lear’s biased charity projects got the shaft.
Gee, I wonder what happened to those writers? Oh well! It reminds me of a bit from the creators of “Airplane” and “The Naked Gun,” in the latter film (which was funnier—and less preachy— than anything Norman Lear ever wrote in his life)—the scene where Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielson) is emptying out his files after being kicked off the police force:
Frank: Hey! The missing evidence in the Kelner case! My God, he really was innocent!
Ed: He went to the chair two years ago, Frank!
Frank: Well, uh…
[He quickly shoves the evidence back into the file cabinet]
Reverse racism is what some liberals like Norman Lear think of as good racism. There is no good racism. There is just treating people unfairly because of the color of their skin, and pompous hypocrites like Norman Lear who presume to proclaim when it’s justified.
I love you, Archie, Edith, Meathead, Fred, and the rest, but your creator is a jerk.
And an Ethics Dunce.
Source and Graphic: Hollywood Reporter
16 thoughts on “Note To Ethics Dunce Norman Lear: That’s Not “Reverse Racism,” Norman. That’s Just Racism.”
They don’t think of it as “good racism” because if it is action to counterbalance racism, it can’t be racism. It’s just “payback” (and crap).
As for Airplane and Naked Gun and others like those, such as Fatal Instinct… I wish they made comedies like that still.
“Frank: Nordberg, it’s me, Frank. Now, who did this to you?
Det. Nordberg: I… love… you.
Frank: I love you, too, Nordberg. Who were they?
Det. Nordberg: Ship… boat.
Frank: That’s right, Nordberg. A boat. Now, when you’re better, we’ll go sailing together on a boat. We’ll take a cruise just like last year.
Det. Nordberg: No… Drugs…
Frank: Hey, Nurse! Quick! Give this man some drugs! Quick! Can’t you see he’s in pain? Give him a shot quickly!
Det. Nordberg: No… no…
Det. Nordberg: Heroin… Heroin, Frank!
Frank: Uh, Nordberg… that’s a pretty tall order. You’re gonna have to give me a couple of days on that one.”
“Frank (after being suspended): Just think; next time I shoot someone, I could be arrested.”
Oh say can you see
By the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hail
In the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose bright stripes and broad stars
In the perilous night
For the ramparts we watched
And the rocket’s red glare
Lots of bombs in the air
Gave proof to the night
That we still had our flag.
Oh say does that flag banner wave
Over a-a-all that’s free
And the home of the land
And the land of the – FREE!”
Frank Drebbin still got the song’s lyrics better than some American celebrities have. In some cases, he’s also sung it better, too.
It is a terrible dirge — what you get when you let a lawyer write lyrics.
The SSB? I love it. The one that’s doggerel is “America the Beautiful” (“Oh Beautiful, for Pilgram’s feet…”).
And I write terrific lyrics.So did W.S. Gilbert, who was also a lawyer.
Other than that, I agree with your comment completely.
What’s terrible about America the Beautiful?
It’s considerably less direct about national objectives than the German one – “Germany, Germany Over All”
It’s noticeably less hive-minded than the closest thing the English have – “God Save the Sovereign Queen!”
Definitively less graphic than that French diddy – “To arms, citizens, Form your battalions, Let’s march, let’s march! Let an impure blood Water our furrows!
Not many people know how really rabid the lyrics to The Marseillaise really are. A bloodthirsty tune for a bloodthirsty era.
The most stirring of all the national anthems, though. And the scene in “Napoleon” where it is first handed out and sung by the revolutionaries is one of the greatest scenes in all of cinema…
Agreed. I sat all the way through that movie. It was quite a spectacle, although slightly biased!
Sappy tune, sappier lyrics, bad text setting. And since when is grain “azure.” If wheat is blue, I ain’t eating it.
I thought it was amber waves of grain?
Yes, what the hell am I thinking of? There’s some song where azure is misplaced. Amber waves of grain is pretty purple, though. Ugh. See, I detest the song so much, I’ve forgotten the lyrics. Which brings us back to Frank Drebin:
Oh Beautiful, for spacy spies
And azure waves of rain.
For purple mounds of magistrates
La la La la The Maine!
Gosh, sheds are safe with thee
And crowns are good for motherhood,
To seize some shy disease!
(And to be clear: I couldn’t care less what the national anthem is or that we even have one-
That is until someone puts the ideas of Declaration of Independence or even the declaration itself to music. In which case, then that ought to be the national anthem…
I could go into along spiel about why I consider “The Star Spangled Banner” to be an excellent national anthem. I’ll only say that the words, when really studied for their content, are a history lesson in themselves that all Americans should study in their proper context. To know the story of the poem and subsequent song is to understand how precious our nation truly is and how fragile our liberty can be.
I agree with you.
On affirmative action, I even get to rag on Obama. Back when Sotomayor was being considered for a seat on the Court, it was clear that he was going to create a “Latina seat” and fill it with her. But the bench of qualified Latina judges was — as was the bench of qualified black conservative judges in the Thomas error — notoriously thin. In his racially charged search, a forgettable district judge in Denver with about a year’s experience made his “short list,” for no apparent reason other than she was a menstruating Latina with a law degree from Harvard.
Why do I say this? In the Kagan nomination, apparently made more on the merits, she didn’t even make his “long list.” You do the math.
Thurgood Marshall was like Jackie Robinson: He was exceedingly qualified on the merits. Sandy Dee and Clarence T, not so much. Sotomayor, not at all. And the execrable James Holmes is affirmative action’s gift to the Tent Circus: As Harry Reid reportedly said, “We would like to oppose him but we can’t, because he is black.” (That one made my jaw drop, back when it was happening.)
I like Thomas’s take: People think you’re not qualified if you get a hand from affirmative action. Unfortunately, Thomas resembles that remark….
Having read a lot of Thomas’s opinions, I think he gets a bad rap, not that I disagree that he didn’t earn his place on the Court on merit. (His opinions, to my eye, are a lot better reasoned than Marshall’s, however.)