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