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Possible Justification for Using an Outdated Pseudo-Offensive Vocabulary, That, Depending on Context, May or May Not be Considered Racist

Let’s face it the New York Knicks are fickle.
They play soft, they play hard—
one minute their the Ringo Stars of the Garden, the next the Shitty Beatles,
but last season had me walking on Lins and Needles.
Now that allusion to the ancient Chinese medicine practice
known as “acupuncture”
probably went over most of your pretty little heads,
just know it was entirely un-Lintended.
Either way this Linsatiable Landry list of Linsanity
has resulted in a shit storm of media attention
and numerous letters to the editor,
all from a series of unfettered comments
and ambiguously racist headers.

I guess what I’m asking is–
should every political pundit wannabe Linguist be dismissed
when they let slip a slip of the tongue that stings stinks and stuns…
I mean whoever thought journalists would get fired for running puns?

I have an Uncle Tom. He’s a 6-8 conservative Caucasian
who happily lives in Cali with his wife and 6-7 son.
If it wasn’t for an injury to his right hip
and the innate desire to get an Ivy league transcript
my Uncle Tom might one day have played for the New York Jets.
Now if someone else in my family
eventually chooses finishing college and health
ahead of career advancement, fame and wealth,
can I ever get away with saying he or she’s an “Uncle Tom.”
I mean as long as you’re brought up to speed on the story,
can’t I personalize the lexicon without being derogatory?

Or let’s say my materialistic girlfriend,
a nice Jewish American Princess with a killer left
is caught yelling at our Sushi Chef.
I wouldn’t dare call her a JAP without being slapped in the chin
since nobody knows if I was directing my slurs to her or him?
The death of a Charlie
would make any young Vietnamese soldier boy sublimely upset
unless in reference to a muffed up love connection
resulting in Chuck Woolery’s untimely death.

Sure, honkies can be a one man band during a traffic feud
and cracker tracks this white dudes predilection for lightly salted snack food,
but no matter who’s a “chink in the armor” sounds—offensive and rude,
especially when used in relation to an Asian no matter how amazing
a player may or may not be playing.

Now I can tell you to just not say it
but who am I to tell you what you can or cannot say?
After all, aren’t I repping the white man,
who’s kicked out, murdered, enslaved and raped for generations.
leaving this embarrassed Caucasian pretty red in the face.
And that’s not meant as a slight at Native Americans or First Nations
but let’s…face it-
it’s getting harder to frame any thought without upsetting race relations.

Like, I can’t call (Irish Singer) Bono, “Mick”
even if I’m relaying that his current swagger reminds me of Mick Jagger.
And follow me here, unless he was the first one testing a new drug
helping middle-aged men with urinary tract issues better piss?
I could never call my Italian cop friend guinea pig Chris.
Even in this case where context is key,
I can’t let you know a bunch of fagots broke my fall when I fell out that tree?
No homo…phones. Or homonyms, hyperbole, simile, synecdoche-
basically we’re slowly purging the world of any and all ways to wordplay
so how do we say what we wanna say?
Well, the founding fathers set out to assure
our first amendment rights could never be breached
but what’s next, a law restricting the freedom of figures of speech?

So I guess what it boils down to is this.
Does an apartment demanding to be spic and span
ever consider who’s cleaning or it doesn’t matter either way.
cuz even if you don’t mean to be mean
one meaning of a double meaning can be so demeaning
it changes de meaning of what you’re really meaning to say.
So know the difference, expand that vocab and try to find another way.


Background Check (from 2009)

i’ve started to drift from center stage
not even honorable, but barely mentioned
absent from the X that marks the spotlight
somewhere on the edge of the edge of attention

an American false idol with negative votes
i’ve been kicked off more sets than abused remotes
seen more stars this summer than a bad boxer’s brain
fused to a telescope and I’ve hoped and hoped
for a chance to switch places with said stars switch faces switch cars,
at the very least be asked to join this elite on-screen team,
but my wannabe reality is still the stuff of dreams

i’m behind the behind the scenes
still got 14 minutes and 59 seconds to be seen
rubbing elbows is a fine start
but the closer i’m physically-
the more I realize how the stars and i
are still light years apart

this summer I curled two 30 lb. dumbbells
next to Bradley Cooper who was lifting 35’s,
sat behind Alec Baldwin blow-drying his face
and was asked to leave the set of 30 Rock
after Tina Fey whispered something to the assistant director
about how I looked “too Jewy” to be in a scene supposedly set in Georgia

i saw Julia Roberts and James Franco meditate next to a bald man
slapping his forehead in Eat Pray Love,
and watched the cast of both the Beautiful Life and Ugly Betty look prettier than me for 16 straight hours
first as a doorman i was put behind a statue, a column, and a waffle cart
all on Gossip Girl,
then forced to cheer for Pirates and Samurai on the set of Step-Up 3D

if a tree falls in the forest i’m its sound
stuck underneath torn costumes at the lost-soul and found
i’m Mischa Barton and Elle Mcpherson’s extra pound
not gonna front
I am in back of the background
an Extra-Extra
won’t read all about it,
the one you call when you already have enough

the shaky surgeon that doesn’t make the cut
the nervous hairstylist that doesn’t make the cut
you don’t schmooze you lose
and i didn’t make the cut.

the forgotten fly in the Monet Painting
that was painted over once the second coat was applied
blink and you’ll miss me
don’t blink and you’ll still miss me

the nobody’s-nobody and it’s already the final take
i don’t need my big break i need an earthquake
something tremendous- something i won’t have to pay you to see
something perfect for me

i’ve got it
i’ll…
CUT CUT CUT all background please report back to holding.