I must be the only person in North America who until moments ago had no idea Rick Sanchez was Cuban-American. Until now I thought his only claim to minority status was membership in a select group of media personalities so stupid that even other media personalities recognize it, but his recent interview on SiriusXM talk show Stand Up! with Pete Dominick completely straightened me out. I now understand he is both Cuban-American and a dolt. (The standard apology to Cuban-Americans and dolts everywhere will be shortly forthcoming.)
But wait, there’s more! In light of remarks Sanchez made in the aforementioned interview, and the sensible reaction of CNN, we can now add to these descriptors “anti-Semitic and unemployed.”
The interview started innocently enough with Sanchez’s explaining the systemic discrimination that had barred him from getting his own show on CNN, celebrity status, book deals and a gazillion dollars in income (oh wait …). Understandably he led with the most egregious episode—an unnamed CNN executive who told Sanchez to his face that he saw him as less of an anchor and more of a reporter like John Quiñones of ABC. I know, I know, it’s Selma all over again. You might want to send the kids out of the room if you choose to play the audio clip at the end of this post.
Warming to his subject, he then moved on to the self-evident bigotry of … Jon Stewart (no, don’t bother wiping your glasses, you really read “Jon Stewart”):
I think to some extent Jon Stewart and [Stephen] Colbert are the same way. I think Jon Stewart’s a bigot.
I think he looks at the world through, his mom, who was a school teacher, and his dad, who was a physicist or something like that. Great, I’m so happy that he grew up in a suburban middle class New Jersey home with everything you could ever imagine.
Well, glad we’re judging Stewart on the content of his character and not some lame stereotype based on class envy. Just in case you are one of the naysayers who doubts that having two professional parents necessarily consigns you to a life of bigotry, Sanchez has a ready explanation:
That’s what happens when you watch yourself on his show every day, and all they ever do is call you stupid.
Got it. Forget about the palatial splendor of New Jersey, a bigot is basically anyone who makes fun of Rick Sanchez, which probably means there is way more bigotry in the land than any of us dared imagine.
That’s not how Rick sees it of course. Stewart’s worldview is “very much a white, liberal establishment point of view.” He is bigoted against …
[a]nybody who’s different than you are, anybody who’s not form your frame of reference; anybody who doesn’t look and sound exactly like the people that you sound [like] and grew up with. The people that you put on your show, who always reflect somebody who’s, “I’m bringing in to sit around me,” you know, who’s very different from me. …
He can’t relate to a guy like me. He can’t relate to a guy whose dad worked all his life. He can’t relate to somebody who grew up poor.
Okay, so when makes someone finds comic grist in the fact that you wonder aloud how there can be a volcano in a cold place like Iceland:
Or need someone to explain what nine meters mean:
Or think Hawaii is off the coast of South America:
Or read teleprompter instructions literally:
It’s a discrimination thing, right?
Okay, so far so silly, but not career-ending. Sanchez, to no one’s great surprise, plays the race card to justify his manifest deficiencies and the tendency of people like Jon Stewart (who for all his faults knows from funny) to satirize them. Had he had the good sense (Sanchez, nevermind) to put a sock in it and move on to what a loser Glenn Beck is, or some such rant for all occasions, he would still be employed tonight and at liberty to catalog the many injustices visited upon them from whatever penthouse or compound he lives in. But it was not to be.
The show’s host, in an obvious and innocent attempt to reel Sanchez in, suggested that Stewart, being Jewish, should certainly have some insight into the plight of oppressed minorities. Sanchez for his part bit on an exploding cigar of his own making with all the gusto of Yosemite Sam.
Very powerless people… He’s such a minority, I mean, you know… Please, what are you kidding? … I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they — the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah.
You are welcome to listen to the clip below or here, but, trust me, neither the context nor Sanchez’s inflection is likely to make you slap your head and exclaim “oh, that clears it up, it was all a big misunderstanding!”
Rick is doubtless kicking back tonight, perhaps rifling through the cardboard box of his personal effects just arrived from CNN, and pondering this latest injustice against him and, yes, all Cuban-Americans. He should take comfort that the same calm, reasoned approach that got him this far will doubtless sustain him in the more or less inevitable round of talk-shows, tell-alls and op-eds that must follow.
And after all, tomorrow’s another day.
Cross-Posted at NewsReal Blog.