Who Owns The Language?

            Who owns the English language?

            I ask because I am under fire for using the “n” word without permission.

            I’m branching out professionally, making the seamless and easy transition from criminal defense lawyer to stand-up comic. The differences aren’t all that great. In both instances, you stand before strangers challenging preconceptions. Criminal law is about defending alleged transgressors; good comedy is about transgressing settled expectations and piercing the pretentions of the unctuous.

            There are few folks more unctuous these days that the “woke,” the cabal of righteous folk who have decided they know what’s best for the rest of us. The new high priests and priestesses of identity politics – the Identitarians – are a social cancer. Humor is one way the lance the boil they represent on the body politic.

            In a recent stand-up routine in East Haven comedy competition I commented on Joe Rogan’s removing a series of his podcasts from Spotify because the “n” word appeared in them. It is ridiculous that we give words such power. So I said, in that gig, that I wanted to make sure my performance was never shown on YouTube. I dropped the “n” word. The audience gasped. A boundary had been crossed, shattered, mocked. And no one was hurt. Fancy that.

            In the weeks that followed that performance, social media lit up. I had advanced to the next round because I was racist. My use of the “n” word proved it. Folks tried to get to event cancelled, even going so far as to call the restaurant at which the event was taking place. There was no cancellation.

            On the night of the performance, the finals of a multi-week competition, there was a packed house. I performed again, and made it to the final round of three performers. I was the last comic standing; competing against two musicians, who, as it turns out, came in first and second place – I placed third. 

            Before the three of us did our final acts, a series of warm up comics appeared on stage. They were all black, using the “n” work with abandon, a couple of them commented on my use of it several weeks earlier. A couple of them did Amos ‘n Andy-like routines in which they mocked the reaction of white people to such things as a “n” at a college kegger. 

I didn’t have permission to use the “n” word, they said. One doubted I’d use it again, since there were three of black men present – maybe I’d get my ass kicked. Things got a little edgy.


When called upon to do my final performance, the organizers had made it clear that we were to be brief. How was I to compete with musicians, both of whom were amazingly talented? I had basketball shorts on beneath my suit. I dropped my drawers, a lawyer in a suit trouserless, a calculated risk designed to shock.

I ended with a routine I had done before, reworking George Carlin’s bit about the seven dirty words into a take down of the sanctified identities we must now refer to only with reverence lest we offend. I chose my words carefully, like Carlin dropping the “f” bomb to shock sensibilities in the name of good sense, I uttered words designed and intended to offend women, the disabled, gays, transgender folk, and, yes, people of color.

After feigning difficulty saying the “n” word, I ended with a simple declaration:: Maybe white guys just couldn’t say n_____.

All Hell broke loose. One of the black comics wanted to kick my hind quarters, and bellowed loudly. There were boos and nervous laughter. I recognized in the crowd a person who once tried to grieve me in licensure proceedings for being racially insensitive. Something tells me she didn’t attend to enjoy a night of entertainment.

Not long ago, a pseudonymous social media writer announced I would be grieved for this performance. “Bring it,” I responded. We’re prepared to defend, and we remain so. Now the tongue-cluckers on a few list serves are worked up. I am a racist, they contend. Thus spake the idiocrats.

I am neither a racist nor a misogynist. I am, however, a misanthrope.   I don’t trust anyone, much less myself. Augustine nailed it my view: sin is love of the wrong thing. And Paul, too, was right: all of have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We’re all pots protesting to the potter: why makest me thus?

We’re much in need of comedy these days as our politics become reduced to farce. A Supreme Court justice was just seated who was afraid to define what a woman is lest she offend some woke Identitarian. I looked at that shook my head in sorrow: There is no mob more dangerous than a self-righteous mob.

The woke elite are much in need of ridicule and comedic take down; so are the semi-literate half-wits who rally around them.

So if you are offended by use of the “n” word in that comedic skit consider the possibility that the joke is at your expense. 

Comments: (24)

  • N-Word
    Attorney Pattis I am so sorry you’re going through this. It’s horrible that people think a word can be used on the basis of the color of your skin. Hopkins School in New Haven also believes in this radical approach to the N-Word. There Poet in Residence a well known attorney by the name of Reginald Betts uses the N-Word all the time. And Assistant Head of School John Roberts told my family that only African Americans can use the N-Word as he clenched his breast further uttering because they hold it close to their heart. Hopefully Hopkins School and those attacking you will come to there senses as it’s the context in which a word is used that brings meaning. If you’re reading a book aloud that contains the N-Word are you then a racist? I think not. If you’re telling a joke as a stand up comedian and use the N-Word are you a racist, I think not. If you degrade another human with the N-Word are you a racist? I think in this context yes degrading someone based on the color of their skin would be certainly unacceptable. Fight on Norm, Fight on!!!!
    Posted on April 22, 2022 at 10:24 am by John Ranciato
  • “ I am neither a racist nor a misogynist.”
    Posted on April 22, 2022 at 10:51 am by Alex Taubes
  • Accountability
    Racism isn’t funny, that’s why blackface fell out favor.
    Posted on April 22, 2022 at 1:54 pm by Ivelisse Correa
  • "I am, however, a misanthrope."
    Perhaps, but mostly you're just a child. Specifically the poorly raised teenager variety. Hopefully you'll get that parking lot ass kicking, it's the only thing that works on brats.
    Posted on April 22, 2022 at 2:30 pm by Tym Tucker
  • Norm can go die
    This racist piece of shit can go rot in a fucking hole. I hope he burns in hell. Fuck him and everyone he represents. Norm you’re an embarrassment to humans and should forever be ashamed of yourself. I hope you don’t have children, and if you do I hope they are as disgraced by you as the rest of us are. Fuck you, go die.
    Posted on April 22, 2022 at 3:11 pm by John
  • Yes, you’re racist
    Next show you’ll have blackface on? Because who owns facepaint?? LoL 🤡
    Posted on April 22, 2022 at 8:04 pm by Jason
  • (ab)Norm(al)
    Your first sin(s): Don't babble on incessantly. Be prepared. Dropping your pants? Maybe if you want to be the token stooge they put on to be the first to get booted from America's Got Talent. Your second sin(s): Aggressively and provocatively engaging that black woman in the front row when you knew damn well what you were going to do in the end with that despicable display of something George Carlin would've found to be just awful. What kind of man are you? What kind of person are you? Don't answer. You don't need to. We all saw it. Pathetic. It's no wonder you're representing Alex Jones, a man who has put the Sandy Hook parents through endless hell with his years of insane denials and conspiracy theories about their dead children who were murdered at the hands of a madman.
    Posted on April 22, 2022 at 8:08 pm by Chris
  • Anyone who knows anything about George Carlin…
    … knows he would be embarrassed by you and would ridicule you for invoking his name.
    Posted on April 23, 2022 at 11:09 am by Steve
  • Comedy; this ain't it buddy.
    It's not even just the use of the word that makes you a racist. It's all the other dumb bullshit you spout before it which make it clear you are one. Btw I love the irony of your childish complaint of everything being about politics, as you (a lawyer) bizarrely do a "comedy" routine and make it 98% about politics. Lmao. You're a fucking cloooowwwn.
    Posted on April 24, 2022 at 2:43 pm by Norm is an embarrassing loser
  • Oh Lordy...you sure know how to excite the numb nuts...
    I guess "freedom of speech" doesn't apply to crackers. I find it pretty funny that those who attack only use first names...cowards. Have fun and explore all that excites you. You're a talented man (can I still use that word?), and you excel at everything you do. Life is short...enjoy! Envy brings out the worst in many.
    Posted on April 24, 2022 at 6:43 pm by Portia Dwyer-Clarke
  • Language
    I agree with you that no words should be banned. I admire your courage in exposing the obvious hypocrisy coming from the Left and the Woke movement. Publicly we’re supposed to pretend that this doesn’t exist even though anyone with an ounce of common sense can see it. The venomous comments made about you here again show the true nature of the “tolerant” Left. More people agree you than you know, but they’re unwilling to take the public bashing, including physical violence, that comes with it. You are a hero in the free speech movement at a time that it is desperately needed. Keep up the good work.
    Posted on April 25, 2022 at 6:41 am by James Maher
  • Take your hate and go…
    Norm, It was not a good George Carlin. Are you playing victim now? The blog post is worse than seeing you drop your pants. Zip it up.
    Posted on April 25, 2022 at 12:33 pm by Norm brings a Storm
  • Racist
    Well, it's official. You'll do anything for press. Best of luck getting clients of color. SHAME ON YOU.
    Posted on April 25, 2022 at 3:52 pm by Miss J
  • Totally unacceptable
    This is no joking matter. There is no blog post that can justify this behavior and these words. The CT Bar Association must hold its members to higher level of decency and decorum.
    Posted on April 25, 2022 at 10:00 pm by Brett Joly
  • Comedy
    You Rebel you. Getting to know a whole new side of who you are. Quite a career change Mr Pattis
    Posted on April 25, 2022 at 10:28 pm by Pamela
  • Hopkins
    Your speech is violence; my violence is speech.
    Posted on April 26, 2022 at 12:22 pm by Charles Cornelius
  • current article
    I am not offended by you EVER. I find you to be one of the brightest minds of our time.
    Posted on April 26, 2022 at 1:57 pm by Adrian Hull
  • Poor Thing
    I'm guessing your mother paid no attention to you whatsoever.
    Posted on April 26, 2022 at 3:38 pm by Pema
  • Fucking Retard
    What I found most offensive in the video was how un-funny you are. I knew George Carlin. George Carlin was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no George Carlin. You are correct, though, when you describe yourself as a fucking retard.
    Posted on April 27, 2022 at 10:19 am by Chauncey Bivitz
  • So fragile
    Wow, some people are so fragile. Why is that? It's just a word. If someone saying it in any context gets you that upset, you are the problem.
    Posted on April 27, 2022 at 12:31 pm by Seal Hunter
  • Ouch!
    The CT Law Tribune Editorial Board just took you to the woodshed!! Ouch!
    Posted on May 4, 2022 at 2:44 pm by Erasmus
  • Comedy in the Age of Tolerance
    I thought you might appreciate this blog post and Ramirez cartoon: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/05/comedy-in-the-age-of-tolerance.php
    Posted on May 5, 2022 at 12:24 pm by Erasmus
  • Re Dave Chappelle
    Shocking assault on comic isn't an isolated incident in the culture wars: https://www.hollywoodintoto.com/dave-chappelle-attacked-what-happens-next/
    Posted on May 5, 2022 at 10:02 pm by Erasmus
  • Charles Cornelius comment, Hopkins
    Charles Cornelius’ comment is alarming. It’s a good thing they took away his guns. And a good thing you convinced him to give up the location of that rifle.
    Posted on January 4, 2023 at 9:32 pm by Honus

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