The Samantha Bee standard of civility: Make sure the targets of your vile, nasty attacks aren’t on the special protected list

I already covered the Samantha Bee/Ivanka thing over on Herman’s site this morning, and there’s been plenty of discussion throughout the day of the double standard at work vis-a-vis Roseanne Barr. I don’t really want to litigate that here. There’s no defending Roseanne’s tweet, and there’s no defending what Bee called Ivanka.

What I do find interesting, though, is the nature of the debate that’s gone on today via social media and wherever else.

The position of conservatives is that Bee calling Ivanka a c*** should be regarded by TBS as every bit the firing offense as Roseanne calling Valerie Jarrett an ape and getting the axe from ABC for it. Of course, that’s not the way this is going down. The mainstream media have paid almost no attention to what Bee said last night, and TBS had given no indication she’s in any trouble at all. All this is proof, in the eyes of conservatives, that there are different standards for liberals like Samantha Bee.

The retort of liberals is that these two things are not the same: Both were nasty, they’ll acknowledge, but the reason Roseanne’s tweet was a firing offense is that her particular insult used a racist epithet against a member of a societal class that has historically been discriminated against. That, they insist, is more serious than simply dropping a nasty insult on someone apart from any racist overtones.

Comparing the two, the left insists, is “false equivocation”.

I would like to know: Why is the one form of nastiness more acceptable than the other?

In both cases, the offender said horrible, vile things about another person. Both offenders were media figures. Both targets were White House aides to the president (one past, one present). Both insults were nasty, personal and mean. Both were completely unprovoked. These two situations are about as alike as two situations can be.

But what Samantha Bee’s defenders seem to suggest is that it’s not really necessary to be kind to others. It’s only necessary to be kind to people on certain protected lists, and not to use certain nasty insults that have certain nasty overtones. Other nasty insults with other nasty overtones are perfectly fine, as long as the target is not a person the left considers favored, protected or sacrosanct.

It’s not about basic decency. It’s about who you are, what group you belong to, and whether the venom aimed at you is of a particular flavor.

If you spend any time on Twitter, you’ll see that this is pretty much the rule of law there. You can merciless mock and attack certain people, and members of certain groups, but you don’t dare go after those who are deemed protected or a label will be hung around your neck that will put you outside polite society. And this is the world where people like Samantha Bee are heroes.

Demand that the defenders of this double standard explain themselves and they’ll tell you: When someone is awful, it’s right to call them out! That’s the call-out culture, where everyone thinks they have the right to shame those they deem unacceptable. But you can’t call out the members of groups A, B, C or D because of historical discrimination, etc.

Some rules man comes up with.

How about this standard instead? “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s a lot easier to remember. It’s a lot less complicated. And it works a lot better.

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