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Web Letter

In lumping the likes of Sarah Silverman with the nonpareil Lenny Bruce, Kera Bolonik appears to have lapsed into subconscious reductio ad absurdum. In point of fact, Miss Silverman is to Mr. Bruce as Senator Barbara Boxer (D=CA) is to her matchless predecessor Hiram Johnson.

To paraphrase the late Lloyd Bentsen: I knew Lenny Bruce. Lenny Bruce was a friend of mine. And Sarah S, you're no Lenny Bruce.

Noel E. Parmentel Jr.

Southport, CT

Oct 17 2007 - 3:38pm

Web Letter

I've been waiting a long time to get this off my chest and I'm glad to finally have a chance to do so. I walked out of Jesus Is Magic appalled that a performer could be as successful as Sarah Silverman with the material she uses.

Sarah Silverman's work is racist. She is not commenting on race. She is not guiding the audience to an awareness of its unconscious stereotypes. She is not exploring the mechanism by which social relations circumvent taboo. She's anti-black, is all.

Much of Silverman's stage act is a fantasy where every form of misery that has ever been inflicted on black people, and many that haven't been, is restored. The reason Silverman is shocking is not that she reveals something to the audience about itself but the opposite. Most of the audience is long past thinking like Sarah Silverman. They are shocked--perhaps shocked into laughing--precisely because they can't imagine engaging in the mental gyrations Sarah does to inflict torment on blacks: to estimate the price of her black friends on the antebellum auction block, to cut ornaments off the bodies of Ethiopian babies or reimagine blacks as Nazis and Christ-killers. The vast majority of the population hasn't had fantasies like this for half a century. Black misery is a bubble bath for Sarah; she lolls in it for comfort.

I should say, in fairness, that I haven't seen her television show. It's possible that something there would change my perspective. But as I'm never looking at her work again, I'll never know.

Nick Jordan

Alexandria, VA

Oct 7 2007 - 12:51pm