Break the Chain Blame it on the Dame

Created 2/18/2003 (2/18/2003) Here's another one for the "No Joke Too Obvious" category. Whether the creator of this e-petition didn't get the joke, or just didn't think it funny, the e-mail petition about it is pointless.


Subject: FW: Dame Edna's racist comments in VF

Not only I will never ever buy Vanity Fair again, I will approach every newsstand and hide the copies behind other magazines so that your copies go unsold and will contact your sponsors who run ads in your pages regarding your attitude towards the largest minority group in the US.

Dear Editor,

I was infuriated at Dame Edna's response to Torn Romantic, Palm Beach Vanity Fair, February 2003). Dame Edna could have chosen any number of amusing responses; however, she responded using cheap, two-dimensional stereotypes of Latinos and Latin Americans, revealing not only her racism but also her profound ignorance of who we are.

We are not just 'the help' and the 'leaf blowers'. We are architects and activists, journalists and doctors, governors and athletes, scientists and business people. We are Nobel Prize Winners and Rhodes Scholars. We speak Spanish, but we also speak fluent English, and many of us speak other languages as well. As of last week, we are officially the largest minority population in the United States at 37 million and 13% of the population.

Without us, the economy o f this nation and the Americas, and consequently the world, would come to a complete standstill.

If Dame Edna were even remotely cultured or educated, she would have read and lost herself in the exquisite writings of Nobel prize winners Octavio Paz, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and Pablo Neruda. She would know that Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz was one of the first feminists and poets in the Americas. She would admire Isabel Allende and Sandra Cisneros for their passionate prose and vibrant spirits.

And of course, if it had not been for us, the world would not know chocolate! And everyone knows life would not be worth living without chocolate.

Finally, I would like to point out that Dame Edna would have NEVER written such blatantly offensive material about African-Americans or Jews, for obvious reasons. It seems that Dame Edna AND the Editors of Vanity Fair believe that Latinos and Latin Americans cannot read, and even if we could, we would never be Vanity Fair readers. For the life of me, I still cannot figure out why you chose to feature Salma Hayek on the cover and in an article celebrating her success immediately following such an offensive piece.

I demand an apology in print in the next issue of Vanity Fair from the Editors and from Dame Edna. In the meantime, I will be mobilizing everyone I know to boycott and protest Vanity Fair.

By the way, I am a 31-year old Mexican-American woman, with three Ivy League degrees, working in New York City at a major firm. I sure as hell am NOT the leaf blower or the help, and I think all of you need to go to college.


Excerpt, Vanity Fair (February 2003), p. 116, Ask Dame Edna:

Dear Dame Edna,

I would very much like to learn a foreign language, preferably French or Italian, but every time I mention this, people tell me to learn Spanish instead. They say, "Everyone is going to be speaking Spanish in 10 years. George W. Bush speaks Spanish."

Could this be true? Are we all going to have to speak Spanish?

Torn Romantic, Palm Beach


Dear Torn:

Forget Spanish. There's nothing in that language worth reading except Don Quixote, and a quick listen to the CD of Man of La Mancha will take care of that. There was a poet named Garcia Lorca, but I'd leave him on the intellectual back burner if I were you. As for everyone's speaking it, what twaddle! Who speaks it that you are really desperate to talk to?

The help? Your leaf blower? Study French or German, where there are at least a few books worth reading, or, if you're American, try English.

Dame Edna

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
The excerpted exchange is real and did appear in the magazine's February 2003 issue. Dame Edna Everage is a fictional character created by Barry Humphries, a 69-year old cross-dressing Australian comedian. "She" began writing a satiric advice column for Vanity Fair in 2001. The questions (and answers) in the column are as fictional as she is. The humor of the Dame Edna character, when taken in the proper context, is that she is a well-to-do housewife with no tangible perception of the real world, thus she readily spouts patently outrageous "advice" with no idea of how absurd it is.

Nevertheless, a Vanity Fair spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that they will print the following statement alongside "Ask Dame Edna" in the April issue:

"Vanity Fair regrets that certain remarks in our February issue by the entertainer and author Barry Humphries, in the guise of his fictional character Dame Edna, have caused offense to our readers and others. In the role of Dame Edna, Humphries practices a long comedic tradition of making statements that are tasteless, wrongheaded, or taboo with an eye toward exposing hypocrisies or prejudices. Anyone who has seen Dame Edna's over-the-top performances on TV or in the theater knows that she is an equal-opportunity distributor of insults, and her patently absurd comments about Spanish literature and Spanish speakers were offered in the spirit of outrageous comedy and were never intended to be taken to heart." recommends against signing any e-mail petition, no matter how real or compelling the cause. They have little or no validity and are rarely taken seriously. For more reasons to delete any "sign this and pass it on" chain letter you receive, read the primer on Armchair Activism in the Chain-Breaker's Library. Break this chain.

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Category: No Joke Too Obvious

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