“The Weenie of the Week” will recognize those who enable censors, political correctness mobs, totalitarians, cancel culture terrorists and the rising fascist tide in America by prostrating themselves and groveling for forgiveness when in truth they have done nothing wrong.
Although the term “weenie” is light-hearted in its terminology, the conduct earning the title is serious and despicable. These are not only pathetic cowards, though they are certainly that. They are the modern, domestic versions of “good Germans,” who, for their own self-interests and nothing more, are willing to reject our nation’s core rights and liberties, weaken them, and indeed join the increasingly ominous effort to suffocate free expression, dissent, creativity and humor.
Comedian and former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno begins what I fear will be a long line.
Yesterday he issued an apology for making jokes in the past about Koreans eating dog meat after a 15-year campaign by the activist group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA).
“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Leno said in a joint press release with MANAA leader Guy Aoki: “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.”
“At the time, there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don’t worry about it. Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either ‘We need to deal with this’ or ‘Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke.’ Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong. I am issuing this apology. I do not consider this particular case to be another example of cancel culture but a legitimate wrong that was done on my part. MANAA has been very gracious in accepting my apology. I hope that the Asian American community will be able to accept it as well, and I hope I can live up to their expectations in the future.”
Given the groveling tone, it is somewhat surprising that Leno did not appear with a shaved head, glassy eyes and in a jump suit like past victims of North Korean brainwashing.
What prompted Leno’s sudden realization that decades of jokes about Korean canine cuisine were wrong? Two factors, it seems. The first is the manufactured panic over “increased hate crimes against Asian Americans” supposedly triggered because President Trump alluded to China being responsible for the origins and spread of the pandemic… because China is responsible for the origins and spread of the pandemic. This dishonest campaign began almost a year ago as an offshoot of the ongoing Big Lie that Trump is a racist in preparation for the anti-Trump propaganda during the 2020 election campaign, and as part of the rising unethical ethic on the Left that the remedy for uncomfortable truths is to censor speech relating to them. In the most recent product of this partisan false narrative, as Ethics Alarms has discussed, an Atlanta shooting spree in which six of eight victims were Asian-Americans has been designated as a “hate crime” despite the absence of any evidence whatsoever that the victims were targeted because of their race.
For Leno to say that he does not “consider this particular case to be another example of cancel culture” is an outright lie. Of course it is. We know this because the second reason he suddenly concluded that his jokes were “wrong” is that he was literally faced with cancellation. The mendacious Variety article about Leno’s grovel chose to wait until (let’s see) its 7th paragraph to inform readers that MANAA had threatened Fox, which recently hired Leno to host the re-booted Groucho Marx game show “You Bet Your Life,” offering the network an ultimatum: fire Leno or face a MANAA-organized sponsor boycott.
As a comedian, Leno’s primary standard for determining the legitimacy of a joke has been, and should be, whether his intended audience found the joke funny. Reading Leno’s grovel, I began doubting my belief that indeed several Asian cultures do regard dogs as food. Was Leno apologizing for promoting a false slur?
No. In 2019, USA Today reported that South Koreans, never mind the starving Koreans to their North, ate a million dogs a year:
“South Koreans…historically regarded dogs as edible farm animals, not loving indoor companions. Dogs were more plentiful than cattle, which were scarce and valued for farm labor such as pulling carts or plowing fields.
“That lingering view affects how South Koreans consider dogs today, as the country grapples with its practice of raising dogs for meat and dog meat consumption itself.
“About 2.5 million dogs are raised in South Korean dog farms each year. About 1 million are killed and eaten. The rest are used for breeding with many dogs dying because of the farms’ high mortality rate, according to Humane Society International, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for animal protection worldwide.”
I can see why dogs might object to jokes about this issue; my dog Spuds says he doesn’t find them funny at all. But if Koreans find the topic uncomfortable, they can either say, “Shut up, you don’t know what you’re missing!” or resolve to reform their culture. Leno’s not the one eating dogs. Why should he apologize?
Well, he wants the money, I guess. That in itself dos not reflect well on the comedian. He is already filthy rich, with an estimated net worth of $400 million. He’s 70 years old. If anyone is in a position to spit in the cancel culture’s eye, it’s Jay Leno. But no, Jay would rather undermine his profession, his colleagues and his country by apologizing for, at worst, telling the truth.
As an aside, let me remind readers that I have walked the walk on the issue of being faced with negative consequences after joking about inconvenient facts regarding an Asian nation. In one of my programs, I discuss what is wrong with Rationalization #22, “There are worse things” by going through a hierarchy of murder to show that there are always worse things. In the process, I said at one session “Yes, Hitler may have murdered 6 million Jews, but it could have been worse: after all, Mao murdered 60 million!” later, I received emailed demands from two Chinese academics who were at the session that I apologize and retract the statement. One said that Mao “only” killed about 16 million people, and that these were “necessary.” The sponsors of the event, with whom I had a long-term contract, “advised” me to apologize. I refused, and lost the contract.
I do not have $400 million.