I often cite the famous prose-poem “First They Came…” about a person who didn’t speak up to defend others from persecution until they finally came for him and there was nobody left to speak up for him. It was about Nazism, but it’s been applied to any number of situations, most recently to the rise of the politically correct “cancel culture.” That’s where people find their shows, books, contracts, speaking engagements and other gigs canceled because someone dug up some long-ago quote or tweet that might now be considered “offensive” by someone.
A good example would be Kevin Hart losing his gig hosting the Oscars. Eventually, the Oscars went hostless, and now, the Emmy Awards will follow suit; proving that even in ultra-liberal Hollywood, which loves to lecture the rest of us on our shortcomings, not a single performer capable of hosting those shows can meet the rigid standards they created.
Now, meet the latest victim of “cancel culture”: ultra-woke comedian Sarah Silverman. She revealed that she lost a film role because the producers saw a photo of her in blackface from a sketch she did in 2007. Considering Silverman built her career on satirizing racism and sexism by saying outrageous things, I’m sure that was obviously not intended to be racist and was lifted out of context. Not to mention it was 12 years ago. But none of that mattered. And now, she’s finally started to see the dangers of this.
She said of “cancel culture,” “I think it’s really scary and a very odd thing that’s invaded the left primarily.” She called it “righteousness porn,” adding, “It’s like if you’re not on board if you say the wrong thing if you had a tweet once…Everyone is, like, throwing the first stone. It’s so odd. It’s a perversion.”
I’m glad to see that she’s now “woke” to the dangers of this kind of mobocracy, although I’m sorry it took her having to suffer it herself to wake her. Maybe she and other comedians will start doing what comedians used to do and stand up against censorship (including self-censorship out of fear.) I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons her former boyfriend, Jimmy Kimmel, suddenly became such a fountain of leftist feels and scolds was to inoculate himself from all the old clips of “The Man Show” and his sketches playing Karl Malone in blackface.
As Steve Martin once said, “Comedy is not pretty.”