Monday, November 27, 2006

The WORD on Michael Richards' "Meltdown"

I am deeply saddened to report that I blew an opportunity to land Word From On High world exclusive--what Perry White or J. Jonah Jameson would term a "scoop"--this past weekend by not thinking of the idea until it was too late. You see, despite having come into possession of a pass which would have granted me free entry into the show, I opted not to attend Mid-Ohio Con this past weekend because I just couldn't come up with a compelling reason why I should. Until this morning, that is, long after the show had folded its tents and slunk out of town.
Among the so-called "Media Guests", a.k.a. TV and movie "stars"(note the distinction between "Media" and Comics guests--oddly, it seems that to the people who put on comics conventions, comics don't qualify as a medium), attending this year's con was one Larry Thomas, better known as Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi," attempting to extend his fifteen minutes, or, more accurately, twenty-two minutes plus commercials, of fame gained through being featured in one episode of that inexplicably popular series. Had I gone to the con, I would have had the opportunity to get his take on the current controversy surrounding Seinfeld star Michael Richards from the perspective of someone connected, in a tangential, "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" sort of way to Richards. (Frankly, my memories of that episode are hazy, but I don't think Thomas and Richards even had any scenes together.)
Alas, the moment has passed, and you'll have to be content with my opinions and unfounded speculation. Maybe I'll ask Thomas if he comes to next year's con, since Richards should still be apologizing, which seems about to become his second career, at that time.
Y'know, maybe I'm just overly cynical, but from the moment the "news" of Richards' "rascist meltdown" hit the airwaves, it smelled to me of what we used to call a "publicity stunt" calculated to get Richards' name and face back in the public consciousness and, more importantly, on television. Whether or not that was the goal, it has been, in fact, the result. Not only has the repentent Richards appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (and when was the last time that happened before all this kerfluffle?), but his latest in a string of apologies on Jesse Jackson's radio show was covered as if it were real news by many formerly respectable news organizations. And if the whole thing were a publicity stunt, you've got to assume that Jackson is no innocent dupe, but a willing participant. After all, when was the last time he managed to get his mug on the tube?
And doesn't the timing seem a bit suspect? Suddenly, everyone's talking about Seinfeld and one of the show's erstwhile stars just as Season 7 of the show is released on DVD. Convenient, no?

No comments: