Our lives are so filled with hate speech that earlier this week Comedy Central offered up 90 minutes of entertainment based on a woman being called a “c***” 19 times, a “racist c***” just for added impact, and then being told that she really ought to just kill herself.
The woman is Ann Coulter, and while I disagree with her politics, I am greatly disturbed by the reported level of on-air vitriol that was directed towards her in the filming for tonight’s programming. According to Vanity Fair:
On Saturday night, Comedy Central taped another one of its annual roasts, this time skewering Rob Lowe. As the roasts usually do, this one got pretty nasty. Nothing was off limits, not even 9/11 or Lowe’s sex tape he made in 1988 with a 16-year-old girl. And again, it was supposed to be a roast of actor Rob Lowe, but it was conservative political commentator Ann Coulter who drew most of the heat.
“Ann describes herself as a polemicist but most people call her a c—” said Pete Davidson of Saturday Night Live, before muttering “a racist c—” under his breath. Comedian Nikki Glaser called Coulter “a real-life super-villain,” and told her, “The only person you’ll ever make happy is the Mexicans that dig your grave.”
This programming shows the degree that hatred sells.
I find it amazing that people are shocked… SHOCKED… at the possibility that Donald Trump might actually be elected President in November. Don’t Trump opponents realize that name-calling and bullying aren’t attractive alternatives to name-calling and bullying?
Sure. I can imagine the argument: “Relax, it’s a roast, anything goes; we’re all professionals here.” And I’m sure that the entertainers and comedians who participated in Comedy Central’s roast all understand this.
But do the majority of voters?
Saying the worst things possible about someone and then backing off because you’re “only joking” is schoolyard bullying of the worst kind. I think that the majority of voters understand that.
What’s the end game here anyway?
Perhaps – just perhaps – Coulter is smart enough to make herself enough of a martyr to actually swing sympathy (and votes) in the direction of her candidate of choice, Donald Trump. And maybe – just maybe — all the snickering professionals on stage are all too clever by half, doing more harm than good for their own righteous cause.
In June, Hamilton”s Lin-Manuel Miranda recited a poem on stage while accepting a Tony Award in the wake of the Orlando shootings:
“We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger,” he said, then evocatively concluded that “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love” and “cannot be killed or swept aside.”
This week, Comedy Central reminded Americans that hate and fear do seem stronger and that “hate is hate is hate.”
I think we can do better than that.
Do yourself a favor: don’t watch the program. Spend that time with your family instead. In doing so, you’ll be making the statement that hateful speech masquerading as entertainment should indeed be swept aside.
Photo Credit: YouTube/screen grab
This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.
(The Task Force holds weekly conference calls with like-minded people who want to stop a candidate who is racist, sexist, bigoted, incites violence and is demonstrating no competence for the job at hand. We put out content, videos, memes and do outreach to small groups to work towards our goal.)
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