Wow, you can always count on Stanley Crouch to say something appropriate and insightful, can't you?
This past Saturday Richard Pryor left this life and bequeathed to our culture as much darkness as he did the light his extraordinary talent made possible.
When we look at the remarkable descent this culture has made into smut, contempt, vulgarity and the pornagraphic, those of us who are not willing to drink the Kool-Aid marked "all's well," will have to address the fact that it was the combination of confusion and comic genius that made Pryor a much more negative influence than a positive one.
It's literally impossible for me to imagine the magnitude of self-deception required for an alleged jazz critic and historian to have written those words, but Crouch seems hell-bent on securing his reputation as the Michael Medved of jazz and letters.
Steve Gilliard has some choice words for the "hanging judge":
Crouch wants to pretend if black people were nice, white people would respect them. Richard Pryor knew better.
All Pryor did was tell the truth about black life. What he also did, and what unnerves Crouch, who hides behind a silly argument over language, is that he exploited the fear whites had of blacks and blacks had of whites. Bill Cosby isn't even in the same room as Pryor, Salieri to Mozart, and Cosby knows it. Pryor's career exploded as America confronted race, sex and drugs.
But the sad fact is that Crouch is obsessed with the way white America sees black, as if these social ills didn't exist, they wouldn't have any excuse for racism.
Then again, as far as I know, the late Mr. Pryor never make a habit of hitting people who piss him off -- tragically missing a valuable opportunity to become a positive influence, like Stanley Crouch.