Osama bin Laden is a nappy-headed ho'
(Not that you can tell)
Paul Wolfowitz is a nappy-headed ho'
(OK he's not. But he is a goddam comb-sucker)
George Bush is a nappy-headed ho'
George Bush Senior is a pappy-headed ho'
Paris Hilton is a jappy-headed ho'
Snoop Dog is a rappy-headed ho'
Simon Cowell is a snappy-headed ho'
Anne Coulter is a yappy-headed ho'
(And a crappy-headed ho')
Even Daisy Duck was a nappy-headed ho'
Mary Poppins was a nanny-headed ho'
Larry King is a happy-headed sno'
Steve Jobs is an Apple-headed ho'
Deborah Jeane Palfrey might be a delapi-deaded ho'
As for Karl Rove... He's just a plain old ho'
The legendary 50s comedian Lenny Bruce, who was literally hounded to death by people who objected to the words he used, sometimes started his show by coming out on stage and asking: "Is there a n----r here tonight?" He'd continue "Ok how about a k-ke?" "A w-p?" and so on through the most racially charged words in the language. From stunned silence, people would start giggling, then raising their hands to acknowledge ethnicity. By the time Bruce got through introducing everyone to each other in the worst kind of slurs, the place was LOL.
Bruce would end with this: we need to laugh at these words. Not be shocked by them. Not ban them. On the contrary we need to repeat them to death - let other people repeat them to death - until they become meaningless: "So that never again will a little child have to cry himself or herself to sleep"
Which I imagine as a Jewish kid growing up in the anti-Semitic 20s, Bruce often did.
A related point was made by equally legendary George Carlin in his 70s routine The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television; (the words, in case you've forgotten or never heard it are: "f-ck, p-ss, sh-t, c-nt, c-cks-cker, m-therf-cker, t-ts") It's possibly one of the funniest comedy routines of all time. His point: banning words only makes them more desirable, makes people hungrier for them.
True the legends weren't saying this on television. True Imus isn't in their league as a humorist. (Though he could be very funny) But in the tsunami of outrage that engulfed us this week, much of it justified and passionate, plenty of it feigned and opportunistic, these issues were barely even raised, let alone debated.
Perhaps Bruce and Carlin were wrong, perhaps society has passed them by. Perhaps we've evolved somehow in 40-50 years and live in "different times", as some commentators claimed. But I think the fundamental message of these classics of American comedy is universal and changeless. If you ban words you find obnoxious, they only become infinitely more powerful, toxic and dangerous.
Hey, it's just a f-cking thought.
While we're on the subject: check out my new satirical paperback The Messiah of Morris Avenue