Al Franken's outreach to the Asian community

My NARN colleague Michael Brodkorb discovered this nugget of Al Franken’s comedy genius last week, and today the Minnesota GOP has demanded an apology from the Senate hopeful for his sexist and racist routine. Franken reads a chapter from his book Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat Idiot, And Other Observations called “Chickenhawk” and supposedly recounts a sexual fantasy of Newt Gingrich. It goes without saying that this is Not Safe For Work:

The GOP sent out its review of the comedy stylings of Al Franken in a press release today:

“The outrageous and offensive ‘comedy’ of Al Franken has reached another vile low. We all know Franken feels compelled to attack his political opponents with venom and hate but to use stereotypes of a culture, and to mock them in voice and character, is appalling and disgusting.

“There’s no excuse for this type of hate-filled and degrading language. The idea that Minnesotans should ignore Franken’s career as a comedian where he spews such intolerant humor is incomprehensible. Al Franken needs to apologize for this mean-spirited and demeaning ‘comedy’ routine.”

Well, this isn’t exactly a comedy routine. He wrote the passage in his book, and the performance of it seems a little lackluster. He didn’t even reach Rosie O’Donnel’s “ching-chong” passion levels, demonstrating yet again those talents that led Air America to bargain-basement ratings.

How offended should we get about this passage? Have we had enough outrage for this cycle? Unlike Jeremiah Wright, this involves the actual candidate — but it also only involves a bad joke based on a Subic Bay/Vietnam stereotype that passed its sell-by date years ago. Rather than being offended, perhaps we should laugh at Franken’s inability to be creative and his need to rip off Full Metal Jacket and every other Vietnam movie ever made by Hollywood.

Still, this comes courtesy of the political party that loves to accuse Republicans of latent racism. This certainly provides a little evidence that the identity politics that has tripped Democrats this year may hide some ugly truths underneath.