Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Dog That Didn't Bark

I think what Samantha Bee said about Ivanka Trump was of dubious quality, and may have extended her critique from pointed to personal, but I don't think it is the equivalent of Roseanne Barr's tweet which got her fired.  And I came across a wonderful distillation of the difference between the two, in an editorial about Barr and Colin Kaepernick:

Barr’s now-deleted Twitter attack on Valerie Jarrett, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” possessed zero redemptive value to offset the corporate pain. It wasn’t thoughtful — it was one of the most undistilled versions of racism you’ll ever read. It offered no attempt to engage with public policy or cultural controversy — it was purely ad hominem. In other words, it was both unprofessional and indecent.

Consider that penultimate sentence in full:  "It offered no attempt to engage with public policy or cultural controversy--it was purely ad hominem."  Here is what Bee said:

Bee said: “No, Donald Trump didn’t invent this issue – he’s just making it so much worse. Now everyone who even approaches the border is treated like a criminal.

She continued: “So now, after decades of ignoring the issue, Americans are finally paying attention. Well, most of us. Ivanka Trump, who works at the White House, chose to post the second most oblivious tweet we’ve seen this week.”

Bee, showing a photo Trump posted of her and her son, addressed the president’s daughter directly: “You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless cunt.”

Bee added: “He listens to you. Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to fucking stop it.”

Her comment wasn't a gratuitous swipe at Ivanka Trump because she is the daughter of the President. Her comment was aimed at a person employed in the White House on public business, and while using language like the "C" word in an e-mail would probably get your complaint rejected without further reading (context IS all), it is clear here why Bee used it and what she meant by it.  Barr was speaking racism to people afflicted by it on this continent for almost 4 centuries.  Bee was speaking truth to power, and aside from what might be considered an unfortunate term, her statement was about public policy and something the President wants to be cultural controversy.  What's funny is how nobody is offended by Bee advising Ivanka to dress in a sexually alluring way for her father in order to get his attention and make him change his mind.  Is there a reason all the critics of Bee accept that line silently?  Is it because they know how true it is? Or that they don't want to draw attention to that fact?  Because honestly, that's more offensive (only partly because it is so close to the truth); but nobody seems particularly offended by it.

That dog really won't get off the porch and hunt.*

(I remember the idea of a father being sexually attracted to his child as one of the more shocking, still, parts of Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" (the protagonist uses it to escape the father who is his captor, if you're wondering).  And now we find it so commonplace for the President of the United States nobody even notices.  This matter of "normalization" is a troubling one, indeed.)

1 comment:

  1. I heard Samantha Bee's utter frustration in the style over reality style, desperately violating style in order to call attention to the sheer evil reality of the Trump regime's illegal and in-human treatment of children and babies on behalf of white supremacy and racism. It was nothing like what Rosanne Barr did, which was part of the white supremacy that Samantha Bee was raging against.