Saturday, August 06, 2005

He Picked the Wrong Cereal!

Yesterday was not Larry Krueger's day.

The San Francisco talk show host stumbled upon not one, but two new ways of offending people and will certainly lose his job as soon as the caterwauling becomes shrill enough or congress gets involved--whichever comes first.

In the same commentary where he coined the ethnic slur, "Caribbean" (see previous post), he tried to improve upon the common metaphor, "his brain is mush," used to describe someone who doesn't think clearly.

Instead of the word "mush," Krueger got fancy and used the actual name of an actual mush, Cream of Wheat, when describing Giants' Manager Felipe Alou's brain.

He picked the wrong cereal.

Cream of Wheat packages have the picture of a smiling black chef offering up a bowl of steaming cereal to entice us. Apparently Krueger saying, "You have a manager in Felipe whose mind has turned to Cream of Wheat" is some sort of code for "Felipe Alou looks like that subservient black fellow on the box of Cream of Wheat.

Good thing he didn't use Count Chocula.

He could simply have said that Alou was a Fruit Loop--that's a cereal. And come to think of it, Fruit Loops have the advantage of being many different colors. They have diversity, yeah! You could call into question a persons mental processes and imply that they are part of the rainbow coalition all at the same time! Not to mention that a toucan is part of the rain forest.

It seems that Mr. Krueger needs to attend some sort of sensitivity class for serial offenders. Maybe local supermarkets could expand their businesses by conducting such classes right there in the cereal aisle. Certainly if you are going to be in radio you would need to know all the various connotations of foods in your grain group.

I wonder what would it have meant if he used Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal as his mush of choice. Wouldn't it be more offensive for a Dominican to be called an old white guy with a wig?

Somehow I don't think anyone would have even noticed if that was the cereal he picked.

Update: Surprisingly, Larry Krueger was fired today.

"Caribbean" is an "Ethnic Slur"?

To be sure, it probably wasn't a wise thing to say if you live or work in the Socialist Republic of San Francisco.

Larry Krueger of the San Francisco Giants' flagship station KNBR is under fire today after criticizing the style of play common among players from certain Latin American countries. Angry at the team's play, he cited the "brain-dead Caribbean hitters swinging at slop nightly" as one of the club's problems.

Apparently, you can add "Caribbean" to the list of "unapproved" adjectives in the Bay Area. Not only is it dangerous to discuss religion and politics, but hitting characteristics of ballplayers from certain geographical regions are taboo too.

Apologizing for KNBR, Senior Vice President Tony Salvadore said that the station takes offense that Kreuger "defamed our Latin players with an ethnic slur."

Move aside, n-word, there's a new slur in town: the c-word. Go ahead, you can call someone "brain dead," but don't dare call them "Caribbean".

What the knee-jerk slur police are missing in this case is that Krueger was simply criticizing a style of play that he felt was not working for the struggling Giants. Players from the region are brought up in systems where they are trained to be free swingers, just as players on the Oakland A's, for example, are trained in a farm system that emphasizes plate discipline and the value of working the count.

If Krueger were an A's talk show host, would it be alright for him to pin blame on players from that farm system who take too many pitches? Of course it would! Why then can't he say something negative about a group of players whose training emphasizes an aggressive style of hitting?

In fact, it is certain that he would not be in any trouble today if he just left out the word, "Caribbean". He could have said that the team had "brain dead hitters who swing at slop nightly." Would it be better to criticise the whole lineup instead of being more specific? Apparently so.

So far they say Krueger will not lose his job. Yeah, right.