They said it was just a matter of time before I crossed the line. They.
The Acorn excused me from writing this column after publishing "Inglewood
90310." Too many people called for my head. The Acorn wasn't my only
paper, but it was my favorite. I grew up in Agoura, if anyone could call
this grown up.
It all began a million years ago, when The Acorn published one of my Snapshots
in which a policeman says, "I don't want to catch you running away again,
Frank -- you live by yourself, for Christ's sake."
The editor received six threats from readers who wouldn't stand for using
the lord's name in vain. Of course, with standards like that, all words are
Snapshots disappeared from the paper shortly thereafter.
So what is it about "Inglewood 90310" that the paper couldn't
pardon? As my black fiancée joked, I called a spade a spade. That
is not an ethnic slur; it is a mistranslation of Plutarch's "to call
a trough a trough." So it goes.
Let me take you behind the scenes so that you can enjoy the irony in my
being fired for calling a trough a trough:
Irony # 1: The story didn't take place in Inglewood; it occurred in Philadelphia.
I changed the setting to use the title parody. In fact, I only arrived in
Inglewood by performing a web search for said area code. 90110 didn't seem
Irony # 2: The disputed reference to Jane Goodall was a nod to a Snapshot
that appeared in The Acorn 2 years ago. In standup, it's a "callback." In
print, it's a super-sized Oops. As you see above, the Goodall thing was not
about blacks but machismo.
hu · mor, n. 1. The quality that makes something laughable or amusing.
2. The ability to express that which is incongruous or absurd.
My visit to Philadelphia was laughable and absurd. It may have even been
incongruous if I knew what that meant. I spent two days fearing for my life,
unaware that people lived like that outside an Ice Cube movie.
If I'm naïve, it is only because I work at it.
In Phili, I was besieged not by Blacks or Hispanics or Filipinos, but by
people who expressed an interest in murdering me. How would I convey that
sense of lawlessness? Well, it was like a zoo without cages… Yes, and
I could tie in the Los Angeles Zoo at the end of the column...
Last year, I competed for a spot on The Ventura Star funny pages. First
day, they ran a Snapshot in which a woman grabs her son and says, "I
know you're 10 years old, Josh, but if you don't start behaving, I'm going
to have an abortion."
Two people called the paper to say they were in stitches; fourteen pro-lifers
called for my hanging (a brain-teaser in itself). I was dismissed the following
I have an odd relationship with newspapers. It is my job to hold a carnival
mirror to reality, and it is the editor's job to make sure people only see
the flattering parts. I can mention the size of a black man's privates but
not the size of his lips. Unless I'm black, in which case I can call him
Somewhere along the line, I grew confused about the rules and said to hell
with it. But firing a man for his opinion? That smells like a book burning.
No, you know what it smells like? It smells like David Howard, the mayoral
aide who was forced to resign for using the word niggardly in the company
of a black officer. All these years after the Red Scare, we get the Black
People always ask me the same question: "Jason, are you gay?"
When I say no, they pause a moment and then say, "Are you sure?"
I am mistaken for gay because I am unashamed to cross my legs at the knees.
Well, that and I talk like a girl. Likewise, I am so not-prejudiced that
I don't realize when I'm offending people who don't know what niggardly means.
"Politically correct" is a boulder under which the worms of society
hide. Some are black, some are white, some just want their unemployment checks.
They take cover beneath hard-luck tales and blame it all on The Man.
Irony #3: I also despise The Man.
If the black population feels that we owe them something, let's just say
O.J. is golfing and can we call it even? How much longer do they play the
race card and get away with murder?
It was a great day in my life when Chris Rock lampooned O.J. Simpson. The
audience didn't know how to react. Their hero had betrayed them with … the
truth. Rock had lifted the rock, and the worms writhed in the spotlight.
The Acorn's Letter-to-the-Editor posse emphasizes present-day discrimination
and 100 miles of politics that would be perfectly fitting if this were not
a humor column!
As the jester, it is my job to oclast the icons. If my column did have a
You see, Timmy, it is this: "Sometimes it's not because you're a minority
that people dislike you; it's because you are waving a gun."
Incidentally, the column was published without its picture (at right). If
it appears that no black men are present, it's because there aren't.
Maybe they are right -- like Reginald Denny, I just had it coming. I drove
my circus into the wrong part of town at the wrong part of time.
The Acorn has heard from every Tom, Dick, and Johnny Cochrane who wants
me burned at the stake, but they haven't heard from you who enjoy the column.
I'm assuming you exist. Otherwise, they've been overpaying me these past
The object isn't to exhume my column but to appease the comedy gods. And
Farewell, Agoura. I grew up here and loved you well. I'm boarding a new
ship called the U.S.S. Get Over It. We're headed for saner seas and colorless
rainbows. You can find us online at www.jasonlove.com, or just think a funny
thought and we'll be there.
I will forge ahead with the same sense of humor as always. I just can't
sit around with a bunch of great observations hoping Chris Rock will state
them for me.