Fo’ Shizzle!: Chrislip Accused of “Acting Black”
Every spring, the Chrislip Chamber of Commerce takes out an ad in downstate newspapers and magazines to try to attract tourists to our town. Normally the ad is barely noticed, either by our own citizens or the tourists they’re trying to impress. This year, though, it has drawn plenty of attention, but for the wrong reasons.
The current ad, pictured below, features a jive-talking African-American touting the hipness of our town.
“Chrislip, fo’ shizzle! Sir Shagz-a-Lot be invitin’ ya to hop in ya sweet ride and bust a move to Chris-town! We gots some phat things to do, some fly peeps to meet, and some cleeean-azz restrooms! And while ya here, don’t forget to come see Shagz and gimme five on the black hand side! Straight up!”
Critics say this is misleading because Chrislip doesn’t have any black people. Or at least no cool ones.
Chamber president Tom Grayson defended the ad. “For years we used pictures of pine trees. But the world is changing, and the trees just don’t draw tourists like they used to. Black is ‘in’ right now. We have a black president, and even a black First Lady. You might say black people are the new pine trees.”
Grayson acknowledges that the gentleman in the ad isn’t a Chrislip resident, and that they cut him out of a magazine. But he’s quick to point out that there are other African-Americans in town. “There’s Arthur Merkelson, who sells plumbing fixtures, and has an extensive collection of Dean Martin records,” he says, though he admits he’s not as cool as Sir Shagz-a-Lot. He also cites Dexter Gordon, the aluminum siding salesman who enjoys country line dancing. Though he admits he’s not as cool as Arthur Merkelson.
Grayson doesn’t know how effective the ad will be. He confesses he doesn’t have a clue as to what any of it means, although he’s pretty sure he hasn’t “shizzled” since his prostate was removed in 1985.