Friday, September 07, 2007

Whoops, Whoopi! Washed-Up Comedian Defends Vick (Sort of), Displays Geographical Ignorance on “The View”

Remember Whoopi Goldberg? That comedian from the ‘80s and ‘90s who segued into an acting career for a while? Yeah, I could hardly remember her myself. Then this past week she took her new seat on “The View,” that ghastly concoction that Wikipedia describes as a “multiple Emmy-award winning American daytime talk show that airs on the ABC network.” “The View” won an Emmy? “The View” won an Emmy??? All-righty then!

Anyway, Whoopi sat down with the other ignorant, logic-challenged women on “The View” and the subject turned to Michael Vick. While everyone’s brows were furrowed, Whoopi began to opine that to understand Michael Vick was to understand the culture in which he was reared. You know—deprived culture, poor culture, ghetto culture. (Sort of—but actually not really—the kind of culture Whoopi was reared in. You know—hard knocks, disadvantaged, racist.)

It’s true that Vick grew up in a public housing project on the poor side of Newport News, Virginia. His mother was 16 when she gave birth to him, and he was her second child. (Whoopi was 18 when she gave birth in 1973 to her daughter, Alexandrea, who in turn went on to have a child herself in 1989 at the age of 16. But I digress...)

Apparently, for Michael, like many kids in the area, sports provided a way out of that environment. There is no, as far as anyone knows, anecdotal evidence that dogfighting (the federal crime to which Vick has recently admitted) happens in the neighborhood in which he lived.

Maybe Whoopi knows more about the Newport News projects than we might have previously guessed. But she came a-cropper when Barbara or Joyce—I always get those two mixed up—asked her what part of the country Vick was from.

“Oh,” said Whoopsy, furrowing her brow even deeper than her Viewmates, narrowing her eyes and shaking her head with omniscience and faux-sensitive disapproval, “the Deep South.”

Immediately , the 15-watt light bulbs went off in the Viewheads. But of course! If you live in the DEEP South, then you are in deep do-do! ‘Cause that’s where all the ignorant and racist white people live, and someone like Michael Vick would have been a victim of that and ergo it would have affected his brain and rubbed off on him and made him become part of a dogfighting gang after he became a multimillionaire football player!

Needless to say, anyone with access to a moldy old Rand McNally map of the U.S., or who can quick-click on the PC, knows that Virginia is not the Deep South. It has never been considered the Deep South. Not geographically, and not culturally. Virginia—just south of Washington, D.C., and just east of Kentucky—is the state that last fall repudiated incumbent U.S. senator George Allen in his reelection bid, in part because he was exposed as a possible racist. Virginia was the very last Southern state to cast its lot with the Confederacy in 1861, so divided was its citizenry about the possibility of civil war. As a pundit explained about the Allen situation, “Virginia is more a purple state nowadays than red.”

No, Whoopi, Michael Vick did not grow up in the Deep South. (That would be Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana, in case we're keeping score. And girl, get your good self a good map!)

It is one thing to be ignorant, but it is quite another to be ignorant and to be on an “Emmy-winning” TV show, where you have a podium to infect others with your ignorance. I have no idea—and neither does Whoopi—why Michael Vick got into dogfighting, but it seems wise when pondering the issue to leave your own stupidity and bigotry at home.

Gee, I miss Rosie already.

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