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Old 05-30-2018, 10:27 AM   #1600
Whimbrel
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,849
About Rosanne-
I think this is a perfect example of using outrage instead of principle to make decisions. I don’t think the show should have been canceled.
Here are my reasons.
1. Were her tweet comments offensive to some? Definitely. Does this mean that the tweets were racist or that she is racist? Well, I see a similarity between the Helena Bonham Carter character from the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes movie and Valarie Jarret. The similarity is actually pretty striking, possibly even funny. Does that make me racist? Does every similarity between real people and film images require racism to be funny? Only if one of them is an ape? The problem with outrage and offense as a reactive compass is pretty clear in this case, because if we embrace this idea that offending somebody requires that you lose your job, even when completely unrelated to the context of the offending comment, we are abandoning free speech for tyranny by the sensitive. Also, because of the current hypersensitivity to racism, I have not seen a single response that acknowledged a valid context for Rosanne to state what was on her mind, be offensive, make a mistake, be pissed off at somebody in public, etc. Or, more importantly, for comedians to be offensive and outspoken. Lenny Bruce would be turning over in his grave right now. I don’t see any path that leads to some kind of culturally redeeming insight from Rosanne’s comments about Jarret. But I sure as hell see an important role for comedy, satire, free speech, and the importance of being able to look at things from surprising and unexpected perspectives, which we would never attain without being forced from our current, and entrenched views, and I don’t see that happening without the possibility of offense.
2. I have not watched the Rosanne show, so what I am stating here comes from my impressions from other sources, but I think this was an important show at an important time, and cancelling it will do more harm than good. If this show resonated with Trump supporters, for whatever reason, and had a large audience, then cancelling it throws away one more bridge (are there any left) spanning the partisan chasm which divides formerly united states. Also, for those who see current US reality as a ping pong game of left versus right, cancelling this show in an overreaction will clearly be seen as either left wing control of media and embracing censorship, left wing media bowing to pressures of oversensitive liberal elites, or an attempt to silence any voice differing from the incessant anti-Trump drum. In other words adding the fuel of undeniable reality to the fires of suspicion, mistrust, cynicism, and paranoia. Great job.
3. Off the top of my head, I can think of 5 issues of free speech clashing with politics, although there are undoubtable many, many others. My web browser wants to constantly remind me of the Dixie Chicks’ fall from grace after a comment was deemed unpatriotic, the Rosanne thing, the red haired comedian from Seinfeld who did something to a picture of Trump (burned it, soaked it in blood maybe, I can’t remember), the football players who don’t stand for the Anthem, and the correspondence dinner person who offended everyone while not being funny. In each of these cases, the consequences involved far too much attention and outrage, and not enough recognition that occasional offense is the price of free speech and the value of free speech in general outweighs individual sensitivities. As we sink into an ever deepening trench of partisanship, the greatest loss will not be individual slights and setbacks for either side, but the fact that both sides think that the fight with the opposing side is more important than any value or principle related to being united. Each decision to devalue free speech seems like more evidence of this abandonment.
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