Pop question: What college major would provide an aspiring journalist the best chance of landing a job? Communications? Broadcast journalism? News production?
None of the above. Instead, if you want to be taken seriously in today’s news industry, there’s only one course to master.
Apparently, we now take late night comedians so seriously, construing their every word as gospel truth, that we’ve elevated them to the same level as national news anchors.
Just look at the mammoth firestorm engulfing late night’s Jimmy Kimmel. During a recent unscripted segment of his "Kids Table" skit, where children discuss complicated issues in a funny way, Kimmel asked how the U.S. should handle Chinese ownership of American debt. A 6-year-old boy joked, "Kill everyone in China."
That was it. World War III. And the uproar continues. Organized protests are occurring in cities from coast-to-coast, including 27 this past weekend. Picketers are demonstrating against ABC and its network affiliates. Demands are being made to fire Kimmel and cut the show. "Kids Table" has been dropped entirely, and the segment in question has been edited out of future reruns. To top it off, because 100,000 signatures have been gathered via the parameters of the White House’s "We the People" online initiative, the White House must officially issue a comment.
So what’s the beef? Well, as the petition puts it, "They (ABC and Kimmel) had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred. The program is totally unacceptable and it must be cut. A sincere apology must be issued. It is extremely distasteful and this is the same rhetoric used in Nazi Germany against Jewish people."
And of course, ABC has played right into the hands of this politically correct madness. It, and Kimmel, have issued numerous apologies, though one wonders if they meet the "sincere" threshold demanded by the petition (numerous protest groups have outright rejected the apologies). So let’s get this straight. ABC was "wrong" for airing a funny segment on a comedy show, but somehow it’s OK to carry protest signs depicting Kimmel as Hitler and saying he supports genocide?
The chairman of the Roundtable of Chinese American Organizations, in saying that ABC’s apology wasn’t enough, wants the network to "do something in the future to avoid terrorist violence," whatever that means.
It’s obvious that these people have completely lost their minds. Thank God, we don’t have any really pressing issues, like health care, immigration, and yes, our massive debt.
Crisis management experts claim that ABC did the right thing by jumping out front and engaging in damage control. Wrong. They got suckered and received the worst of both worlds — apologizing for something that warranted no apology and being told it was nowhere near good enough. Now it’s still backpedaling with no end in sight.
Ironically, that didn’t solve the crisis, but only set the stage for another one, as the bar has been lowered for the next person who gets "offended" by a comedian’s joke. ABC should have simply said, "It’s a comedy show. It was a joke. Get over yourself." But corporate intelligence is an oxymoron, and ABC proved that.
Hopefully, most Americans see this backlash against Kimmel for what it is: A small group of loudmouths with nothing better to do, looking for 15 seconds of fame by trying to garner widespread media attention.
While it’s ridiculous to even address the oversensitive types who feel offended, the level of media hype necessitates we look at this in a rational, common-sense way:
1.) Notwithstanding the obtuseness of those incapable of grasping what a "joke" is, it’s preposterous to call the skit racist, bigoted or that it "promoted fascism" since — and this is worth repeating — it was a joke! "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" is not "World News Tonight;" it is, and always has been, a comedy show, with the goal of making people laugh. What part of that don’t people understand?
2.) Given No. 1, as well as the fact that the person who made the joke was all of 6, it’s safe to say that nothing said should be taken seriously. Nothing. Doing so demonstrates a pathetic propensity for acting like a space cadet.
3.) Let’s look at the criticism literally. Does anyone of sound mind really believe Jimmy Kimmel hates Chinese people? And that the best way to reduce America’s debt is to murder its creditors? (If so, we should all be worried, since the American people themselves own the lion’s share). Is Kimmel really the next Adolf Hitler, and is "Live" just a front for him to execute his grand plan of wiping out the world’s Chinese? Finally, did this skit show his true intention of trying to be the world’s foremost genocidal comedian?
4.) What’s next? Cut "American Idol" if a contestant or judge says something we don’t like? Censor stand-up comedians? Put a politically correct rating on all TV shows and movies? Don’t laugh. Our ultra-sensitivity is taking us right down that path.
You can tell a lot about a society by its sense of humor. The strong ones have the ability to laugh, poke fun, and engage in self-deprecating humor, made possible by an innate confidence and the ability not to take itself too seriously.
Conversely, societies that live in fear, get "offended" at the drop of a hat and attempt to sanitize everything with the goal of complete homogenization put themselves on the path to self-destruction. Political correctness rules the day, common sense goes out the window, and a bitter resentment grows as people feel they can only express themselves behind closed doors, fearful of being labeled insensitive, racist, bigoted, and yes, even genocidal. And despite the recognition among many that such "rules" are detrimental, they nonetheless succumb to them all too often.
It’s time for the American people, and yes, American companies, to grow a backbone and push back against this rising tide of insanity. No more backing down for innocent jokes and no more apologies to people whose entire existence is predicated upon yelling that they’re "offended."
If anything needs to be killed, it’s political correctness and the massive insecurity blanket that it has thrown on top of the dying American spirit.
And that’s no laughing matter.
Jimmy Kimmel, keep the laughs coming and show your critics that the real joke’s on them!
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. His print column runs every Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected]
About the Author
Chris Freind writes a weekly column for the Daily Times. Reach the author at [email protected] .
Full bio and more articles by Chris FreindBack to top