Thursday, May 31, 2018

So long, Roseanne, and thanks for all the fish

Michael Lumish

Charlton Heston on horseback from
Planet of the Apes (1968)
The thing that I find interesting about the Roseanne Kerfuffle is that it nicely demonstrates how racism today seems almost entirely dependent on the ethnic identity of the person making the racist remark and the ethnic identity at the receiving end of that remark.

So, Roseanne Barr in a tweet suggested that former Obama aid, Valerie Jarret, was a combination of "Planet of the Apes" and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Generally speaking, it is obviously considered racist to refer to a "person of color" as a monkey or an ape or anything along those lines. This has been widely recognized for many decades and I am old enough to remember the Howard Cosell Kerfuffle, sometime in the 1970s, wherein he allegedly said something like, "Look at that monkey run!" in reference to a black football player. I imagine that in the passion of the moment - if he actually said it - he might have thought of it as a compliment on the player's speed and agility, but it definitely got him into trouble. I do not believe that they fired Cosell, but he was certainly reprimanded.

And, needless to say, it should be remembered that Cosell was a champion of Muhammad Ali. Those two, much like Forrest and Jenny, were peas and carrots during Muhammad's rise to greatness.

Nonetheless, are we to understand that simian references are only racist when applied to people of non-European descent? Speaking as a person of non-European descent, I very much resent this.

I know all sorts of European simians.

The people following this weird, little story may also be aware that some time ago comic Wanda Sykes referred to Donald Trump as an orangutan and nobody suggested that she was being racist.

How come?

If a "white" person calls a "black" person a monkey or an ape that is racist, but if a "black" person calls a "white" person a monkey or an ape that is not racist?

In other words, we are supposed to internalize the notion that the ability to be racist is dependent upon one's race.

It is a fascinating concept. I find it vile and counterproductive and likely to result in all sorts of violence and blood and stupidity, but there it is and rich "white" well-meaning "progressives" honestly believe it.

Now, I understand, of course, that African history in the United States is obviously very different from European history here, which is why we hold the Barr comment to a different standard than we do the Sykes comment, but this is exceedingly problematic from a liberal, anti-racist perspective.

If concerns over racism are to mean anything then they must be consistent. There is a notion floating through the culture and through academe that racism is a function of power and, given the historical powerlessness of the black community in the United States, black people, or "people of color" simply cannot be racist.

I find such a notion not only to be dangerous nonsense... but in-and-of-itself entirely racist.

To hold people to different standards based on their skin color is practically the dictionary definition of racism.

If Western thinkers and culture-producers have come to the conclusion that racism is dependent upon one's "race" than we've lost the plot entirely.

It very much seems to me that we have lost the fundamental message of Martin Luther King, Jr. and this is particularly true among those within the progressive-left community who tend to see almost everything through a racialist lens.

And let us please not forget that Roseanne Barr is a Jew. That makes her of Middle Eastern descent.

Therefore she is not, herself, "white."


  1. If the movie is so horrible then why did Hollywood make so many of them? And in a few, the 'apes' are the heroes. And they're not apes. They're science fiction creatures. And the lead 'ape' female was Helena Bonham Carter (in the biggest remake). BTW is it weird that almost no black actors have ever been in any of the Planet of the Apes films?

  2. Samantha Bee called Ivanka a Feckless C-word and slut shamed her. So far she has her job and the support of lot of the left who agree with her about Ivanka. heh. ONE sponsor pulled out.

  3. Growing up in Detroit, I learned that there is poor white "trash" and poor black "trash". Content of character made the difference not skin. I think it is crazy that so many people use skin color as a way to categorize people. Why not hair color? Glasses? It's all so random and utterly bizarre

  4. So Samatha Bee called Ivanka Trump a 'feckless cunt' on air on her show yesterday. Today the Television Academy decided to give Ms Bee an award as a result.

    In other news, Google now lists "Nazism" as one of the guiding principles of the California GOP.

    I think we found were all the 'palestinians' can find a new home.

  5. Vile actors on the right are usually on the fringe, with some leaders and celebrities, while vile actors on the left are increasingly mainstream, with many more leaders and celebrities revealing their TDS.

  6. And it's not just about race, although racism now covers ideologies.

    From another site:

    On Thursday Hollywood actress Sally Field one-upped Samantha Bee.

    Sally Fields: I like Samantha Bee a lot, but she is flat out wrong to call Ivanka a c*nt.
    C*nts are powerful, beautiful, nurturing and honest.

    This is the modern day left.

  7. "A Hollywood liberal feminist arguing for normalizing the debasement of women. All in the name of being able to condemn a woman they perceive as conservative. And we wonder how Weinstein survived for so long in that world." …

  8. The new FB commercials are pathetic. So fake. At least Google doesn't hide what it thinks.

  9. If want to know who rules you, find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
    ABC president apologized to Valerie Jarret. VJ is not just an adviser, she lived (and still lives) with Obamas in some bizarre family arrangement. Obamas are still in charge.

  10. "On this week's episode of the Roseanne revival, Roseanne Barr's TV persona made a controversial wisecrack. After falling asleep in front of the TV for hours, Roseanne and Dan Conner (John Goodman) awoke to realize that they fell asleep from "Wheel to Kimmel," referencing the night's lineup of shows on ABC.

    "We missed all the shows about black and Asian families," Dan noted, seemingly referencing fellow ABC sitcoms Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat. That's when Roseanne offered this response: "They're just like us. There, now you're all caught up."

    This was before the infamous tweet. So does it foreshadow her racism? Hint....she's an actress, not a writer.

    1. She did apologize. But that didn't stop the suits with the silk ties who live in those gated communities from "taking a stand," hurumph!

  11. Essentially, "white supremacism" in the US today is a political ghost.

    What saddens me the most, I think, is the failure of the American Left - the children of Martin Luther King, Jr. - to accept their own success.

    The US, today, is nothing like what it was, when it comes to ethnic relations, as it was when Martin Luther King stood on the Mall in Washington, DC, in 1963.

    Instead of embracing ethnic equality, we seem to be agitating ethnic resentments for political reasons or reasons having to do with whatever consolation that comes from personal virtue signaling.

    This social-political trend is not coming from the political right-wing so much as it is coming from the racialized American Left.

    I come out of the American Left, but the US Left is doing itself and the country a terrible disservice by continuing to agitate racial issues for political purposes.

    It is pure poison.

  12. Are you unable to tell the difference between a derogatory statement made about someone because of who they are and a derogatory statement made about someone because of what they do?

    Read Bret Sthephens', not exactly a PC-blowhard,

    Some excerpts: she did not just use racist allusions, she has regularly propagated 9/11 conspiracy theories ... This was not an odd needle, but the last straw.

    1. Sar Shalom, excuse me for reiterating, but my question is whether or not a racist comment should be dependent upon the ethnicity of the person making that comment and toward whom.

      That is the point.

      You understand, no?

    2. "This was not an odd needle, but the last straw."
      For her. When does Samantha Bee, or whatever that unfunny woman's name is, get there, instead of getting awards?
      Roseanne is entitled to her personal opinions, even if they are wild opinions, off the wall opinions, or just plain nutty. She is known to have mental issues. She has discussed them many times. She is on medication. Is her show dedicated to pushing racism or 9/11 trutherism? Well, shit, I don't know, and probably not but let's purge her anyway. In the meantime, Bee's disgusting, comment, was scripted - it was part of her act. There wasn't even a joke behind it. She just called Ivanka Trump a c***, and that in and of itself was supposed to be hysterically funny. MSNBC had a show on racism featuring racists claiming to hate racism. That was the show. Was Samantha Bee's apology sincere? No, absolutely not. Was Roseanne's. I believe it was. I don't think she hates black people, and I believe she feels terrible that people now think she does, and I think she feels bad that this has put a lot of people out of work. Roseanne's 40 years of entertaining people? Let's expunge it from the record of entertainment history.
      Roseanne Barr is a comedian, and she is eccentric. If she is the big thing people have to worry about, then they really haven't very much to worry about.
      From Bret Stephen's column:
      "There are necessary taboos and essential decencies in every morally healthy society. "
      I hope he's not suggesting that we have one, or that Roseanne's firing proves we do.
      Roseanne has a sitcom where she plays a Trump supporter. Bret Stephens hates Trump. Connect the dots.

    3. Mike,

      It's not who is saying it that affects whether or not it is considered racist, it is whom it is being said about.

      To put things in perspective, if someone were described as a money-grubber, would the identity of the target affect whether or not the characterization is an act of identity-bias?