This sketch from US Comedian Dave Chappelle’s show – which ran from 2003 to 2006 on Comedy Central is a gem. Its a very simple idea, a switch of cultural context and image in the portrayal of the US justice system’s different approach to white collar (white) criminals and drugs related, black criminals. Amazing in concept and execution.
Another very good sketch from the show features Chapelle as a black President Bush, running the presidency like a street operation. As clear cut cultural inversions, they’re very effective, simple but funny because they are ludicrous in their sudden revelation of a cultural or human situation operating through a gross, venal stupidity. Or at least this is their appearance, when in fact they more properly resonate (certainly the above) as the outcome of a directly structured oppressive functioning of state powered racist control modality, whose symptomaticity is the expression of hatred and lack of understanding (co-functionalities of lack of awareness of the overall mode of both).
There’s layers to this work, the cleverness of the idea, fleshed out perfectly in its timing, rhythm and form – a story in social translations. What is perhaps most illustrative of the latter sketch being that the venal criminality of the black crime gang as Bush administration is simply a less culturally moulded and ‘civilised’ form of the same thing. Surely one of the reasons the last incumbent of the Whitehouse was so able to retain that position was because even when the evidence of the tenor of the occupation was so obviously ill-conceived and selfish in its interests, was that it was not too far removed from the operations of state control in effort and effect, a difference of degree in possibility rather than kind.
As such, its interesting from this interview with investigative journalist Adam Davidson by Seth Meyers among a scathing critique of the last President as a ‘bottom feeder’ on the massive world of corruption to pick up a few notes.
‘…What we do know is that over the last two decades, half of Russian wealth… trillions of dollars… flowed into the US into the UK, capital flight, money laundering and lots of institutions including major banks and major businesses made hundreds of millions of dollars off of this…’
‘…money laundering is inherent in a lot of our banking system…’
‘We don’t have an apparatus to go after white-collar crime aggressively’