Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock, and Brad Pitt's mom say sort-of-controversial things, spark sort-of controversies
Amid a week in which America was reminded of the privilege of its freedoms, several famous (and tangentially famous) people took the opportunity to exercise those freedoms, at which point other, non-famous people got angry at them, as is the American way. The first to spark controversy was Chris Rock, who commemorated the Fourth of July by tweeting, "Happy white people's independence day the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks"—a racially tinged joke that shocked many who would never expect a comment like that from Chris Rock, as their familiarity with him is limited to the Madagascar movies, apparently. Naturally, many Twitter patriots rushed to let Rock know that they would now no longer be seeing those movies, while others urged Rock to put the nation's history of slavery in a broader global context, then go fuck himself. Rock has yet to respond to the social media "backlash," instead moving on by promoting the upcoming iTunes release of 2 Days In New York—Julie Delpy's neurotic indie romance that Middle America is totally not going to watch now.
Also sparking accusations of fostering racial divisiveness by making a mostly innocuous comment that was indirectly proportional to the negative attention it's received is Morgan Freeman, who told NPR this week that he doesn't consider Barack Obama to be black. Freeman was remarking on the racial "barrier" created by the birther movement and the like, saying that Obama's opponents "just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white—very white American, Kansas, middle of America. There was no argument about who he is or what he is." As such, Freeman declared, "He's not America's first black president, he's America's first mixed-race president"—a statement that is not especially earth-shaking, save for the fact that it was read in the sonorous, authoritative voice of Morgan Freeman, lending it some air of godly decree. Granted, Freeman's statement also likely came tinged with some jealousy, given that he's already served as a black president. "Did Obama ever have to deal with a giant comet?" Morgan Freeman did not say, because he is a very serious man and that was just a movie.
And on the lighter side of the news, in the sense that it involves someone's embarrassing mom and that is always funny, Brad Pitt's mother has come under fire for penning a letter to the editor of her local paper—in itself, such a mom thing to do, with the fact that it's full of hyperbolic, regurgitated Republican rants just the icing on the mom-cake. In urging her fellow Christians to vote for Mitt Romney despite his being a Mormon, Jane Pitt wrote, "Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama—a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage." Which: Oh, mom.
Pitt, of course, is a very vocal supporter of both Obama and gay rights—not to mention Obama's distant cousin—which should make for an especially awkward Thanksgiving this year. That is, unless Pitt and Angelina Jolie adopt the approach taken by so many families and finally invite Jon Voight over, then let him and Jane have their own little corner of the table to exhaust themselves with outrage until they finally go take a nap and leave everyone else alone.