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Oil?...Bitch You Cookin’?Justin BeccoWRTG 3020Dave Chappelle is a genius. An accurate representation of this brilliance will be demonstrated through an in depth analysis of his satirical depiction of former President George W. Bush. On the surface, this comedy may seem vulgar, repulsive, and racist, but after evaluating the notorious skit from Chappelle’s Show, Black Bush, one will learn to appreciate the beauty of his work. In this episode he uses multiple rhetorical strategies to create a satire that exploits both political and racial issues present in our society today. Several facets of logos, various stereotypes, and unspoken values are all utilized by Chappelle in different ways to conduct a satirical illustration of something the American public is very much familiar with. At former president George W. Bush’s expense, Chappelle shows us the darker side of the story in the only way he knows how, through satire. Black Bush, a skit premiering in 2004 during the second season of Chappelle’s Show, was aired not long after former president George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. The threat of Sadaam Hussein and his possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) were, at that point, very much real in Bush’s eyes. With the help of Tony Blair, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Bush decided to act upon his gut feeling and invade Iraq without very much evidence to support his decision. Dave Chappelle should kiss the very ground where Bush walks after this decision was made, because it allowed him access into the proverbial gold mine that is “Bush-isms”. And thus Black Bush was created. As Chappelle’s satirical portrayal of former president Bush, Black Bush explains why he made the decision to invade Iraq through various “press conferences” from a stereotypical black man’s point of view; according to Chappelle, “What would have happened in Iraq had a black man been president” (Chappelle). During this 7 minute skit, Chappelle uses a multitude of rhetorical strategies in an attempt to mock the former president’s decision to invade Iraq without possessing any significant evidence that supported his decision (Chappelle). In the process, Black Bush takes multiple policies the former president actually passed and puts his own black, stereotypical spin on them resulting in a hilariously comedic satire. The audience Chappelle is attempting to target during this obnoxious portrayal is obvious: conservative, pro-Bush supporters. At the time this show was created, the Republican constituency stubbornly stuck by President Bush’s side after invading Iraq without finding any WMD’s in Hussein’s possession. According to Galvez, “Chappelle connects geopolitics and crude humor to make his point that the real President Bush went to war with Iraq while ignoring global concern” (Galvez 6). During the skit, Black Bush makes illogical references one after the other when asked simple, straightforward questions regarding the invasion, similar to what Bush did when he was scrutinized for his decision to go to war. The true reason for invasion, according to Black Bush and anyone else capable of producing a thought for that matter was “OIL!” With this audience holding otherwise, Chappelle attempts to humor them by making up outrageous, yet seemingly true answers as to why the invasion occureds. He does this all while discrediting the former president and the decisions he made in similar situations at that time. As with any other satire, these claims are completely exagerratedexaggerated, yet the humor resulting from the dialogue is unprecedented. After going in depth with this comedic masterpiece, rhetorical strategies become obvious throughout the skit. The first example has to do with the rhetorical appeal of logos and the logical fallacy of a hasty generalization (Banks). By definition this fallacy occurs when someone jumps to conclusions without having enough evidence from which to draw that conclusion (Banks). With the United Nations finding nothing that resembles evidence of WMD’s in Iraq, Black Bush counters with, “The nigga bought aluminum tubes!!! Do I need to tell you what the fuck you can do with an aluminum tube?!” When the press seems dissatisfied with his answer, Black Bush continues, “That don’t scare you? Fine. I didn’t even wanna say this one…the mothafucka bought some yellow cake. Okay? In Africa! He went to Africa and bought yellow cake!” (Chappelle) By saying this, he automatically assumes that aluminum tubes and yellow cake, (a play off of yellow cake uranium), directly correlate to Hussein possessing WMD’s. Soon after this claim, the “Black Head of the CIA” comes out to support Black Bush by holding a napkin full of actual yellow cake (Chappelle). Referring to former President Bush finding “yellow cake uranium” in Iraq and deeming it a sufficient cause for invasion, Chappelle performs a satirical portrayal of this event beautifully. He is able to target his audience’s stupidity by deliberately showing them there’s no such thing as yellow cake uranium in Hussein’s possession, only yellow cake. Dave Chappelle’s rhetorical genius again arises later on in the skit, but with a different fallacy at work. Encompassed within logos, the Red Herring logical fallacy is used throughout the Black Bush skit in an utmost hilarious manner. By definition it is a diversionary tactic for leading listeners away from the real issue at hand (Banks). Two examples of this logical fallacy become blatant after only a few minutes into the skit. This first involves Black Bush at another press conference after a reporter inquires about his thoughts on people saying he is only interested in the Middle East, more specifically Iraq, for the abundance of oil. Black Bush, apparently surprised by the question, responds with, “What? Huh, Oil? Who said something bout oil bitch?! You cookin’!?,” as he proceeds to intentionally spill a pitcher full of water and run out of the press conference (Chappelle). Black Bush knew he was caught with his true intentions on why he wanted to invade Iraq, and instead of answering the question truthfully he threw a red herring at the reporter and ran out of the room. Chappelle is mocking President Bush by behaving in such a way after being questioned of his intentions of invasion. In Chappelle’s mind, the main reason President Bush decided to invade Iraq was the abundance of oil present under the country. He attempts to sway his audience’s opinion on such beliefs by throwing them a priceless red herring which anyone would laugh at, regardless of their political ideology. Another red herring thrown by Black Bush occurs when he is asked soon after the Iraqi invasion is completed, “Mr. President when do you think they’ll hold general elections in Iraq?” Black Bush responds with, “Damn I knew I shouldn’t have called on this nigga. You always tryin’ to distract mothafuckas with things like the war, and scurryin’ all the real issues! Gay people are getting married folks! Yes. Nasty! Imagine that, two men, at a barbeque, ‘I like you,’ ‘I like you too dog, let’s get married man.’ It’s crazy! That shit is gross!” (Chappelle). Although the vulgarity in this scene is a little too much to handle, there is a method to its madness. Chappelle is ripping on President Bush and his constituency yet again, but this time for being against gay marriage. By having Black Bush curse the very thought of same-sex marriage, Chappelle is channeling his inner-president Bush. Again, this tactic used by Chappelle works brilliantly. He insults his focused conservative audience in a way that does not seem to be insulting to them. The response towards gay marriage is so extreme and repulsive that it becomes funny; so funny that it is insulting the audience’s intelligence in the process. Although racial stereotypes are exploited over and again in the Black Bush skit, one instance towards the conclusion of the sketch displays them perfectly. Right after the gay marriage red herring is thrown, Black Bush is asked a question by the only black reporter in the room. Albeit the reporter’s skin color, everything about this man reeks of a pretentious, white male stereotype. As soon as the reporter is called upon by Black Bush, he inquires with, “Mr. President? Mr. President, sir, how do you explain the continual upheaval in Iraq, even after the capture of Sadaam Hussein?” in the most extreme old white male voice possible. With Black Bush disgusted, he is forced to respond, “Why you doin’ this man? I thought you was my black brother why you askin’ me questions like that?” (Chappelle). This is Chappelle’s attempt at ripping on his own African American stereotype. An educated black man, who has a seemingly good living for himself, asks an honest question that makes complete sense given the timeliness of the whole situation, yet he gets grilled by Black Bush for not being black enough to ask his fellow “brother” an easier question. Dave’s audience in this particular instance is the average black male. He is essentially slighting his own race for thinking they all have to stick together no matter what, solely because they share the same heritage. Masking the message to his audience through hilarity, Dave Chappelle does an excellent job of swaying his viewer’s opinions without them getting upset about it. Referring to Chappelle Galvez states, “A comedian always finds a way to combine multiple rhetorical situations for material. The goal is to talk about one thing in a different context, and still give the audience a chance to understand the comedian’s humor,” which Chappelle does flawlessly throughout the skit (Galvez 7). By using the rhetorical strategies of hasty generalizations, red herrings, unspoken values, and stereotypes Chappelle produces some of the funniest programming in the history of cable television. Sure, vulgarity and racism are constantly brought to light throughout Black Bush, but they are used as disguises so the audience’s entertainment is not compromised. (CATCHY CLOSING SENTENCE).Works CitedBanks, W. (2001). A Short Handbook on Rhetorical Analysis. Retrieved 12 July 2011 from , D. (2010). Intertextuality and Understanding Dave Chappelle’s Comedy. Retrieved 24 July 2011 from . ?Chappelle, Dave - Black Bush?? - YouTube. (2004). Retrieved 26 July 2011, from ................
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