Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shut yo' mouth (and remove your shoes, please)

One of our esteemed representatives from Tennessee has grabbed the attention of the entertainment columnist at the Tennessean (among others) by a bold suggestion:

During Monday's funeral for Isaac Hayes, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen said, "What would you say if you were flying into Memphis and they said you are about to land at Isaac Hayes International Airport?"

First, I'd say Rep. Cohen knows how to work a funeral. Up high, Cohen!

And, upon reflection, naming the airport after the actor/musician/producer sounds like a good idea to me; travelers have been getting the shaft at airports for years!

I can just see the uniforms for security, crimson and gold, with a pillbox hat...bald, bearded, cool shades...I dare any terrorist to disrespect!

Imagine how smooth the voiceover announcements would be...especially with that wheow-wheow guitar groove behind them...awesome (seriously, I love that song).

"Who is the man/That would book a flight for his fellow man..."

"It's a complicated route/And no one understands it but the pilot..."

(Oh, quit whining, Elvis fans, he's had more than his share of honors! At least we still have Graceland).

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SIDE NOTE: The headline on the story is pretty amusing: "Rep. Cohen serious in effort to name airport after Hayes". The suggestion isn't so's the fact that he's serious about it!
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SIDE NOTE 2: I found the caption under the picture of Cohen on his site unintentionally funny as well: "Congressman Steve Cohen speaks in support of H.Res.194, apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans, which he introduced in February 2007." Oh, was HE the one who's responsible? And I could've sworn it happened longer ago than that. Hmmm. Let's be careful with those pronouns, people; a man's reputation is at stake! Talk about revisionist history! HA!
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SIDE NOTE 3: I realize these side notes are actually at the bottom, not on the side, but I can live with the inaccuracy of the label; hope you can too.


Anonymous said...

Steve Cohen is so funny! We have "Steve Cohen Night" every Friday at our local Lesbian Bar. We play the tape of him shoving the Armenian out of his house and just laugh and laugh. He is truly a Representative of all short balding middle-aged white men having hilarious fits of unabashed machismo. Very entertaining!

Mark Kelly Hall said...

Uh....yeah. Whatever.

I looked up the Armenian thing; seems a cameraman/journalist/activist was aiming to turn a news conference in Cohen's home into a protest, and Cohen lost his temper and tossed him out. Neither one ended up looking like a total victim or a total hero in my view, but I haven't looked into it very deeply.

Mark Kelly Hall said...

Dear Anonymous (in case you’re still paying attention),

I deleted your comment because I do not care for your tone nor your language (even if it is asterisked), and I put up with enough of that elsewhere. You call it censoring, I call it editing; even in a forum created for free speech there are limits…and one could argue this is my blog and I have the freedom to do anything I want to with it. So I am.

However, to address your concerns:

---“You can joke about "Comedian Steve Cohen" but a woman can't??”

Yes. It’s just because you’re a woman. I could tell by the way you spelled your name “Anonymous.” True, the lesbian bar reference and the fact that you’re offended by a man acting like a man (“unabashed machismo”) leaned my presumption toward the conclusion that you’re a female…and the fact that you went out of your way to imply that “short balding middle-aged white men” such as Mr. Cohen should especially avoid acting aggressively (and buy high heels, get hair transplants, be younger, get tans and sit in a corner quietly, perhaps?) but I try not to make assumptions. Like the one you jumped to about the basis of my “whatever” response. Or like I would be doing if I said you might need to lighten up a little…? That chip on your shoulder must be heavy.

My response, FYI, came from the fact that I didn’t know who you are, didn’t know what you were talking about until I Googled it, and found it a fairly presumptive and unappealing thing to post on the personal blog of someone you don’t know and who (if you check the other posts and links on the blog) may not be inclined to share your point of view, and therefore laugh with you. Hence, “Uhh…whatever.”

And I didn’t say you COULDN’T joke about anyone…but I’m not required to think you’re funny, either.

To address one of your points, I saw the video of Rep. Cohen shoving the man out of his house before I finished my first response; thanks for the link anyway (

I guess it’s natural for different people to interpret actions differently. I saw a man tell an uninvited guy to leave his home, and the guy getting shoved out the door because he refused. This so-called reporter wanted all the perks of being a journalist with none of the credentials or concern for proper behavior. According to other reports and Cohen himself, he’d been harassing Cohen (an elected official) over Cohen’s vote against officially accusing Turkey of genocide. His point may have its merits (though that’s debatable as well), but his method was questionable at best. He got what he wanted, though; attention for his cause via a confrontation, shared on YouTube. So congrats to him.

Sure, Cohen did not respond perfectly, but frankly he showed more restraint than most people would have in the same situation (guess we can be glad this wasn’t Texas).

---“Plus he keeps calling the man "that Armenian guy" if he did that with any other group he'd be in Hot Water!!”

You mean if he had said something like “that short balding middle-aged white guy”? What’s wrong with “that Armenian guy”? The man is Armenian. He’s championing a cause related to Armenians. What else should he call him? It’s not like he even said “that [insert expletive of your choice here] Armenian guy”…. Is it possible you’re reading your own bigotry into his words? We do tend to interpret others’ actions by our own motivations, y’know. If I were trying to refer to a specific person who happened to the only African-American in a group of people, and said “the black guy”…would that be racism? Or just a concise use of language? And if you were offended on his behalf, which of us would be the prejudiced one with the condescending attitude?

As for the other things Cohen has said…I really don’t care that much, though he does seem to be place himself in comedy’s way. He wasn’t really the target of the humor I was going for. My goal was to point out the amusing aspects of the airport naming idea. Just a gentle poke at society, not heavy political satire; I’ll leave the latter to people like Jon Stewart. Unless I think of something really good later.

---“Join us for "Steve Cohen Night" every Friday at your local lesbian bar, he's a HOOT! We love to laugh at him!!”

Well, thanks, but as much as I appreciate any chance to be around women who are not only unlikely to share my views on basic issues but would take offense at every other thing I said, and whose interest in dating me is mutually nonexistent…I think I’ll pass. If I want to feel that much alienation and rejection I’ll just stick to my normal routine! HA! Unless I’m being paid to play music, of course, in which case, just tell me when, where, how much!