Saturday, August 09, 2008

I ain't scared of you motherfuckers!

by Ryland Walker Knight

look here
[October 5, 1957 - August 9, 2008]

I knew Bernie Mac had the odd disease sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, most often in the lungs, since 1983. But I did not know he was hospitalized last week. His sarcoidosis brought on pneumonia and, although he was apparently responding well to treatment, Mac passed away this morning. I can't claim to be his most devoted fan but I always dug his catch phrase and his candor and respected the hell out of him for a marriage that lasted his whole adult life, from age 20 to today. Plus, you know, he was funny as fuck. Finally, while not over the moon, I'm with Armond White when it comes to Mr. 3000, which I saw for the first time on cable television after moving back to Berkeley in January 2007. It surprised me with its warmth, and its curious interest not in glory but decency -- and it's not ham fisted, however slight it may be -- where race is not ignored but handled with intelligence, and comedic smarts. But Bernie Mac didn't get famous for sensitivity. In fact, it's his fearless desire to speak on shit, whatever it is, however he wants -- politeness be damned -- that makes his comedy work. It's not quite crude but it certainly isn't "tasteful" by any stretch. I wish I had a better thesis on comedy and its worth at this point but I do know that there's plenty of value in great comedic satire, as most stand up is, that gets lost when things get "serious" and tend towards the leaden. It's part of why I like those Pirates movies, why I value Wes Anderson. (There's an attention to language, and how we all use it and how it often fails us, that brings out laughter; timing a pause in speech says just as much as a good cuss word.) Hell, that's Armond's argument for Mr 3000 over Before Sunset (but I'd say he's missing out on what else Linklater's film has to offer). However, it need not just be satire. There's love in great comedy. It's what people often call "humanism" (a term I've yet to embrace), I think. Bernie Mac loves those kids he promises he'll whoop. Bernie Mac loves his wife. Bernie Mac loves America. And America, rightly, loves Bernie Mac. Or, it did for a time. (Pop culture shelf life is a bitch.) I hope he keeps getting loved. There's no reason he shouldn't be loved. Here's some reasons why:


  1. MY FAV LINE!!!!! i loved that dude he was toooooo funny. this hit hard, dont even kno this dude-but we all knew his work!

    thanks for sharing


  2. Dead at 50? Shit. What a loss for all of us who loved his work. Thanks Ry for posting this tribute. His untimely death is lowdown shame.

  3. That 1st YT video showcases the fiery sarcasm in his rhetoric. States he indirectly:
    Society stereotypes us
    with big dicks
    crazy about sex
    crazy about violence
    prison, drugs, IQ, etc., etc., etc.,

    So if thats what society thinks, I'm going to deliver and give it to them! And give it to them smack in their face.

    I ain't scared of you motherfuckers! You don't understand.

    RIP, mac.

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  5. That's too bad he was a great actor and comedian, of course i have never meat him I'm just talking in a professional way, I wonder why but just bad actors live a lot hahah