04 Jun 2018 Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee and the Need for Consistency, by Jerome Danner
Tuesday’s cancellation of the comedienne Roseanne Barr’s show was simultaneously surprising and not surprising, if that is at all possible. It was surprising because it was a top-ranked show with its millions of viewers, which meant dollar signs for the ABC Network. However, the cancellation proved to be less than surprising because its star, a comic with a history of controversy, added another controversial blunder to her resume.
Controversy has, at times, been a good thing for infamous individuals. It has been used, albeit strategically, before to turn public outrage into a cash cow. Nevertheless, Roseanne’s social media faux paus brought other consequences that she could not have foreseen.
In referring to Valerie Jarrett, former advisor to President Obama, to being the progeny of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes, Barr set the scene for a major response to be necessary by her television show’s parent company. Barr clearly forgot, in a momentary lapse of reasoning, that any comparison made between individuals of African descent and primates automatically will cause others to view the statements as bigoted. Possibly due to the indignation that she received, the exit of a consulting producer, or the actual cancellation of the show, she later realized the error in the post. Later, she stated that her post could not be excused and was the result of having ingested Ambien. Barr was right to say that what she wrote, which is apparently deleted now, was indefensible about Jarrett, even if she thought Jarrett was a Caucasian person.
It is just as inappropriate calling a Caucasian person something that is akin to a monkey (although it seems to be okay when it is the president — example). Therefore, a free pass cannot be given, especially since Jarrett is not one ultimately. Barr’s fellow cast members and the show’s crew had to pay a heavy price with her, but it was a cost that demanded to be paid with a harsh punishment. The ABC Network and Disney would never allow this scandal to make a tremendous impact on their other brands.
Barr might have been able to change the tide a bit, if she had used an excuse that involved her just being a comedian. It is doubtful that this scenario would have worked, yet another conversation may be trending right now. One that continues to appear and reappear with Michelle Wolf’s recent headline-grabbing jokes and Samantha Bee losing sponsors. A conversation that centers on what is and is not appropriate in comedy may be all the more appropriate with the latest vile moment coming from the liberal Samantha Bee.
Bee recently called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c***” and is now starting to see the effects of having thought that it would just be taken as a humorous comment against a spawn of Donald Trump. It would be quite difficult to reach a consensus on which is worse, the racist post by Roseanne or the disgusting term used by Samantha Bee. Regardless, they both lack civility and both are inhumane towards their subjects. It is interesting that Bee’s use of a vile word could find any support from anyone, especially after the brouhaha stirred up by Roseanne’s post. Someone like Sally Field seems to think that another vile word could have been used for Ivanka Trump, based off of Field’s logic in a social media post.
Field’s Samantha Bee-supporting post received quite the number of retweets and likes. This reveals the inconsistency that is found in our society today. Barr’s show was cancelled swiftly, Bee has apologized, lost some sponsors, but so far still has a show.
It is quite strange that there can be as much outrage for one thing, while the other receives less anger from the same group of people.
It may be time that leftists, centrists, and those on the Right find a standard to adhere to regardless of the situation. If something or someone is wrong for using a particular expletive or making a certain comment, then it is only right to be consistent with one’s outrage when the expletive is used or the comment is made by a person who politically aligns themselves with our beliefs.