Yup, sh*t’s still weird, and weird is still worth talking about. Weird isn’t always criminal, which is a nice break from a lot of what’s in the news, but weird is, unfortunately, a part of the new normal that this country has been desperately trying to both resist and accept – arguably unsuccessfully.
About a year after Trump’s infamous “covfefe” tweet, that debacle seems like such a laughable expenditure of energy and thought. It inspired memes. It triggered top-notch investigative journalism into what the president was really trying to tell us through his cryptic, indiscernible, and possibly coded message. Pundits debated whether Trump was so dumb that he tweeted a typo and an incomplete thought without realizing what he’d done or if he was so smart that he knew exactly what he was doing and the rest of us were slow for not catching on. It left the rest of us slack-jawed at the fact that this nonsense is now a part of the national archive.
Tweeting nonsense, we have since learned, is not an impeachable offense. However, within the past year, we have learned quite a bit about what is. More serious matters have taken over the news, so much so that Trump’s tweets, while no less ridiculous, aren’t the top headlines anymore. There are more important things to talk about.
But we’re not talking about those “more important things” today.
One year after “covfefe” entered our national lingo, Kim Kardashian – not Kim Jong-Un – had a meeting in the Oval Office. Roseanne Barr’s controversial sitcom reboot has been cancelled because she also tweeted something she shouldn’t have. Trump came to Texas, along with Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, to meet with the victims’ families from the Santa Fe High School shooting in the Houston suburb, and then he headed up to Dallas to raise campaign funds for the midterms. He said it should be a “fun” day.
Other news worth mentioning that may or may not be important, but it’s kind of hard to tell these days? Trump’s tariff-ing everyone, including Canada. According to Harvard, the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria is closer to 5,000 than the originally reported 64. The volcano in Hawaii is still erupting and forcing evacuations. The summit with North Korea is back on, assuming we can find someone to pay for Kim Jong-Un’s $6,000-a-night hotel room. Rudy Giuliani got boo’d on his birthday at a Yankees game and then said it was the fans’ way of showing him “love.” Ariana Grande is dating Pete Davidson from SNL, everyone’s favorite Staten Islander (after Colin Jost, of course).
Let’s talk about some of it.
The Wrong Kim
With his meeting with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un still being sorted out, Trump took a meeting with another Kim.
Tell me why/how a Kardashian ended up in the Oval Office.
The Oval Office.
General sentiments surrounding this meeting range from disbelief, incredulity, and extreme apathy along the lines of, “Nothing matters anymore and I don’t care.”
But…there’s also a bit of hope in there somewhere. Kim Kardashian’s platform actually isn’t terrible. She went to talk to the president regarding the pardoning of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time non-violent drug offender who was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Kim was concerned about Johnson, so naturally, Trump invited her to the White House to discuss prison reform.
Who knows what went on in that meeting, but I can’t hate on Kim K for using her fame to actually try to do some good. What’s strange about all of this, though, is how easily she was granted an audience with the POTUS. She’s no expert on prison reform. Her platform is pretty self-explanatory, and hardly required the reality star to travel to Washington. I can’t imagine that Trump had nothing better to do than to entertain her.
But it’s all a big photo-op, isn’t it? Trump has always preferred the advice and counsel of people on television, regardless of where their actual expertise lies. Maybe, at the very least, this helps raise (greater) awareness for unfair and disproportionate prison sentences. We’ll see. I doubt Kim Kardashian had anything new to say that actual experts on the American prison systems haven’t already said, but if ten people have to say something before someone hears the message, so be it.
Roseanne’s show first premiered a little over a week before I was born in 1988 (but the show’s a Libra and I’m a Scorpio). The show went on for nine seasons until 1997, which was an impressive run, and re-runs of the show have aired pretty regularly since then.
Personally, I never got into it. Roseanne scared me as a kid because she was always yelling. She was never much of a media darling, either. Remember her rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner? It was a horrible, squawking mess, complete with a crotch-grab and spit. I know the national anthem is in the middle of its own controversy now, but Roseanne’s number was pretty unforgivable, and she felt the brunt of her actions. The then president, George H. W. Bush, called it “disgraceful,” and Roseanne’s overwhelming response to the blowback was that it wasn’t that big of a deal.
To date, my favorite Roseanne reference actually has nothing to do with her, aside from the fact that her name happens to rhyme with “pinot noir.”
Anyway, ABC recently signed her show on for a tenth season, and last week, it was canceled, mid-season. Roseanne had taken to Twitter to insult an ex-Obama senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett. She tweeted, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
Her comment was racist and unnecessary. I’m not even the most politically-correct liberal, but I was pretty taken aback by this. After all this time, it’s still not OK to compare African-Americans to apes, especially considering their long history of oppression in this country, which is fraught with discrimination rooted in dehumanization.
*Side note, this is why Trump referring to anyone – MS13 gang members or otherwise – as animals is problematic. However it starts, we already know where the dehumanization of a group of people leads. There are enough historical examples for us to learn from.
Roseanne has apologized for her tweet, but then followed it up with a bunch of other tweets that all but negated the apology.
Moving on, the other day, comedian Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c*nt” in response to Trump tweeting a picture of herself with her son. Yikes. Trump’s picture was posted just as the news was livid with allegations of immigrant children being torn from their families and then lost in the system.
At best, Ivanka Trump’s tweet was incredibly tone-deaf. At worst, it was a confirmation that she and her family live in a bubble of elitist ignorance and that they have no idea how the rest of America lives, the impact their rhetoric, policies, and practices have on people, or that they should even care. It all felt very Marie Antoinette.
But this is why conservatives call liberals hypocrites. Samantha Bee still has a show bearing her name after insulting a public figure. Roseanne Barr does not.
Is there a difference between the two instances? I think so, but I know a lot of people won’t agree with me. Honestly, it is a bit of a gray area.
Was freedom of speech violated in one case and not the other?
First of all, no lawsuit was brought against Roseanne. The decision to cancel her show came from ABC – not the government – and as I understand it, ABC has the right to dissociate themselves from anything or anyone who taints their brand. They’re trying to save face, claiming that they do not align themselves with Roseanne’s Ambien-induced poor taste. However, this is interesting because Roseanne’s “bad joke[s]” are nothing new. ABC should have known what they were getting themselves into when they agreed to renew the show in the first place.
Samantha Bee has always been pretty controversial, too. She says a lot of things that make me cringe, and I technically fit right into her target demographic. Of course, TBS has yet to cancel her show. Their brand is different. They’re not Disney, the most family-oriented of family brands. They’re not worried about a little controversy, and they know who they gave a show to.
But Samantha’s particular comment hit a misogynistic note. Is it possible for a female to do that? Sure. Do I think Samantha meant to be misogynistic? Probably not.
Samantha has since apologized for her statement.
Did Samantha mean to be misogynistic, and did Roseanne mean to be racist? Didn’t both of them choose to go with the joke they thought would get the best response, not thinking of the repercussions? Are we all just too sensitive?
Sure, the right can make a case for hypocrisy from the left, but I think that argument misses a bigger point. This is all subjective and should be examined on a case-by-case basis, but oftentimes when the left lashes out, it’s an exasperated response to an injustice, whether real or perceived. In Samantha Bee’s case, she was mad about the immigrant children and baffled by Ivanka Trump’s poorly-timed and seemingly ignorant tweet. When people get mad, they say things they shouldn’t, but the primary goal of Samantha’s segment was to stand up for those she felt had been mistreated.
Should she have said what she said? No. I think there are better ways to get a message across, however noble, without resorting to name-calling.
In Roseanne’s case, the same can’t be said. I don’t know what triggered her statement about Valerie Jarrett, but it certainly wasn’t in response to anyone being oppressed. It wasn’t made in an effort to stand up for anyone – quite the opposite, actually.
As for Kim Kardashian, her intentions seem pure enough, bless her heart. She has a cause she’s fighting for, and fortunately for her, she has an enviable arsenal of resources and connections. Who can blame her for taking advantage of it? I can only speculate as to what President Trump’s goal was in inviting her to the White House, though.
Freedom of speech is an inalienable right, but that doesn’t mean that people cannot and will not respond to the things you say and do. Words and actions have consequences, for better or for worse, and just because you can say something doesn’t always mean that you should. Tact and propriety are still things, and ideally, they balance out and complement the very real human instinct to express oneself.
As long as there’s positive intent behind said expressions (which I know is hard to assume these days), I think there’s at least hope for society and the future generations.
But it’s all relative. And a lot of it’s just weird.