So, some dude named Mike Polk, who fancies himself a comedian, did a YouTube video tribute to Cleveland. The Cleveland Tourism Board video and another one he did have been making the rounds around the Internets and what not and the thing is, it's almost funny, in a 1983 sort of way, when white people driving scared through black neighborhoods was still a good, relevant gag. But let me just tell you — here in Cleveland, the suburbs are where it's jumping off these days. That's where everyone is getting shot. Polk hasn't gotten that memo. And it's kinda troubling the way this guy takes pot shots at poor people and people of color. I don't think it's racist. I just think it's stupid and retro, in a bad way.
Now, I'm all for comedy, and I'll even make an occasional cheap shot, but I always get guff for it. In journalism and comedy, the first rule is you pick big targets. Polk takes video footage of random black people waiting on buses, riding bikes and some brother on the phone, and makes them out to be bums and rubes. It's not that I'm all that sensitive about Cleveland — I'm not. I may be one of the best things about this place, and I just got back. So Cleveland sucks pretty good. But it's disturbing for me that implicit race humor has crept back into vogue, like I predicted it might. Small wonder Cleveland is the vanguard of this nostalgia. The video is all the rage here in C-Town, and I guess I shouldn't expect much from a town where two jagoffs screening bad horror movies and doing racist sketch comedy ruled the local airwaves for close to 30 years.
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