A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Freaks of the Colbert Nation

I'm still shaking my head at a remark Stephen Colbert made on his show last Thursday night. I'm not sure if his audience is hip, shell shocked, or racist. He was "moderating" a debate between Global Post writer Mark Starr and Washington Post commentator Mark Fisher. At one point, Fisher described World Cup soccer players as the greatest athletes in world. "They're not freaks of nature," Fisher comments, alluding to American basketball players as monstrously large in comparison to soccer players. Colbert asked him,"What IS a freak of nature?" to which Fisher responds,"Someone who's 7 feet 5 and 365 pounds." Colbert was mock outraged, saying, "FREAK OF NATURE??!" adding calmly," They prefer to be called African-Americans." This statement prompted a loud gasp from the audience and some laughter. Colbert pressed on, undaunted, accusing Starr of saying something offensive.

Colbert was evidently linking Fisher's remarks about freaks of nature and large African-American basketball players, but even the 9/11 Commission would have been hard pressed to expect anyone to connect those dots and find the joke. But I've been looking for discussion of this joke and have found hardly anything. Commenters to The No Fact Zone found Colbert had been totally in character and feared that his remark would be taken out of context. I thought it was a reach and inappropriate, especially when a viewer needs a AAA road map to find the joke. Why has there been no significant back and forth on what Colbert said?


  1. Because most of the people who think they were offended by Colbert's "comment" probably realize that they don't quite "get it," even though they don't get it. Get it? So even though they might be offended, they're smart enough to understand that they're not supposed to be. And they leave it alone.
    And if you need a map to watch Colbert then he is most definitely not your correct destination. Travel elsewhere.

  2. I was surprised and a little shocked myself. However, you did not mention that Colbert immediately apologized saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry".. Not that the comment was in any way acceptable, I do believe he went too far, realized that, was sincerely sorry and tried to move on with the show...

  3. Anonymous 10:09, you're amazingly arrogant and misguided. I'm not surprised that someone like you doesn't have anything useful to add to the discussion.

    Colbert apologized for the guest, not for himself.

  4. Colbert does a send up of right wing media personalities. And he likes to play "gotcha" by setting up people to hang themselves. He was making absolutely sure that the audience knew what this guy meant when he said "freaks of nature" His character was in complete agreement with this assesment, Colbert assumes (rightfully) that his audience is not. His entire show is tongue in cheek.

  5. That's a helpful interpretation of what went on.