In this new era of instant celebrity and fame, individualism has taken a turn for the pathological. All it takes nowadays is a Twitter account, some controversial tweets, or a catchy movement to gain notoriety and followers. George Carlin, in his prophetic genius, spoke about this in his 2006 special, “Life Is Worth Losing.”
Carlin was one of the grittiest, most aggressive comedians of all time, who used some of the most over-the-top (and often grotesque) methods to elicit laughs and make the overall point of how American culture embraces the wrong things. In “Back In Town”, Carlin went on for eight full minutes describing an America where Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah were turned into fenced-in prison colonies, housing everything from sex offenders, junkies and violent criminals–and how the country would pay great money to see them kill each other to escape through gates that would open for only seven seconds.
Carlin pissed off everybody. He offended every single modern liberal sensitivity, glorifying crucifixion for crooked bankers and bashed feminists in ways that would make “hashtag activists'” heads explode. He once used every single racial slur known to humanity to explain the importance of context in 1990, and nine years later called the word nigger what it is: “authentic American language.” Much like Stephen Colbert, who dons the caricature of a dimwitted, self-unaware Fox News host, the color of his skin gave Carlin the agency to condemn the Right on their own playing field and was one of liberalism’s greatest champions (views against voting notwithstanding), and never once apologized.
Back then, everybody got the joke.
When Carlin died in 2008, the ability for liberals to process satire as an effective tool against the Right’s onslaught perished with him. On Thursday night, Stephen Colbert used his show to rightly destroy Washington football team owner Dan Snyder’s creation of the Original Americans Foundation, a charity he says is devoted to the improvement of the lives of Native Americans across the country, by a creation of his character’s own: The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever. Suey Park, a 23-year-old “activist” that scored acclaim for her #NotYourAsianSidekick on Twitter some time ago, took to the social media platform again to voice her displeasure at Colbert’s use of Asian stereotypes as if he had exposed himself as some hateful enemy of the marginalized.
Except that Park was unequivocally wrong.
For starters, no one was talking about Asians to begin with. Colbert’s ire was targeted specifically at Dan Snyder’s perennial trolling of the media via his refusal to change the name of his team (a task that has become the cause of people like The Nation’s Dave Zirin and MSNBC’s Jamil Smith) despite appeals to his wallet and basic human decency. Snyder outdid himself again in this sense by making Gary L. Edwards CEO, who The Washington Post reported yesterday is connected to a fraudulent million-dollar federal contract involving law enforcement recruiting:
The investigation, outlined in a 2012 inspector general’s report, found that of the 748 applications the organization supplied, none were usable. One applicant was 80 years old. Several were not U.S. citizens. Of the 514 applications reviewed by the inspector general’s office, only 22 were of Indian descent. The inspector general’s office advised that the contract be terminated immediately, and it was. But then the bureau paid Edwards’s group an additional $600,000 as “settlement costs,” meaning it received almost the entire $1 million of the contract.
If Snyder really wanted to absolve himself, he could have written a check. Hell, it worked for the Florida State Seminoles!
Secondly, let’s look a little deeper, in terms of demographics. Colbert was brilliant in choosing Asians because right next to Native Americans, Asians are the second smallest population group, according to the Census Bureau. The whole point of Colbert’s skit was that the marginalization of any minority, no matter how small, is both heinous and un-American. Had Park understood this context, she could have saved herself a lot of drama, as well as the co-opting of the #CancelColbert hashtag by Michelle Malkin, of all people. Instead, Park reduced herself to a liability; a caricature of a stereotype the Left has been fighting for years: the humorless, word-policing prude constantly looking for things to be offended by.
Lewis Black said years ago that when one loses their sense of humor, they become dangerously close to everything we criticize others for. And let’s face it: as crazy as this world is, sometimes you just have to laugh. When you take away the ability to find a laugh in things, you lose the last vestiges of what it is to be truly human.
And that is a “privilege” I am not willing to check.