mandag den 31. marts 2014

Træd varsomt, amerikanske identitetskarnevalist

Yesterday, the Comedy Central Twitter account for The Colbert Report posted a very dumb tweet from a very smart satire.
On Wednesday’s Report, Stephen Colbert’s idiot-pundit character gave a “defense” of Dan Snyder, the Washington Redskins owner who has bitterly clung to the team’s racist nickname. Citing Snyder’s hamhanded attempts at p.r. spin–trying to buy goodwill for the name with a “foundation” and some token donations to Native Americans – Colbert referenced his own show’s racist “mascot,” a Chinese caricature named Ching-Chong Ding-Dong, who the show introduced in 2005 in a meta-skit about the fictional Colbert trying to excuse his own racism. Mimicking Snyder, Colbert offered to make amends “by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” (You can watch the whole thing online.)

Thursday, the Comedy Central account – run by the channel, not Colbert or the show’s staff – sent a tweet consisting essentially of just that line. As a punchline to an extended, constructed bit, it was a searing sendup of Snyder’s creating “the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” (because, Colbert said, “Redskins is not offensive if you only use it once in your name”). As an individual tweet, it just looked like a non sequitur racist slur from a famous person to about a million followers.

There are a couple ways to react to this kind of situation:
(1) Man, that tweet was really… bad. Stephen Colbert always seemed decent. Is he really an insensitive, raging racist? Is there some kind of explanation for this? Could someone have made a well-intentioned mistake here?
These days, social media, Twitter, Facebook – the whole React-o-Sphere – are permanently set to #2.

So once again we went from zero to I Demand Someone’s Head in no time flat. In short order, the hashtag #CancelColbert was trending on Twitter. That’s right. Nine years of brilliant satire demolishing hypocrisy and injustice? Eh, fine. Five seconds of reading a tweet? CANCEL! 

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