Roseanne or Samantha? I pick neither

Just got back from a couple of weeks in South Africa, a vacation whose most relaxing aspect was being largely disconnected from the endless political skirmishes, conspiracies and name-calling back home. Most of the places we stayed at didn’t even have working Wi-Fi. You just kept looking for zebras or leopards instead, which proved to be far more interesting than news from States.

That changed soon after we returned when, even before leaving the Houston airport, we had already been confronted with the scandale du jour over Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, and the conservatives’ immediate riposte that comedian Samantha Bee’s description of Ivanka Trump was just as offensive. Bing-bang. So there!

This was an easy one for me: I can’t stand either Barr or Bee. I’ve never felt even an itch to watch Roseanne, either in her previous show or the latest incarnation. And as far as Samantha, I watched her show a couple of times and found her relentlessly off-color tone tedious and juvenile.

But I do have a horse in this race, come to think of it. When I worked at the Chicago Tribune I had the chance to interview Jarrett a few times, when she was chair of the Chicago Transit Authority. I found her unfailingly courteous, well informed and the epitome of classy. 

On a scale of ten for offensiveness, though, Barr’s tweet about Jarrett scores about a fifteen. Just because Jarrett was born in Iran where her parents worked for five years doesn’t make her a closet sympathizer of the Muslim Brotherhood, except in the minds of inhabitants the far right’s slimeosphere.

And comparing black people to apes, that’s something Barr tweeted once before with regard to Obama national security advisor Susan E. Rice. Enough said.

Still, I don’t find Bee’s description of Ivanka Trump, or Bill Maher, who called Trump to an orangutan, as offensive as Barr’s tweet.

Bee was making a point, albeit using really crude language, about Ivanka’s cowardice for not denouncing her father’s immigration policies,  which have affected immigrant children. It was couched as a “from one mother to another” observation:

     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! He listens to you! Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to fucking stop it! 

Yikes, really offensive and, worse, not funny or an effective way to make what could have been a good point about Ivanka’s two-faced public persona: A feminist, working mother of  sorts who doesn’t use her clout to do something concrete about her convictions.

Still not as gross, by a mile, as comparing black people to apes but gross enough to confirm my decision not watch her show.

Or John Oliver on the Comedy Channel. He’s a terrifically bright guy who makes some really good points except they are often peppered with so many fuck’s and shit’s that his rants are really annoying and counterproductive, particularly if he presumes to persuade someone with different points of view.

I‘m not writing this in a cloistered convent. I can handle, and even use, cuss words once in a while. But they should be utilized sparingly, like explanation marks, caps in emails or habanero peppers in Mexican dishes. Just a dab will do you. Too much will reveal you as a gross, unimaginative clown, and burn the roof of your mouth too.

Trump an orangutan? That’s pretty funny and probably related to his hair and girth. If anything,  orangutans deserve an apology. But nooo, Trump instead sued Maher, who joined thousands who have already crossed the sensitive Mr. Volcano Hair and been hit with a lawsuit as a result.

Bee apologized, and so did Roseanne though she later backpedaled by blaming her insanity on Ambien.  I’m sure behind closed door Bee was told to tone it down a notch—but not so much to turn off her loyal followers. The show must go on.

As for Trump? He couldn’t bring himself to censure or at least distance himself from Barr’s odious racist tweets. Instead he tried to turn this debacle into a forum about his favorite subject—himself—and whined about how he’s been mistreated by the media.

I miss the wild animals.


12 thoughts on “Roseanne or Samantha? I pick neither

  1. I'll just quote a bit of a story about this from The Daily Caller: “The morning after the uneventful [KG: annual turkey] pardoning, my news feed began blowing up with stories about a GOP hill staffer named Elizabeth Lauten, who worked for a backbencher congressman. She decided to criticize the Obama daughters on her Facebook page. Lauten attacked their fashion choices, writing in part, “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”Her post made the media world go apoplectic. It began a 72 hour outrage cycle. Lauten was called racist, bigoted and insensitive. The cultural zeitgeist would not be satisfied unless it received due punishment for the crime. Lauten was of course fired, even though she apologized the same day.” Full article: it's OK to call the current president's daughter what Bee called her, but there's an endless cycle of outrage when someone suggests that Obama's daughters may be a bit casually dressed for a public, White House tradition? Where's the equivalency in that? And doesn't it seem rather racist that it's somehow OK to call the president an orangutan but an outrage to make simian references to black people? (By the way, it's not particularly obvious that Jarrett is black, either.)I think it's this relentless double-standard from the leftist press that has conservatives so exercised. If something is outrageous when a conservative does it, then it ought to be just as outrageous if a liberal does it. Isn't that simply reasonable fairness? And doesn't such a stance imply that there are in fact standards that everyone should know? Or is it better that we all live in an amorphous situation where no one has any clue as to what's correct behavior until after the fact?By the way, a key difference between Barr's tweet and Bee's trash talk is that the latter was scripted, taped before a studio audience, edited, reviewed, and then broadcast later under the direction of a large team of producers, writers, actors, and editors. In short, lots of people had the chance to flag it as the totally inappropriate BS that it was, yet none of them did so. And while I think that Barr is fully responsible for her actions, if indeed she was on Ambien, her act is something rather less premeditated than Bee's.What's particularly galling about this, however, is not the underlying actions, which are appalling. But rather that Barr (and her entire team) lose their jobs on a top show, while Bee continues on with what is apparently a fairly unsuccessful show. I for one am sick of the double-standard, one which is now busy protecting Joy Reid. Saludos,Kim GRedding, CAWhere we basically agree on your take about both Bee and Barr: not very interesting.


  2. Anonymous

    We are all entitled to our own opinions and the right to express those opinions. But, we have to live with the results. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten or ignored what our parents taught us. “Be nice!”Robert GillPhoenix, AZ


  3. There is a recent phenomenon out there someone called “whataboutism”, minimizing one person's misbehavior by interjecting well, “what about so and so…?” That doesn't justify anything. Piggery is piggery, Roseanne is a racist pig and Samantha is just as bad. No matter how much you love Trump and his cohorts, you should be able to roundly and unequivocally condemn both Roseanne and Samantha, without pretzelized


  4. Never heard that one but I believe that Whitman may have a point. That's why we have five dogs and a cat. There was another quote, I don't know from whom, something like “The more I know people, the more I love my dog.” Thanks for your comment.


  5. We do tune out a lot of American programming, particularly news. Having Shaw Satellite TV from your corner of the world makes it easier. Whatever is going on in the U.S., there's always Canadian hockey, or the The National


  6. Do you truly believe Roseanne Barr is a racist? And if so, then why did ABC do an entire show around her? And if you don't believe the above, then you must believe one of two things. Either you believe that Barr has somehow successfully hidden her racism over a 20+ year career and only now the true Roseanne was revealed. Or, you must believe that a single, errant comment (that while distasteful is not exactly definitively racist) irrevocably makes a non-racist into a racist, kind of like the Jim Crow concept that a single drop of black blood made you black. So which do you truly believe? Barr was successfully a closet racist who finally blew her cover? Or did she instantly convert?Or might you admit that there is indeed a third way, namely that Roseanne made an ignorant comment that appeared racist, but doesn't really mean she's a racist because she was mistaken and apologized?And since it was your post which compared the two, aren't you really the one committing “what aboutism” to forgive a scripted, well-considered act and instead run someone else out of town because you don't really like her politics?Which is it?Saludos,Kim G


  7. Kim: Don't do this to yourself. You're engaging in labyrinthine sophistry worthy of Fox News. Barr is a crude, vulgar person, and has been all her life. That is her schtick. People who have worked with her and lived with her, including former husband Tom Arnold have said this was not “a single errant behavior” but part of a long pattern of outrageous remarks and behavior, that included rubbing her crotch while singing the national anthem at a baseball game. Arnold said he sensed her carrying-ons “were not going to end well.” Jimmy Fallon, believe it or not a friend of Barr, even hinted at possible mental problems. Read the clips. Comparing a black person to an ape is not a forgivable slip of the tongue. Period. Liberals, conservatives or centrists should be able to condemn such talk unequivocally.Geezus. Keep up this sort of fabulism and you'll be auditioning for the Press Secretary gig at the White House in no time at all. I hear Sarah may be quitting soon.It's one thing to be iconoclastic or contrarian. What you are saying is just plain


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