TOMATOES, Not Hand Grenades
by Brian Matthew Kessler.
Lets get a proper sense of proportion here. I did NOT launch a nuclear missile at Mr. Kinder: I THREW TOMATOES. I did NOT fire a bazooka at him: I THREW TOMATOES. I did NOT throw stones at him: I THREW TOMATOES. Not killer tomatoes, ORDINARY GARDEN VARIETY tomatoes. Let me spell it out for you: Tee Ow Em Ay Tee Ow Ee Es. We are talking about little red vegetables that are easily squashed and only with intense effort could ever be used to do actual physical harm.
I do not know how many people were at the show when he began a poor attempt to fulfill his contract, but I arrived over an hour late, with less than fifteen in the audience at best. I witnessed at least five people leave early afterwards.
The jokes told by the "comedian" were both of exceptionally poor quality, and an equal amount of taste behind them. As one individual put it, "If there were Orthodox Jews in the audience, they probably would have been throwing chairs at him." (I would print the name of the person who said it, but I have not had a chance to get his permission). His jokes consisted, for the most part (at least after I arrived) of jokes about World War II (a war where six million innocent Jews, plus millions of others, died), jokes about Jews (depicting them in a manner that most Jews, no matter how astray they have gone, would probably find offensive... speaking for myself, I did), jokes about how it didn't matter to him what we thought of his act since he was going to get his money anyway (even though if he had any integrity at all he would have relinquished his pay check, or at least offered to).
The only partial success he had were from insulting and embarrassing members of the audience, and he had no great success. After being there for over a half hour (it seemed much longer, but that could have been because of boredom), I had decided that this was the most pitiful excuse for a comic I had ever seen in my life. My mind quickly referenced all the classic television and movie material that portrayed low talent entertainers being bombarded with fruits and vegetables. While I have not ever before joined the rank of the hecklers, I strongly felt this guy deserved an exception. I interrupted him and shouted to the guy in the kitchen "Do you have any spare tomatoes back there?" At the time I was not serious about actually doing it. I felt the allusions were obvious. One audience member stated "Oo, that's cold." and several others chuckled. The "comic" entered a dialogue with the worker from the kitchen. The worker, stated several times "You don't know what he meant, do you?", indicating to me, that the worker clearly did. The "comic" gave no clear indications as to whether or not he understood. He did, however challenge the worker to get tomatoes. Towards the end of the show, the worker supplied me with tomatoes. The way I interpreted it, the comedian was asking for it and Lakeside did not seem to be only giving me permission, but also supplying me with the ammunition. I thought people would find it funny (and I know many more people than were present who have claimed that they would have found it funny, many of which stated they probably would have been throwing tomatoes themselves), so I threw the tomatoes. Apparently, the bulk of remaining audience did not seem to share in this sense of humor, perhaps that is how they managed to stay through the whole show... or maybe they were just too concerned with proper etiquette and didn't want to be rude by leaving... but it isn't really my place to speculate on this. At seeing that the reaction was other than expected I was going to apologize to the "comedian" in person, but before I had a chance to, I was asked to leave since some people got upset.
After things cleared up, I went back to find out what happened in the after-math. I learned that several people complained that I ill represented the school, although the comedian himself, neither took me as a representative of the school nor filed any complaints against me. Being unable to apologize in person to the "comedian", I immediately asked how I could get in touch with him to apologize. The person who was currently in charge offered to mail an apology for me and I immediately began to type one up. A source tells me that there has been some debate over the sincerity of the apology, due to the style in which I wrote it. I will settle this debate here and now: It was NOT sincere, HOWEVER, it WAS honest. Anyone who has read any of my non-fiction writing material will note this to be a quality contained in most of my work. As I am sure that even this letter demonstrates, the two qualities are by no means mutually exclusive.
As for apologizing to the people who made the complaints (which notably did not include the "comic"), I apologize to them for offending them, however I think they also owe me an apology for not having the decency to complain to me in person and for filing complaints. While I can understand their volunteering to be witnesses if any were asked for, which they were not asked for at the time of the occurrence, I can't see where they, who were no more then innocent bystanders, feel the right to complain when the comedian himself didn't even feel the need.
I have just one last thing to say: I am puzzled by the header of the editorial in the last ARGO, "Do Not Accept Ignorance"... I don't quite see how that fits into anything. While I admit to ignorance of some of the more absurd rule around here and the "comic", had he not himself been Jewish, (which I felt justified absolutely nothing in his jokes, and if anything only served to lessen my tolerance of them), would have seemed to be encouraging ignorance towards Judaism, neither seems to fit the title.
What next? Maybe I'll try holding up Lakeside with a Cucumber. Let's get realistic here and put
things back into proper perspective.