Chris Rock Really Should Join '60 Minutes'
All I've gotta say is, somebody give this guy his own man-on-the-street show. In a recent interview with New York Magazine , Chris Rock says that's exactly what he'd do if he were a 60 Minutes correspondent. Essentially, he'd force white people to talk about race and blow the lid off a culture that sweeps inequality under the rug.
In a conversation with NY Mag's Frank Rich, the legendary comedian discusses everything from current events, to race relations, to his upcoming film Top Five, which he wrote, directed, and starred in. Rich comments that Rock's documentary Good Hair reminded him slightly of 60 Minutes-style journalism, and Rock replies that he'd love to be a correspondent for the show. When Rich asks what he'd want to cover, Rock answers:
ROCK: I would cover anything. I mean, I’d be in Ferguson right now, and it would be in-depth, and it would be funny.
RICH: It’s hard to do funny in journalism.
ROCK: No, it’s not. It’s all in the cut.
RICH: What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?
ROCK: I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.
In a nutshell, his idea would be to send a white reporter into, preferably, a typically white liberal area to probe residents with questions. In a stunt reminiscent of Cyrano De Bergerac , Rock would feed the white reporter questions through an earpiece — questions that a white guy "would never come up with" about race. He surmises that this would be the best way to get people confronting questions of race head-on, which he says that the mainstream media typical ignores.
RICH: And we’d be asking white people and black people?
ROCK: Just white people. We know how black people feel about Ferguson — outraged, upset, cheated by the system, all these things.
RICH: So you think people can be lulled into saying the outrageous shit they really feel?
ROCK Michael Moore has no problem getting it. Because he looks like them. But the problem is the press accepts racism. It has never dug into it.
There it is! The crux of the argument.
Throughout the conversation, Rock brings up how a culture of political correctness works against comedy, an art form that operates on the currency of truth. Being PC allows the government, the media, and culture to ignore the issues that maintain the status quo of a racist institution.
Reporting like the kind that Rock suggests would throw the truth in people's faces and make them deal. There would inevitably be some cringe-worthy sound bites (à la The Daily Show or a Sacha Baron Cohen movie), plenty of people would give mealy-mouthed answers, and others would probably say some totally right on things. Overall, the point would be to turn a mirror on our culture and make them recognize the fact that we're far from a post-racist society. Look no further for proof of that fact than the exoneration of Darren Wilson.