It’s Not Offensive, It’s Just Fucking Stupid

There are lots of things in this world I don’t get. I don’t get why the French Fry Burger is a real thing. I don’t get why any sane human being takes Donald Trump seriously. And I do not get what the hell Nick Cannon is doing. He’s donning “whiteface” to promote some new album he has out about white people because “LOL white people” is the easiest thing on the internet to get laughs with. But it’s been way more amusing to see people lose their shit, breathing fire down Cannon’s neck, calling him a racist, and all the rest of it. Any time something like this happens, racism is the first thing that jump to people’s minds.

But sometimes there’s a much simpler rationale: it’s not racist, it’s just fucking stupid.

Whenever we see something we don’t like that appears to reduce an ethnic group to a joke of some kind, we immediately leap to racism as the explanation for why it’s bothersome. But getting yourself decked out in “whiteface” isn’t an act of racism, it’s, again, fucking stupid.

(I will say, though, I love the fact that Cannon tried using Robert Downey Jr.’s role in Tropic Thunder to defend himself, because in that movie Downey was playing a crazy celebrity who changed his skin color for the attention, while Nick Cannon… well, for legal reasons I’m not gonna finish that sentence.)

I hate to burst your bubble, but not every joke about an ethnic or racial group is meant to be racist. Not every joke about LGBT individuals is homophobic or transphobic or what have you. “-phobic” is meant to denote a fear or an extreme distaste, and if you use it to attack everything that remotely mentions your particular group, you dilute its meaning and therefore when a true act of racism or homophobia comes along, it is unable to stand out and draw more attention than the sideshow. In a free society, people have the right to make jokes and even do and say incredibly fucking stupid things. But we can make the active decision to stop being offended by them and focus on things that matter.

Which brings me to #CancelColbert. Now, look, the social justice brigade’s been out in full force hammering this one, and I’m pretty certain most of the people making this nonsense trend don’t actually want to get Colbert cancelled. They’re just up in arms about a joke that made perfect sense in context, but even with the excuse that it was posted on Twitter out of context, the level of outrage was too disproportionate to the joke.

But where’s the fun in me defending the people I agree with? No, I’m gonna go ahead and say that people need to stop getting so fucking worked up every time shit like this happens. Stephen Colbert is a wildly successful late night host with a major platform, I’m sure he can get along well enough without the Defenders of Comedy™ leaping to decry these tweeters as h8rs who wouldn’t appreciate a good piece of comedy if it stood in front of them and threw a damn whipped cream pie in their face.

Why? Because these are also people leaping to the extremes of human emotion instead of taking #CancelColbert for what it is, which is incredibly fucking stupid. Is it worth it sending someone death threats because they were offended by a joke? No. Is it worth being a condescending ass because *gasp* there are people in the world who react to things differently than you do? No.

If everyone could just calm the hell down, this world wouldn’t necessarily be a better place to live, but it would certainly be more bearable.

 

[Editor’s note: If you find this post offensive, go listen to that Alanis Morissette song about irony and cry yourself to sleep.]

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