April 3, 2009

Ryan Westen’s Satire Fail

I fancy myself a satirist in many regards and thus attempted to view Ryan Westen’s April Fool’s Day piece in the Georgetown University newspaper through that lens. Sometimes, Black folks get unnecessarily salty and since I try to stay low sodium when possible, decided to go to the tape:

These days, things are much more peaceful her on the Hilltop. Only One thing’s missing: We don’t have enough good old vanilla-chocolate swirl interracial f******.


On the comedic level, not the most chuckle-inducing string of words, but he’s obviously attempting to employ satire here to get a rise out of people. Real Talk Moment #1: In this day and age, the average college (white) guy doesn’t have the stones to put such a thing about black and white sexual relationships in the school newspaper in that explicit a way. He might have gone to town on another race of people in this fashion, but if I he was really trying to pop off about Black folks, he’d have: A) done it in a more back-handed and plausibly deniable way B) been explicit in private or C) punched up an even more explicit version for some blog under a nom de plume. Let’s get back to the tape:

Nothing is more beautiful than adding a few drops of Georgetown’s milk into some dark chocolate Cocoa Puffs. Think about it: Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey — all the results of some good old-fashioned biracial f****** and sexy pieces of a** to boot.


Satirical fail, Ryan. The vanilla-chocolate swirl imagery grabs the attention well enough, but continuing with it is overkill. I might have gone with a Barack Obama reference because you can always rally with “Miscegenation: It does a country good” and cover your bases. But milk and cereal? Black folks see that less-than-veiled imagery for what it is: White men sweating over possibly non-consenting Black women, pumping them full of ejaculant, which is the only scenario supported in this “satire” since Westen didn’t bother to explicitly mention one in which chocolate milk gets added to a quivering bowl of Kix.

This bring us to the bigger issue: It’s dicey for a white guy to joke about a historically sensitive subject between the races. This isn’t pickaninny stuff; this is talking about the creation of human life and the extreme difficult and often tragic circumstances under which that creation has existed. Can it be joked about? Sure, but delighting in it in such a crude way isn’t satire; it’s little more than rapist wit. Which is an F minus.

In the future Ryan, leave the touchy Black-White subjects to Robert Downey Jr.

—JONATHAN PITTS-WILEY