These days, I am so sick of Donald Trump that I have long stopped watching shows I’ve always found relaxing such as The Daily Show and most other comedy-based late-night programs. It’s worth mentioning they are hosted by people I admire and their world views align pretty closely with mine.
Most nights I’d rather see Rachel and Ross argue over whether they were on a break for the 85th time than hear Trump’s name coming out of my TV yet again, even in tightly written lines delivered by masters of comedic timing.
So the idea of watching a reboot of Roseanne Barr’s show held zero appeal for me. I never watched it the first time around and I certainly wasn’t up for her droning on about how gosh-darn-fantastic the President is under the guise of fiction. I did, however, understand the appeal to Trump’s base given the dearth of conservative comedy out there (Dennis Miller and ???).
But ABC’s cancellation of the second season of Roseanne today has stopped me in my tracks for a specific reason – its attempt to show the nuance of the Trump supporter has backfired. It has, in fact, reinforced what many citizens have been saying all along. The cancellation came on the heels of the non-fictional version of Roseanne writing this Tweet about former White House aide Valerie Jarrett:
“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
What we have here is an unabashed example of how a racist really thinks. Your world view is such that it would actually come to your mind to call an African-American an ape. For people who aren’t racist, or who strive not to be, this connection isn’t even in play. They wouldn’t think it and have to suppress it. No, no. It wouldn’t occur to them.
If you’re white, you’ve heard this world view expressed many, many times in your life. Lots of times you’ve winced. Sometimes you’ve spoken up. Or, sadly, if you were feeling it, you chimed right in with a laugh or a similar view.
The day after Trump was elected I wrote about a fraction of the offensive stuff I hear as a white person and it angered some people in my life. I “outed” them by revealing things said in private, even though I didn’t name names.
Well, guess what? Roseanne Barr is outing you now. If you’re a Trump supporter and don’t consider yourself a racist, at the very least you must know that race relations and civil rights cannot be that important to you. Trump’s record in this area is abysmal. If you could sit by and watch our President unflinchingly blame both sides for what transpired in Charlottesville and you’re still supporting him, then you should consider opening a dictionary and looking up the definition of “racism.”
I don’t hear Trump supporters condemning any of that. I hear them enabling it, agreeing with it, defending it. More and more we’ve got people like that attorney flipping out at two women speaking Spanish to each other in a New York eating establishment, a racist nitwit trying to get a twisted version of his country back.
On May 26, Barr Tweeted: “news to dems: dems and repubs and Indies and EVERYBODY cares about ending child trafficking and racism.”
Great. Thanks for the insight, Roseanne. It would hold a lot more weight if you didn’t lose your show three days after expressing it because you called a black woman a descendant of an ape. Oh, wait, correction. You JOKED about calling a black woman a descendant of an ape. Good thing you didn’t get really offensive and say something about her eye shadow.
Back in the 80s, what I loved about Barr’s standup act was how breakout it was to joke about being a housewife and, as she called herself, “a fat mom.” In her first stint on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, she did a hilarious joke about how a fat mom was better than a skinny mom if you were upset because she’d feed you pudding and marshmallows.
“When you wake up from the sugar coma, it’ll be a whole new week,” she said.
I laughed heartily at that and remembered it all these years later. She spoke for and about people who hadn’t heard themselves represented in comedy. I considered her a treasure for that reason. That was a million years ago.
Check out her Memorial Day Tweet:
“i’d like to thank those who fought and died so that old loudmouthed ladies like me could express themselves freely in America. Love to all of your families! #MemorialDay”
She can keep expressing. That’s the beauty of America, all right. She won’t be jailed or stoned for her views. But she can be fired and cost a whole lot of others their lucrative jobs working on a thriving sitcom.
Barr chose to shut down her Twitter account after the Valerie Jarrett Tweet. Turns out a lack of nuance can do a whole lot of damage.