The former King of Comedy makes a perfectly good joke about the media-blight of minority-preparedness ("Are we ready for a gay bishop?" "Are we ready for an Asian NBA player?") and suddenly a bunch of globular, jowly white guys are acting like he just found the burial plots of their dearly beloved ancestors, unearthed them, and urinated into the empty holes while doing his very own De Niro impression.
His apology is somewhat politically-savvy, as De Niro tries to ensure that it is obvious his main concern is Michelle Obama.
"My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone -- especially the first lady," De Niro said in a statement.
I'm not sure what to make of a 'satirical jest', much less how one speaks with satirical jest, and we've dealt with the bizarre issue of intent before: a great joke suddenly hinges on some excavation of intent; but the three grotesqueries remain: the joke was not racist, and somehow a bunch of white guys are victims of ersatz racism; the Obamas will always bow to the moral authority of right wing demagogues; and, gosh, aren't these old white goats great defenders of their ladies' honour?