Fox Tends to Lack of Racism During Commercials
by msnook, Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 10:40:19 AM EDT
Recently, MSNBC began running a news ticker through commercial breaks to keep viewers "engaged," even if only for the few moments they forget to keep not-paying-attention during commercials. Ever the competitor, Fox came up with its own plan: 8-second animated segments between commercials featuring an Arab-looking, Arab-sounding, taxi-driving man in NYC who we see talking to himself through the rear-view mirror. Oleg (the character's name, which I learned after a bit of digging online) is learning to speak English like a good little assimilator, so an artificial voice on a tape reads a phrase and then Oleg repeats.
Here were the first words I ever heard Oleg utter. (And as Dave Barry says, I swear to you I am not making this up): "Which detention facility am I going to?" If Fox was trying to get my attention, it worked. A mere 30 seconds later, with Oleg's enemy-combatant status still fresh in my mind, his shifty little eyes reappeared in the rear-view mirror, the same artificial voice finished a phrase, and then Oleg said: "Where is my court-appointed attorney?"
Get it? It's not racism because he's just repeating after the tape! He must have gotten that tape second-hand from some terror-cell rummage-sale -- what an innocent explanation. Oh, and if you take the time to look up the web site, (which I'm sure all Fox viewers will) you'll see that there is no hidden message reifying ubiquitous and readily-available negative stereotypes regarding Arabs (or taxi drivers, or people who don't speak English, or people who frequent detention facilities and mooch off the state for counsel like those welfare moms mooching with school lunch) because Oleg is Greek... technically. I mean, "Greek born," as his bio says.
He's probably still one of them on the inside.
More on Fox's newest multi-media racial slur below the fold...
Oleg also sports the title of "A.S.S.", and his price meter says "Oleg Shorts"
referring to the fact that foreigners are thieves who cannot be trusted, which is a link to his "Short" videos -- get it? And did you read in his bio that he overcame adversity to get here? So stop thinking what you're thinking! That bumper sticker, which can be immediately identified as Spanish by its "¡" and "¿", is in no way a suggestion that he is somehow in the country under false pretenses, like that fence-jumper Keith Ellison. Get your mind out of the ethnic gutter!
And those conspicuously photoshopped take-out boxes sporting a monkey and a name one character away from the 2007 version of 1967's "Charlie"? (US soldiers in Iraq often call insurgents "Ali Baba".) Well, I'm sure there's a good explanation somewhere on the web page so we can all tell the PC-police to shut the hell up already. Actually, what's with the monkey? I guess they didn't expect me to screencap the image and zoom in on it. Maybe there really is a guy in NYC whose monkey loves Greek food and who opened a restaurant with a name that mixes metaphors from two separate middle-eastern religions to mean roughly, "lineage of the holy redeemer". It's possible.
Seriously though: These spots are veritable textbooks on unspoken racism, and I am hoping it will backfire. This little project needs to be made incredibly clear to Americans, so that it costs Fox a great deal more than they ever sought to gain through it. Americans really don't want to be racist, and when someone points out racism to us, we don't like it. With the Democratic Party united behind the claim that Fox is a right-wing propaganda outlet, this is not the time to try to slip one past the progressive noise machine.