CONTACT

Email: zeeshanaleem2ATgmailDOTcom

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6 thoughts on “CONTACT

  1. Dear Zeeshan,

    Wow, quite a commentary. You saw things in 30 rock concerning Tracy, (who was never my favorite character anyway and probably for much of wht you described), then I knew existed. As an african american I never thought of 30 Rock as a racist show or no more than most shows we see on TV, but I can’t deny your observations of this character. Really good observations!

  2. Very well written. I have not watched much 30 Rock, but you have inspired me to investigate it further. Often I have found myself uncomfortable with much of T. Morgans comedy.

  3. Having found my admittedly limited exposures to Tracy Morgan’s comedy not particularly entertaining, I have not been drawn to 30 Rock and as a result can not personally corroborate the opinions in your essay. That said, I wonder if it is even possible to create black characters other than the types you describe in a society that is so completely and resolutely committed to racial labels.

    Perhaps it might be pertinent to ask why Tina Fey has not actively sought writers who might bring a different perspective to the characters you cite. Many influential and dominant outlets in America remain “private clubs” that restrict the development of talent and autonomy. Perhaps this is not purposeful and merely the flow of the status quo, but then the question becomes, how will we define “racially responsible” media? I expect that whatever the definition, ultimately the proof will be when the facets of a character are not first and foremost the character’s skin color.

  4. In the first place, the character of “Tracy Jordan” is a carictature, as much as any other character on this show. Like Liz Lemon, Jack and the rest, he is a Jonsonian Humor, an archetype out of Joseph Cambell. He is not “the OTHER,” he is US. US in all our weaknesses, perversity, charisma and greed. His mythical prototypes are Loki and Hermes; his dramatic likeness is to be found in Aristophanes, Plautus, Shakespeare, Jonson, Moliere, Oliver Goldsmith, and so many others. If there is a single true HERO of 30 ROCK, it is crazy, irresponsible Tracy, not any of the others. He’s A WINNER. He gets what he wants. Despite everyone’s disapproval, he TRIUMPHS. It’s Jack and Liz who work for HIM. And despite all his personal shortcomings, he is beloved. And he geniunely loves them.
    That he is modeled on innumerable stereotypes is incontestable. But these stereotypes are double edged. What seems to be undesirable behavior isn’t undesirable if it GETS YOU WHAT YOU WANT. I’m reminded of two great comic routines by two great black stand-ups. First, Dick Gregory
    compares the Watts riots to the Boston Tea Party:

    Dick: So 200 years ago, a bunch of white folks break into a ship, dump some tea in the water. So what’s so bad about US doing the same thing? Cuz we got enough sense to TAKE IT HOME INSTEAD?

    Second, Bill Cosby on monster movies:

    Bill: They always laugh at the black actor. Plays the janitor in the monster movies. Always the first one to SEE the monster. Thing comes crawling through the door, going “AUGGH, AUGGH…” Janitor takes one look and says “Feet, DO YOUR DUTY!” and whooosh! he’s out of there. And the audience goes “Ha, ha…he was soooo scared…!” Well, you never see HIM get killed!

    As a white kid growing up in an all-white racist town (the Biggest KKK chapter in New England!), I watched the OUR GANG comedies. Think I identified with Spanky and Alfalfa and Froggy? Hell, no! Buckwheat and Stymie were MY role models!

  5. Zeeshan Aleem hits a 800 foot tape measured “home run” with this piece. He is not only descriptive of the subtle transgressions found in the 30 Rock characterizations, but he swats at that whole “peek-a-boo” blindness that represents the superstructure of long-term American racism. Americans revel in and applaud their instantaneous exit from two-hundred plus years of racism. All this while longitudinal census data suggest trends that could never be interpreted as supporting their findings. This critique clearly pulls back the curtain and asks “The Wiz” to appear and account for himself. And in reference to the recalcitrance of Americans towards views of race without jaundice, that nostrum attributed to Abraham Lincoln can be turned on its side and applied to modern observations about race. I believe Mr. Lincoln is quoted as having said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Americans would be wise to say nothing here. Zeeshan Aleem has spoken for us all!

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