Something amazing happened as we all witnessed Roseanne Barr commit career immolation AND defenestration within a 12 hour period: Somehow she became my personal spokesperson. This was a curious development, as I had never offered her the position, nor had I ever considered the two of us as existing on the same plane of sanity.
But suddenly by the afternoon of May 29, Roseanne’s garbage take about Valerie Jarrett not only cost her the primetime gig she had brought to the tops of the ratings but it also entrenched her as the defacto voice of the White House, the GOP, and for all conservatives. Social media mushroomed with signaling voices, all vying to out-virtue each other as they unvirtuously hurled accusations at the same time.
For the majority of my time writing about the entertainment industry I have ridiculed the pomposity that is celebrity mind-craft. I have long railed against the social lectures delivered by Hollywood luminaries, impolitely at times suggesting they shut their tofu-slots and simply entertain. For myself, Roseanne Barr was even beneath this strata; I had simply ignored her for at least a decade.
But yesterday I had people telling me that she is now my socio-political representative, and that I was a racist by default. All because I had dared asked questions regarding the ever-shifting standards of what is acceptable behavior in today’s society.
The press, and the over-medicated hog-caller convention that comprises social media, have devolved into a deeply entrenched binary valley; all stories and events are held up to how and why they are connected to the President. Thus, if you were not someone who displayed an appropriate amount of outrage (hence, me, because I asked for clarifications) you were therefore declared a Trump lover, and smeared as a racist. Those attacking her too ardently were said to be denying her 1st Amendment rights, and attacking Trump.
Of course our media complex was completely sane in covering this “news”. Just one example of the myopic view is in a New York Times opinion piece entitled “Roseanne Is Gone, but the Culture That Gave Her a Show Isn’t”. You can imagine, I’m sure, the bulk of the content. Roseanne’s comments reflect the racist country that is America, and it ALL has to be the result of the Man in the White House. Trump, and Republicans in general are responsible according to the media.
But here is a hardcore fact the press will under analyze: “Roseanne” was rebooted by the ABC Network. ABC is owned by Disney. Disney is run by Democrat-supporting executives. The company CEO – Robert Iger – toyed with the idea of stepping down so he could make a bid for the Presidency on the Democratic ticket in 2020. That is who is responsible for putting her back on the air.
If you want to find blame for poisoning our airwaves with this woman then turn your head to the left. We are not about to hear them taken to task, of course. Today those executives are being cheered for yanking the contract on the show, just prior to beginning work on the second season. That’s correct; recently these “brave” Disney leaders had rewarded the racist with a renewed season.
Robert Iger delivered some stern words regarding their canceling of the show:
From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) May 29, 2018
Here is where I earned the scorn of being a “Trump-loving Roseanne-defending Racist”, for mentioning other famous names with controversial comments. Joy Behar on “The View” referred to Vice President Mike Pence when she labeled his Christianity “A mental illness”. Keith Olberman has a lengthy history of hurling far worse invective at President Trump and others. (Careful clicking this link of a collection of his bathroom wall-level political discourse.) ESPN’s Michelle Beadle tweeted out this quote regarding the 2017 CPAC convention when Trump spoke: “Chant, Monkeys, chant”. Another ESPN hostess, Jamele Hill, called Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on the air.
These are not simple “whataboutism” examples to make a facile argument. Highly notable here is on this list of verbal transgressions above, ALL of those concerned employees of Disney. Now while each of these examples could easily fall under Robert Iger’s heading of “repugnant”, note the differences in the corporate reaction.
- Unlike Roseanne, Behar was permitted to apologize and keep her job.
- Keith Olberman just last week was announced as returning to the Sports Center desk.
- Michelle Beadle had numerous promotions since her “monkey” mention, the last seeing her paid millions as the new co-host of the morning show “Get Up”.
- After her comments Jamele Hill was personally defended by Bob Iger himself. (Her show was later canceled, due to ratings).
It does not take a poli-sci major to note each of the above personalities made remarks which were being directed towards Trump/GOP/conservatives. Note the lack of immediate dismissals as a result. It seems fair to suggest that as long as the scorn-filled vitriol is traveling towards the right of the political spectrum they appear to be “consistent with our values”, according to Iger.
And this selective permissiveness only fuels the outrage mobs, and further cleaves the divisive landscape in this country. The outrage is not at the words being used, but based upon the target receiving them. Thus anyone getting crude toward the right is excused by the left, and the converse is also true. This convenient coarsening of standards is the result of the binary mindset that has become cemented under Trump.
Watch in the days ahead as Roseanne is positioned as the exclusive property of the right, and her words become the responsibility and the doctrine of conservatives. It is a tiresome and sophomoric way of thinking, but it is our new standard of discourse.