Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Stephen Colbert Kerfuffle


I have a nit to pick. It concerns the misuse of language, and comedian Stephen Colbert.

So, Mr. Colbert finds himself in hot water, hoisted on his own petard, as it were. The faithfully liberal star of the Colbert Report, a late night show in which he plays a blowhard conservative, is famous for parodying political conservatives as racist, homophobic, cave men. Everyone yuks it up when the victims of the jokes are the Koch brothers, but when the punch line hits the wrong target, all hell breaks loose on the plantation. While targeting Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins (the right target) for his insensitivity to Native Americans for refusing to change the team name, the show’s Twitter account posted this:

“I am willing to show the Asian community that I care by introducing the Ching Chong, Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever,”(the wrong target).

Soon the twitter-sphere was hot with talk of boycotts. Someone named Suey Park, described in news accounts as a “writer and activist” fired back:

“#CancelColbert because white liberals are just as complicit in making Asian-Americans into punchlines and we aren’t amused.”

Here’s where my nitpick comes in. Of course Mr. Colbert, like any good liberal was horrified to find himself accused of racism, I mean, it’s literally impossible, the very definition of an oxymoron. So, he quickly fired up his own Twitter response:

“I just saw this comment and I share your rage.

I call barnyard manure.

Words have meaning. Some words are inappropriate modifiers in certain situations. For example, you wouldn’t describe a skinned knee as a “bloodbath.” To reply to negative twitter criticism of his unfunny joke with “I share your rage” is chicken feces of the highest order. First of all, nobody upset about the joke is enraged, and secondly, he no more shares this nonexistent rage than I share Brad Pitt’s good looks. No, this was false outrage designed to shore up his liberal white guilt credentials, and remind everyone that he is faithfully down with the struggle. Rage, my ass!

It is entertaining to see establishment liberals get a little bit of their own medicine, I must admit. A little schadenfreude is good for the soul. Let a conservative Republican call Barack Obama the “first clean African American candidate” and guys like Stephen Colbert would have material for a month of shows. But, a liberal Democrat who says it gets to become Vice-President.

So, have fun Stephen. Have fun stewing in your own juice.