Ethics Quiz: “Black’s Life Matters”


Jerry Seinfeld sends out a tweet to announce new episodes of his Crackle series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” typically with a joke involving the guest comic’s name. For example, his tweet from two weeks ago read: “New Comedians. Cars Getting Coffee! Cedric The Entertainer. No affiliation with Cedric The Regular Person.”  On Thursday, Seinfeld’s tweet used a predictable pun on the name of his guest, as you can see in the screen shot above:

“New! Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Lewis Black. Black’s life matters.”

Today’s incredibly easy Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is Jerry’s tweet insensitive and tasteless?

I ask because the Political Correctness Bullies are all over Seinfeld for this. Perhaps emboldened by fellow comedian Steve Martin’s disgraceful weenification, leading to his refusal to stand up for the right to engage in innocent discourse without having to grovel to the power lust of the perpetually offended, twitter users accused Jerry of bad taste for daring to make a play on words involving the controversial activist group. Much of the media has been sympathetic to the bullies, like US Magazine, which wrote,

“Twitter users were quick to spot the distasteful joke and call Seinfeld out on the thoughtless blunder.”

There is nothing tasteless or thoughtless, or a blunder, about “Lewis Black’s life matters.” It’ is a play on words only. Such wordplay doesn’t invoke what the words signify, or make any comment at all about their context. Is the idea that Black Lives Matter has to be immune from being used in puns and wordplay, because to do so is inherently disrespectful? That is a stupid idea, to be blunt, and shows a complete ignorance of humor.

In Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian,”  those in the back of the crowd listening to Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount are having trouble hearing. They are asking each other what had been said, prompting this exchange:

Man: I think it was, “Blessed are the cheesemakers”!

Gregory’s wife: What’s so special about the cheesemakers?

Gregory: Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturer of dairy products.

Now who but a lunatic would argue that the exchange is critical of Jesus, Christianity or the Sermon itself in any way? To argue that, one would have to believe that non-substantive references in a humorous vein are are intended to be taken as critical, and to believe that, one would have be unacquainted with the concept of humor. Seinfeld critics are, if anything, more deranged.

Seinfeld, to his great and enduring credit, has stood up to PC bullies before, saying in a recent interview on the topic,

“They just want to use these words —That’s racist,’ ‘That’s sexist,’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t even know what the fuck they’re talking about.”

Seinfeld’s tweet remains on his Twitter feed. It better stay there.

Oh! The answer to this ethics quiz, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is




20 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: “Black’s Life Matters”

  1. The court jester has been beaten too much of late. Wordplay like that is about as generic and inoffensive as humor gets. True, some humor can be offensive, but how else can we get through tough times with our sanity intact?

    Too much of these tough times are self-made, and we need the humor. These PC nu.., er, advocates need to stop flailing and attacking those who are already sympathetic or neutral. It’s not helping them at all. They should stop with this exclusionary tribal attacking of everyone who doesn’t think exactly as they. You can’t make friends with a club and attacking the relief valve is stupid.

    You cannot change from fear and anger, people do stupid shit.

    • “They should stop with this exclusionary tribal attacking of everyone who doesn’t think exactly as they.”

      I’ve mentioned on here before, I think that this sort of behavior is unfortunately driven by genetics (it’s literally tribal). This desire to make others do things has always been around, but the digital era has removed the restraint of attendant risk in directly confronting someone. I’m not sure how to solve this, although it might be as simple as charging people a penny a tweet.

  2. Le them keep alienating those who agree with them, and those who did not really care but went along. This is how they get marginalized in our culture… and I could not be more thrilled they keep doing so!

  3. Comedians want to make people laugh; often they insult ALL races, religions, ethnicities, jobs/careers, etc. Sometimes it’s too easy to just say it’s bias, prejudice, racist or whatever terminology you may choose. Since they are not politicians or in positions of “power” we can just enjoy their commentaries on life or choose not to watch or listen. I have seen comedians that joked about racist topics, I laughed at the jokes that “over generalized” behaviors and thoughts of people of my racial background, just like the rest of the audience. Sometimes we need a break from what is politically correct, slanderous, etc. just to laugh and forget the bigger issues that plague us on a daily basis.

  4. All right, now, hold on just a minute…

    I agree with everyone on this site – it’s a dumb joke, but it certainly ought not to be hammered on by the PC police.

    I was curious just who was being so dumb, so I did an obvious thing – I googled “Lewis Black tweet Seinfeld.” What I found was instructive.

    The entire front page consisted of headlines like “Seinfeld slammed for Offensive Tweet,” or “Seinfeld gets Brutalized…” or “Seinfeld Slammed for…

    But then I looked at who all these entries were from. Here are the sources, in order from #1 down to #8:

    1. Breitbart
    2. Redstate
    3. RawtStory
    4. Vulture
    5. WashingtonTimes
    6. FoxNews
    7. FoxNews
    8. Mediaite

    You will of course note that the top 7 are full-throated right wing sources.

    Is there actual evidence of left-wing PC hysteria? Sure there is, some; cites a few actual real live people who suggested Seinfeld was in poor taste, quasi-racist, lame-oh, etc. (The best one: “Now I know why Larry David wrote all the jokes.”).

    But seriously: look at who’s dominating the coverage on this non-story: it’s all right wing echo chamber.

    Move along folks, there’s no story here. In fact, this is BrightFart gang cooking up its own fake news because they can’t find enough real fake news out there on their own.

    • I did a slightly different form of research.

      I found the tweet and started reading the replies hey we’re 8:2 split extremely critical. Feel free to head there and begin reading them yourself.

      It is interesting that on the media side of things so far the more left leaning publications haven’t joined in.

      • Phlinn raises an interesting observation: the presumably left-wing twitterers are all over Seinfeld 8:2 (I’m taking your number). But it’s the right wing media crowing over it, not the left wing media.

        As Phlinn says, maybe the left wing media is saner than left wing twitter warriors? I’m inclined to his viewpoint; the left wing media is more mainstream, less likely to get heated up, and to see this as a brushfire; the right wing media is more renegade, hence precisely more likely to go with brushfires.

        Regarldess of interpretation, it’s an interesting split phenomenon.

    • Fascinating, and thanks for the research, especially since several of those sites are on my “NEVER GO THERE EXCEPT ON PAIN OF DEATH” list, like Breitbart and RedState. Thoughts:

      1. Lots of liberals go on right wing sites to argue and troll, and perhaps to even get two sides (or more) of an issue.
      2. The sources that would mention Seinfeld’s tweet would do so to highlight the idiotic reaction to it, thus the conservative site interest. Liberal sites tend not to trumpet their favorite side making asses of themselves, and a tweet about a TV episode is not otherwise news.
      3. US mag IS a liberal site, if an especially dumb one, that caters to celebrity freaks on the sunny side of 30. It thought the tweet was obviously offensive, all by itself. (Full disclosure: I hate US, which was set to publish a big feature on my satirical performance group in DC the week the mag was sold and shut down for dumbing down.)

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