Alex Karras died Wednesday. He played football for the Detroit Lions. He was also a pretty funny guy who appeared on Johnny Carson and in movies.

In one of Karras’ most famous scenes, as Mongo in Mell Brook’s “Blazing Saddles”, he slugged a horse knocking it out cold. Blazing saddles could not be made today. There would be naked starlet PETA protests (this is bad?), and the horse would be evaluated against his baseline concussion history and required to sit out for at least a week. Blazing Saddles mocked race relations, sexuality, Hollywood, the American Frontier, and Methodists. It fails the Civil Discourse test miserably. It’s hilarious.

I asked a really bright and hip young woman editor if she knew who Mongo was. She said, ” I can’t believe it! You’re the second person to ask me that today and until now, no, I’d never heard of him.”

Pop culture references are tricky.

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