I didn’t think it was necessary to keep up with the self-destruction of Reed College, where the left doesn’t know how to deal with the far left. (I doubt there is a single faculty member or student at Reed much to the right of Bernie Sanders, so the fact that Reed is tearing itself apart over the usual identity politics flashpoints is just a special bonus for popcorn sales.)
But the latest update on Reed from The Atlantic leads off with something simply beyond the pale:
At Reed College, a small liberal-arts school in Portland, Oregon, a 39-year-old Saturday Night Live skit recently caused an uproar over cultural appropriation. In the classic Steve Martin skit, he performs a goofy song, “King Tut,” meant to satirize a Tutankhamun exhibit touring the U.S. and to criticize the commercialization of Egyptian culture. You could say that his critique is weak; that his humor is lame; that his dance moves are unintentionally offensive or downright racist. All of that, and more, was debated in a humanities course at Reed.
But many students found the video so egregious that they opposed its very presence in class. “That’s like somebody … making a song just littered with the n-word everywhere,” a member of Reedies Against Racism (RAR) told the student newspaper when asked about Martin’s performance. She told me more: The Egyptian garb of the backup dancers and singers—many of whom are African American—“is racist as well. The gold face of the saxophone dancer leaving its tomb is an exhibition of blackface.”
One irony here is that I recall seeing Steve Martin once explain that he deliberately crafted his zany style of humor, emphasizing his gifts at physical comedy, in order to get away from the over-politicized style of stand-up comedy that had grown up in the 1960s. But now even this is suspect for the hair-trigger left. (By the way, how long until the use of the word “triggering” will be banned, because it reminds us of guns, which are evil and should only be allowed to be carried by police. Oh, wait. . .)
Yesterday I heard James Lileks declare on the Ricochet podcast that Martin’s King Tut sketch wasn’t funny. Lileks is wrong about this. It is indisputably part of the Canon. And since Power Line only goes in for macroaggressions, everyone enjoy an encore of King Tut, and offend a liberal:
JOHN adds: I’m with Lileks on King Tut, but seriously–if cultural appropriation is the issue, what do liberals think of another of Martin’s sight gags, the arrow through his head? Someone should remind Native Americans of this outrage: