The Amazing Racist, Humor Gone Too Far?

The Amazing Racist scopes out a mosque for a Bar Mitzvah

I caught The Amazing Racist on Netflix as a part of a series called Lost Reality from 2004, a collection of reality show pilots that never got bought. Believe you me, there’s a reason these pilots were never purchased for TV.  However, be forewarned, this is from National Lampoon so are some of these staged or were they done to be outrageous for this collection only? Not quite sure as I don’t see the cleverness of some of the pilots which seem like ideas coming out of a frat house–oh wait, that’s where National Lampoon gets its scripts… I suspect while the pilots may have been thought up for this collection, some of the participants or bystanders may have still been people off the street. Hmm, that hooker one though….can’t imagine not staging that one due to the legal concerns, but I am constantly amazed at the stupid things people will do to get on camera.

I’m torn on the bits for The Amazing Racist, which are all over YouTube, because obviously it’s  a Jewish guy trying to see what kind of reactions he can provoke by donning a KKK hood and entering a black neighborhood and nothing more. No social satire, nothing particularly inventive; the scenes are more like car accidents you stare at. If this was staged then fine, but if it wasn’t the unwilling participants reacted in a reasonable but angry manner. This really wasn’t what I personally considered to be funny. However, I’m more interested in the reaction of YouTube viewers with the videos posted below.

The Amazing Racist also set up shop at a mosque dressed to be blatantly Jewish and trying to sell offensive T-shirts and calendars. This is one of the reasons I wasn’t sure if it was all  rehearsed as what mosque would allow for such a parody? Unless it wasn’t a real mosque.  Also the T-shirts he was selling weren’t funny, they were just offensive and lame. After unsuccessfully pushing his wares outside he brings them inside the mosque. It takes some time but finally a group of Muslim men come for him and carry him out. If it was all an act–good acting! If these Muslims were being punked I think they deserve an apology as this was a private religious affair and not meant for the general public. I may make fun of Allah but I don’t believe in personally disrespecting people of faith by barging in on their prayers.

Interestingly enough, someone posted the end clip of the Mosque punking on YouTube and they added: “This is not racist but it’s funny, and im muslim too so chill.”

There seems to be a general acceptance of almost meanspirited race and religion parody in America amongst primarily young people and I guess that’s why I’m posting this. The eternal optimist in me always seems to find the glass half full. See the original KKK punking video below and then the response to it by an African American man who thought it was funny. It’s similar to what guys do to each other with insults–it brings them together. YouTube viewer comments are vicious too but people argue everything out–even hurl more racial insults and jokes or make fun of someone for not knowing what a turban is. Now maybe that is strictly a guy thing but even as I can’t say I personally approve of this race parody (I’ve never cared much for punk’d-style humor), it is refreshing to see reactions like this. We seem to be able to offend each other and laugh it off rather than blowing up a hotel or putting out a death warrant for someone. It shows how much more peaceful American thinking is when it comes to humor–even vicious humor. Middle East clerics can’t even ignore the simplest jokes and blow everything  all out of proportion (no pun intended).

Now I’m sure there’s more to this discussion as we know Muslims are a media target and a political target since we Americans have short memories on freedom of religion when it comes to building new mosques, but seeing how American youth can let a joke slide or respond with a video of their own instead of resorting to violence is a sign of good social health. Let’s hope it continues and we can abate American right fears of a Muslim takeover.

Here’s the original KKK Amazing Racist…

And here’s a filmed response…

And lastly here’s an end clip of The Amazing Racist at a mosque which was posted by a Muslim (unless they were lying) who found it funny…

SIDENOTE: I would say the biggest clue as to The Amazing Racist being staged is the cameraman. I’d have to rewatch it but the cameraman doesn’t seem to be affected by the scenes and has some quality shots as if he’s not even there or we’re supposed to forget he’s there. The participants are not even aware of his presence. If a guy with a video camera entered into a mosque I would think there would be a bigger reaction towards him/her or the cameraman might be addressed somehow like, “You! Get out too!” Good hoaxing job by National Lampoon it seems, but you’ll notice that YouTube youth is very wary of staged videos. Dare I say, YouTube is creating genuine skeptics?

2 thoughts on “The Amazing Racist, Humor Gone Too Far?

  1. Interesting thoughts.
    I don’t think Ari “The amazing racist” Shaffer is funny. Not at all. He is provocative, blunt, ignorant – and yes, racist. Some people find his videos funny. Thats a mystery to me. However, I watch them on YouTube with some flabbergasted fascination of sorts. Like looking on a huge car accident or public street fight.
    However, first I thought they were real – and I was actually wondering how this guy could have survived. (I wouldn’t mind any “victim” beaten him up really hard, or using a knife or gun or whatever. If it had been real he sure would have deserved it.)
    But on a second thought – the camera is apparently not hidden at all, and there is no reaction towards the camera, exactly as Freethunk Jeff says. So – good enought acting. It fooled me…
    Still, what Ari Shaffer does is racist shit. Period.

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