Just Trying To Get The Rules Straight…[Updated]

(That’s me on the right…)

Pardon me for being obtuse, America, but I want to make sure I understand this.

Samantha Bee, the comic who called Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt” yesterday on her TBS show “Full Frontal,” apologized today, saying on Twitter,

“I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.”

No repudiation of her words were forthcoming from TBS, or Turner Broadcasting, which owns that network as well as CNN. [UPDATE: After this was posted, TBS stated that Bee’s words were “vile” and “inappropriate,” and that it was their “mistake” as well as Bee’s.]

Now, Roseanne apologized for her tweet connecting Obama-whisperer Valerie Jarrett to the Planet of the Apes, yet was not only fired, but had her show, and its entire cast and crew, tossed as well. ABC, which did the tossing, explained that her tweet, which was on Roseanne’s personal Twitter account, did not comport with the network’s values. Well, did anyone think for a nanosecond that Roseanne was speaking for ABC with her obviously spontaneous, not-very-well-thought-out slur? Of course not. In contrast, Bee’s line that was “inappropriate and inexcusable” was  scripted, vetted by the network, and prerecorded, as well as previewed by network personnel . So it is fair to assume that calling the President’s daughter a ‘feckless cunt” is consistent with the network’s values. Right? Am I missing something?

Now this is confusing to me. Roseanne’s line was obviously intended as a joke, and supposedly comics need to have wide tolerance when jokes misfire. Bee’s statement wasn’t even a joke; it was just a vulgar insult. Moreover, a pre-taped, scripted TV show is obviously a more consequential forum than a single tweet, and a personal tweet is viewed as less of a representation of a network than a show on that network. Correct?

I don’t get it.

Why is Roseanne out of work, along with dozens of innocent people, and Bee, plus the people who enabled her, still has a show?

Then there is MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who was revealed to have written homophobic comments on her now-defunct blog, made a risible claim that she was hacked, and then was exposed as lying to her audience. Is lying and homophobia consistent with the values of MSNBC and NBC, neither of which have admonished Reid? They must be, no?

And what is the hierarchy here? I always regarded cunt and twat (I see no difference, civility-wise) as just as offensive when applied to women as nigger is when used to describe an African-American. Is this a mistaken assumption? I was raised wrongly, then? Or is misogyny, as well as homophobia, lower on the intolerable scale than racism? They must be, come to think of it, because Bill Maher faced no discipline (and never apologized) when he referred, more than once, to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann as twats and cunts.

Or was HBO tacitly telling us that misogyny comports with that network’s values? CBS, you may recall, allowed Stephen Colbert to call the President of the United States a “cockholster.”  So to recap:

  • A male comic can call the President a cockholster—which is an anti-gay slur-on a general audience network show without consequences, and
  • …a female comic can call the President’s daughter a cunt on a general cable show without consequences as long as she apologizes, and
  • …a male comic can call Republican women who aren’t his daughters cunts on premium cable without apologizing or being disciplined, and
  • ….a black female pundit can make derogatory statements about gay men on a blog and lie about it without being burdened by any adverse action, BUT
  • …a female comic who uses social media to link a black female Democrat to The Planet of the Apes, does not lie, and does apologize, not only is immediately fired, but so is everyone on her show.

So far what I discern is that racism, real or perceived, is the worst thing in existence, and thus harming over a hundred people to signal to the world that you just won’t stand for even a racist, withdrawn, regretted tweet like Roseanne’s is considered fair and reasonable. Got it. As for the rest, I am confused. Would Bee keep her job if she called Valerie Jarrett a cunt? Would Colbert have gotten away with calling, say, Anderson Cooper a cockholster? Or Barack Obama?

Could Bill Maher call Nancy Pelosi a cunt and keep his HBO show? How about Elizabeth Warren? Pocacuntas?

In case anyone cares, my position is that media commentators and entertainers who use derogatory, denigrating, uncivil, obscene and vulgar terms like cunt, twat and cockholster to attack named public figures should be regarded as exactly as unfit for employment on television as a comic who uses racist imagery to insult a public figure, and it shouldn’t matter what the venue is, what race or gender the offenders or targets are, or what political persuasion the  victims adhere to. That rule seems fair and clear, and simple to enforce.

Whatever rule or principle the networks are following, however, is a still a mystery.


33 thoughts on “Just Trying To Get The Rules Straight…[Updated]

  1. Just saw this from Jim Treacher:

    “…Just as Roseanne was held to a different standard because she supports a president she’s not supposed to support, Samantha Bee will be held to a different standard because she hates a president she’s supposed to hate. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be intellectually consistent. Tribalism doesn’t work that way. Ms. Bee just has to reinforce her ties to her tribe. She has to remind them that she’s one of them, not one of us. She’s expected to say certain things, with a certain level of invective. Even if it means she has to throw out that word on national TV….I can’t judge Ms. Bee too harshly, though. This is a tough time for her. She got passed over for The Daily Show, and now she has to watch helplessly as a younger, #woker comedienne hosts the WHCD and gets a buzzworthy Netflix show and hogs all the press. That’s supposed to be her up there, saying awful things about women who work in the White House. She’s supposed to be America’s Trump-Hatin’ Sweetheart. So, if calling another woman a really bad word on TV is what Ms. Bee needs to do to get noticed again, that’s how it goes…’

    • Part of this is what bugs me. Roseanne struck me as sort of a Carroll o’Connor. He was a progressive, who played a retrograde, and while he played the bigot for laughs, was also able to endear him as a genuine person. He was the but of a joke, but he was not a caricature, in the sense that Archie Bunker, right or wrong, was real. He was not a straw man. Even if he was wrong, you cared for him

      I honestly looked at Roseanne the same way. She pushed the progressive envelope while playing an Archie Bunker. I was not aware she actually liked Trump; I just believed her character did. And the genuine sympathy for such people reminded me of Archie Bunker. (Even though there may not have been sympathy for him; he was still presented as a real person


        • But, if she did not support Trump, she did a great job amid playing a Trump supporter.

          You should be able to appreciate that skill.


          • I don’t. Insincere posturing to grab a political/ popular niche is dishonest and cynical. Clinton’s old pollster Mark Penn is trying the flip-flop now. Dennis Miller? I’m not sure. David Brock? Sure. I don’t trust anyone who does this. But Roseanne least of all.

        • I’m at a handicap, having avoided her shows consistently. My impression from what I read is that Barr’s position toward Trump is “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and that her real enemy is the financial, globalist wing of the Democrats.

  2. I got tired of certain invective of that level of offense in the 80s as that short list grew. I saw using them as noun, verb, and adjective was lazy and unable to do more than sputter incoherently. (And yes, I have little to no patience for comics who aren’t cleverer with their words than that constant usage)

  3. The blatant double standards and absolute moral bankruptcy shown by the anti-political right (can’t really call them the political left anymore) is showing us that they are psychologically consumed by Political Antiology and there is no turning back for them now. A Perfect Political Storm is just around the corner, the only question now is which side will the pendulum be shoved by the storm?

  4. So here’s a take from a liberal colleague of mine. Her position is that the “c word,” a word that I detest, is a word reserved for women to use. Samantha Bee uses this word all the time. It’s derogatory toward women, but it’s Samantha Bee’s and other women’s word to take back. Like a minority using a racial slur is different than a Caucasian using a racial slur. So it’s different than Roseanne, who had no business saying what she did. Of course that doesn’t explain Colbert or Maher, but let’s put them aside for a moment and talk only about Samantha Bee and Roseanne.

    I happen to disagree – it’s a disgusting, vile word regardless of who uses it. However, my question for my friend, if that’s Samantha Bee’s position, and there is some logic to it, why she would apologize? As I said on here after the Kathy Griffin debacle, I would have had a lot more respect for Kathy Griffin if she showed up for the press conference with a fake Melania head instead of the tearful apology and then later a retraction of the apology. Why, Samantha, is your use of the word inappropriate and inexcusable? Wny did you cross a line, a line that you have previously crossed many times?

    Apologizing for something that you didn’t do is as bad as not apologizing for something you did do. Pick your poison Samantha.

    • Your friend’s rationalization is ridiculous. I gather it’s the same theory that says that a black person can use “nigger” without offense. But in the rhetoric of the street, “nigger” literally means something else when used by a black to describe a black. Not true with Bee’s use of cunt. It is a denigrating word used as one, and the insult isn’t mitigated because the word is wielded by a……woman.

      • That’s a good distinction Jack. No one uses the “c word” as a familiar or jovial term. I’ve heard “bitch” used that way, but not the other one.

    • Cunt is a vile word BUT it is not as bad as a racial slur. You may think it is, and that’s fine, but society generally has not yet put them on the same level.

      Also, and this is a little sad, but every woman I know has been called a cunt at least once, and probably numerous times. But comparing a black person to an ape has been drilled into our heads as wrong, so when we do hear it, it does cause us to gasp. But the C word? I hear it frequently, and 99% of the time from men.

      Maybe 15 years or so from now, people will get fired for using that word too.

      • I’ll agree it is not as bad as a racial slur. But it’s right there on the spectrum, in my opinion. I hear the F word every day, repeatedly, I hear that word once every 6 months of so. I’ve never, at least not that I can recall quickly off the top of my head, heard a man use it, even in the inner sanctum of the men’s locker room. When I hear it, it’s always women.

        I don’t doubt your experiences – I’m sure you’re being 100% accurate. That’s an interesting perspective because it’s different than my experience.

      • Still Spartan wrote, “Cunt is a vile word BUT it is not as bad as a racial slur.”

        First: that’s a blatant use of an unethical rationalization.

        Second: As much as I dislike Rosanne and everything she does, she did not actually use a racial slur, the implication in her bad joke was used to label it racism when we don’t in fact know that it was.

        Third: Samantha Bee actually abused used her position as a “comedian” to intentionally sling a vile word as a noun to label Ivanka Trump, there was no implication, there was no humor, there was no ambiguity whatsoever in her statement.

        Fourth: Your statement shows morally bankruptcy, was that your intent?

        I think Rosanne’s statement was terrible humor and it was a solid equivalent to Bill Maher’s “humor” about President Trump’s mother having sex with an orangutan which there was no outcry about from Social Justice Warriors. YES this was an absolute Double Standard.

        You people with your constant rationalizations and double standards make me sick.

        • I love how you present perception as fact.

          I am not defending Samantha Bee. I am saying that society does not YET see the C word on the same level as racism. Maybe we will get there. I’m actually not a fan of her show — I don’t think I have ever watched more than a few minutes.

          The Bill Maher joke is a hair joke — because Trump’s hair often looks orange-colored. Orangutans have orange hair. Maybe it is a stupid joke, but it is not a racial one.

          Re Roseanne, I am a huge fan actually of her old show and I am really sad to see the reboot cancelled. ABC made a business decision, and I think it is the right call. I also wonder if there is something wrong with her — she has a long record of promoting liberal agendas and policies, but over the last few years her comments went from vulgar (she was always a bit out there) to bigoted. People usually don’t change personalities to this degree — or she had good handlers in the past and has always been this way.

          I’m sorry that you don’t understand degrees of bad behavior. Let’s say I get called a bitch, a cougar, a busybody, a twat, a cunt and, a homewrecker today at work. These are all negative female slurs, but a co-worker might not get fired for using some of them — because some of these words are considered worse than the others. And, indeed, the co-worker might not get fired for using any of them.

          Next up. Some crimes are worse than others — like jay walking is worse than armed robbery.

          • Sophistry. Society does not see first degree murder on the same level as cannibalism either, but both are far over any civilized limits, so the distinction is trivial.

            I regard calling a women a cunt in my presence completely unacceptable, and someone doing so in my home would be told to leave. I regard calling an African American a cunt in my presence completely unacceptable, and someone doing so in my home would be also told to leave. I regard calling a Jewish American a “dirty Jew” or “kike” in my presence completely unacceptable, and someone doing so in my home would be also told to leave. I regard calling a gay man a fag or queer in my presence completely unacceptable, and someone doing so in my home would be also told to leave.

            No hierarchy is necessary, and assembling one just creates a distraction and rationalizations. They are all wrong, dehumanizing, and indefensible.

            • May it be assumed that the term Cracker, when referencing poor, Southern Whites, would be acceptable if one finds oneself discussing Sunshine State residents?

              If it’s good enough for the talented Tommy Christopher, it’s good enough for me.

              Quoth Christopher: “although the term (cracker) is derogatory in much of the country, in Florida, it’s a source of pride.” It symbolizes a “rich cowboy heritage.”

            • Absolutely!!!. These hierarchies are what creates social discord. It should not matter who utters the pejorative it is the context. If the goal was to demean or otherwise insult then I too would happily show that person to the door.

          • My goodness, Sparty, you live in a dreadful world. My wife is beautiful and worked in business for almost forty years and never had to endure anything as bad as you seem to encounter almost daily. Have things gotten worse over your more recent working years than they were during her working career (1972 to 2017)?

  5. What happened with Roseanne is in a way worse than other situations because not only was she fired, but the others around her lost more than their jobs, even if they were immediately shunted to other (even better) ones. Roseanne was inextricably connected to “her” show. She personified it. Anyone connected with the show or Roseanne herself is now tainted and downgraded in the business. Who’s going to want to put the show on their resumes? Or use it as a reference? Or bring it up in an audition or interview or conversation?

    We are all so deeply entrenched in an immense and constant witch-hunt coming increasingly from every side (though still understood to have been begun, directed and exacerbated by the left and its media minions), that the “witch’s” words and actions are deemed to have poisoned everyone in her environment, including her fans – and there must be a lot of them to have kept the show going as long as it did. It is a witch-hunt without witch-fear. It took place by taking a giant eraser and wiping out all the rules, including ethics, though we didn’t realize it at the time. It is now in full swing, encouraging retaliation, rule-making and breaking, side-taking and changing on every little (or jumbo size) item that comes around. It was not clear-cut or well reasoned to begin with; the only thing I know at this point is to duck-and-cover because, as the Japanese say: The nail that sticks up is the one that gets hammered down. No one gives a hoot (nod to Gibson) whether he’s wearing a white hat or a black one. Or who gets trampled when he and horse he rode in on both get trampled.

    Mixed metaphors are often a sign of the busy brain. Or of incipient insanity. I follow Jack’s reasoning and that of many comments, and am often thus reassured that there is hope for stability and structure at the base but, if just for now, I see Shirley Jackson’s Lottery going viral, nationally if not globally.

  6. The following win the Rationalization lottery?

    Bee: “ ‘We spent the day wrestling with the repercussions of one bad word, when we all should have spent the day incensed that as a nation we are wrenching children from their parents and treating people legally seeking asylum as criminals,’ Bee reportedly said in her speech. ‘If we are OK with that then really, who are we?’ ”

    Mercifully, she was still allowed to pick up a “Television Academy Honors” award.

    • Ohhhhhh! Bee took a play out of the Cntonian playbook!
      Deny, dismiss, deflect, attack!

      Sam B. and her unassailable woke-ness! /sarcasm
      (Wait! “…wrenching children from their parents…” Maybe she is for criminalizing abortion, after all!)

      • “Deny, dismiss, deflect, attack!” Using this one, lucky…., thanks.

        What’s the source (you?)? I’ve heard “deny, deflect, defame.”

    • She and the network are tone deaf. They think we’re upset about one expletive. TBS apparently thinks we’re angry that they aired the statement.
      That’s what their so-called apology says, anyway. (“Those words should not have been aired”)

      That statement was scripted, verbalized and recorded before it aired. It not only used a vicious slur against women, but also made an ugly allusion of incest and the false assertion that Ivanka Trump doesn’t care about children at the border….all as a response to her posting a photo of her baby.

  7. I like your hierarchy of oppression idea here, but feel compelled to point out that Bill Maher, in the recent past, has used the N word on air. Don’t mistake that for me saying that his, now shitty show should be canceled. Just pointing out that in the hierarchy here Maher has more than equaled Barr, and in the recent past.

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