May 30, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Roseanne Barr, Uncle Remus and the Multicultural Politically Correct Briar Patch
I’ve never been much of a fan of Roseanne Barr. I never watched her earlier sitcom, Roseanne (1988-1997), but, then, I normally don’t watch much network television either. Unlike some conservatives I wasn’t that excited by the renewal of the show by ABC in mid-season in 2017, and I am not that surprised that the program would be cancelled, given Barr’s past “shock jock” role among entertainers.
Yet there is something woefully amiss here, and it is not just the piously hypocritical piled-on condemnations coming from the Mainstream Media left, or the long-faced jeremiads and nervous attempts at dissociation from Roseanne (after praising her recent on-screen jabs at the far left) coming from the Neocon media. The tweet Barr made about former Obama advisor, Valerie Jarrett, that Jarrett was the “baby” of “the Muslim Brotherhood & the Planet of the Apes” (Jarrett is black and was born in Iran), was stupid, not funny, and, of course, “insensitive” by today’s p-c standards. But was it any more insensitive than previous over-the-top comments she has made? Was it really “racist,” or is it just one more indication of the rapidly advancing politically-correct goal posts about race (and gender) that our contemporary culture posits as dogmatic, especially if the comment comes from someone not part of the “authorized Left”?
-In 1990 Roseanne sang the National Anthem at a San Diego Padres versus Cincinnati Reds baseball game, purposefully out of tune and “screechy,” then spitting and grabbing her crotch, for which she was roundly condemned (including by President George H. W. Bush);
-In 2009 she posed as Adolf Hitler for the Jewish satirical magazine, Heeb, in a feature titled, “That Oven Feeling,” holding a tray of burnt gingerbread cookies she called “burnt Jew cookies” (Barr is Jewish herself). Again, she was slammed for what many considered “anti-semitism”;
-In 2014 she tweeted the home address and phone number of George Zimmerman, who was found innocent in the killing of Trayvon Martin, stating that “no one can hide anymore…If Zimmerman isn't arrested I'll r[oute] his address again – maybe go 2 his house myself.”
And these are just a few of her more controversial escapades. She has a long history of pronouncing and propagating off-the-wall conspiracy theories, and what some critics have called “extreme satire” with “shock value.”
Yet none of those instances, none of that history, produced the kind of swift and definitive action like what the ABC Network took in less than three hours after Barr’s offending tweet.
Conservative pundits on Fox were quick to condemn her but raise the specter of a double standard: if Roseanne was being axed why had not such severe action been taken against any number of other comedians, in particular those who had at times viciously attacked President Trump or his supporters?
Leftist “Comedian” Kathy Griffin had held up, notoriously, a facsimile of the bloody, severed head of Trump back in 2017, and although she apologized at the time, by April of 2018 she had withdrawn her apology defiantly:
“I take the apology back,” she said during an appearance Monday on “The View.” She then punctuated her statement with an expletive directed at Trump. She also said she was…not sorry for her attacks on Trump’s oldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, whom she referred to as “Eddie Munster and date rape.” “Look, I’m not holding back on this family,” said the 57-year-old comic. “This president is different and I have been through the mill and so now I’m back on the road.” [ https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/04/30/kathy-griffin-sorry-not-sorry-over-trump-severed-head-photo/]
Despite an initial worry that her antics might endanger her career, apparently that was not the case…after all the target was Trump and the mostly-white “deplorables.” And in such instances, you can get away, almost literally, with murder.
The reasons for this, I would suggest, are wrapped up in America’s current and increasingly mad descent into and embrace of the culturally dominant Marxist template on race (as well as on gender). One can get away with holding a model of Donald Trump’s severed head or intimating how satisfying it would be if the president were to get killed: there are few limits indeed to such satire and “humor.” But venture into anything remotely related to race, even humorously or inadvertently, especially if the offender is not part of the “authorized Leftist establishment,” and the results are a veritable death sentence, followed by exile to the remotest gulag in Siberia.
This latest incident comes as the media establishment is consciously attempting to throttle free speech—most recently actions taken by PayPal, by Google, by Facebook, by Amazon and by other major Internet sites to both block access to sites that these lords of the Net consider to be “racist, sexist, extremist, and Neo-Confederate,” and to prevent Internet financial transactions for them.
Starbucks, that gathering site for leftist latte’ sippers and hip Millenials, just closed for a day to require its employees to undergo “race sensitivity training.” What had happened to occasion this was that two black men had entered a Starbucks to use the rest room facilities. They were informed that facilities were only for customers. Quickly the incident mushroomed into an example of “racial prejudice,” despite the fact that there are many restaurants that have a similar policy. Can you imagine the same thing occurring if the men had been white?
Just in recent weeks we have heard (Fox News) that at the University of Michigan (and on perhaps another 200 campuses), zealous “social justice warrior” students have been instructed by the university administration to report (anonymously of course) if they overhear another student making “racist,” “sexist,” or “homophobic” remarks, even if those conversations are private.
And increasingly a worker in a business who happens to let slip a word or comment vaguely considered “racist” by someone standing near, can be terminated, or, perhaps even worse, made to sit through interminable “sensitivity” sessions organized by that company’s EEOC bureaucrats.
Back when I was gainfully employed by the North Carolina State Archives, I recall an incident that illustrates this so very well, and with accompanying irony. It began with a committee of senior archivists meeting to discuss the accession of a major haul of government records. Those records were a jumble, that is, totally unorganized and which would require major arrangement and description, and quite a bit of time dedicated to them to make them usable. One member of the committee—by no means at all a right wing type—casually mentioned that he hoped we would “not get thrown into that briar patch,” approximating and paraphrasing language and imagery that shows up in the famous Joel Chandler Harris literary folktale collection, Uncle Remus.
Well, you would have thought that Sheriff “Bull” Connor himself had risen up from his grave, from Selma, Alabama, with Billy clubs, water hoses, and angry German shepherd dogs! One woman on the committee, a black lady, immediately accused the offending fellow archivist of “racism” and “employing racist stereotypes” and showing “hatred.” Instead of attempting to calm matters and assure the offended archivist that certainly no insult was intended, the head of the committee panicked. And no manner of explanations from the archivist who made the comment would suffice to assuage the lady’s perceived “racist” insult.
As a result, the entire staff was compelled—forced—to sit through a long “racial sensitivity” session, counseling was offered, staged “role play” during the indoctrination was performed, and we were all requested to fill out an “evaluation form” about how we planned to combat on-the-job racism and racist-tinged commentary, humor, etc., etc.
But that was not the end of it. The “incident” went up the chain of command. Later we were once again compelled to attend, but this time in smaller, more intimate sessions in which “interaction” with paid “counselors” took place. My attendance, however, was short lived: during my first encounter I demanded to know how they defined terms. How did they define “racism,” what was “bigotry,” how did we determine what was an innocent comment made off hand, and how did we distinguish that from “racist” behavior? How could we know if a comment we made referring to our state’s Confederate history, for instance, might be considered “racist” by someone overhearing us?
Those counselors looked at me with mounting disgust and frustration—obviously, I should have known that those “devil” terms were whatever the current enforcers of political correctness intended for them to mean. The whole process was, essentially, intended to turn the white staffers, especially white males on staff, into obliging, weak-brained wimps—the latest step in an ongoing process of confirming the template of the culturally Marxist Left on race.
At the end of the first session, I was politely told that I did not have to return for any additional sessions, that I had finished my training…but I can’t help thinking that from then on some higher ups kept a wary eye on me.
Ironic it seems: on one hand we are rigorously told that race is just skin deep, that we aren’t supposed to notice the color of a person’s skin or sex, but rather only his or her character. But at the very same time we are firmly importuned to understand that because of past white oppression and white supremacy, we must compensate for past injustices, engage in reparations of some sort, bend to affirmative action—all based singularly on race!
You may remember that classic comedy, “No Time for Sergeants,” starring Andy Griffith, and you may also recall the scene where Andy’s sergeant informs him that when he sees a female officer that he is looking not at a lady, but only an officer—and then the subsequent hilarity occasioned by Andy’s refusal to acknowledge the femininity of an officer he encounters.
Just like in Andy’s case, this sort of indoctrination was—and is—enough to make any sensible person go totally mad, to engender fear of offending, and to provoke in many recipients a certain kind of paralysis when it comes to social interaction. But, and I witnessed this in my own environment, I think it was intended that way: if not completely to pervert and transform a person’s normal and natural thinking processes, to at the very least render him docile and mentally castrated, unwilling—or more so, unable—to challenge the multiculturalist political correctness that infects our society and our culture, and incapable of resisting the seemingly inevitable latest advance of Big Brother and cultural Marxism.
There are intrepid souls out there who increasingly risk not only this kind of censorship, but even worse penalties. Is not jail time a real possibility in the future for those—for us—who do not conform to the increasingly severe and ideologically weaponized rules and laws that emit from our managerial elites, both seen and unseen?
My parents never realized how utterly racist they were when they read those fanciful Joel Chandler Harris stories to my sister and me when we were children…or took us to see Walt Disney’s now apparently embargoed The Song of the South. But, then, we did not live in an “enlightened” society back then….