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Credit to those who saw this coming: Facebook was going to blow up and do some damage of an irrevocable sort eventually. Now that USC's White Power page has made Jarvis Moss's "Heisemens" page look like, well, what it was (um, totally and absolutely correct and innocuous,) watch for the inevitable prohibitions on Facebook content by the more tightassed universities, or just bans outright by even more controlling institutions.

The root of the joke, however, is pretty funny. It allegedly stems from the fact that the black guys on the team call the group, which includes Dallas Sartz and Brian Cushing, "white power." And as we all know, "white power" as a repeated comic phrase is bankable funny, whether it's out of the mouth of Clayton Bigsby, Dave Chappelle's black, blind white supremacist, or as yelled by "White Power Bill" after he shivs someone in the yard on "Arrested Development." It's mostly funny because the concept itself is absurd, mockable, and espoused by people who don't exactly "sell the sizzle" of their chosen lifestyle.

But it's funny when he says it!

However, in order for this to be funny, you have to be operating at the least in what we'd call the high ironic mode, and preferably in an environment of zero taboo (like we imagine a football lockerroom to be), which means you have to accept the following premises.

1. Your audience has to know that you think white power is bad.

2. It has to be presented in a demonstrably absurd fashion. The more over-the-top, the better.

3. Your audience, preferably, should trust you.

4. You should trust your audience.

So really, this entire brouhaha is not a matter of racism, but bad comic design and placement. Clearly, these guys will not be on the writing staff of 30 Rock any time soon, since their design was sloppy, they didn't realize their whole audience wouldn't know that they were kidding, and the joke itself ("arresting black children before they commit crimes") is offensive without providing any cutting insight. Again: not racist, but certainly reeking of dumb-ist.

(Compare this to the scene in 40 Year Old Virgin where a guy asks a black guy if his child, when born, is already on probation. This wouldn't be funny coming from an older white guy; it comes, however, from the mouth of an older Indian man, a transgressive and savvy choice because a.) Indian guys are supposed to be polite! And good at math!, and b.) minorities are supposed to stick together, like the Minoriteam!)


Nor will they be receiving Fulmer points, since technically they did nothing wrong. However, any of the players concerned will be referred to as First Name "White Power" Last Name as punishment for the next year for their atrocious comic execution. The Punchline is just down the street, white players of USC. Just don't go there on a night when Michael Richards is playing.