We simply aren't up to this task: Michelle Wolf's string of sex-based insults has generated a fascinating discussion about the role of comedy, and its near imitations, within our failing culture.
Might we note an unfortunate anthropological fact? As a species, we simply aren't up to the task of running a modern democracy.
We may seem equipped to handle that task when things are going reasonably well. At highly tribal times like these, our fundamental lack of skill may start announcing itself.
Tomorrow, we want to take a look at some of Wolf's specific remarks last Saturday night. In particular, we'll plan to examine a basic question:
What the Sam Hill is a "d*ck joke?"
For today, we'll restrict ourselves to one letter from today's New York Times.
The Times published four letters about Wolf's performance. For reasons we can't necessarily fathom, this was one of the letter the editors decided to publish:
LETTERS TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (5/1/18): As news outlets rush to criticize Michelle Wolf’s routine, have we already forgotten this very paper’s July 2017 tally predicting “Trump on Track to Insult 650 People, Places and Things on Twitter by the End of His First Term”? We read about or listen to a president of the United States verbally demean swaths of people, sometimes in language too vulgar for television, on a regular basis. But when a female comedian makes admittedly raw remarks about the president and members of his administration, at an event that in recent years has relied on comedians as hosts, we cry “too much.”Does that make any sense? The writer starts by citing a Times report about the way Donald J. Trump "verbally demean[s] swaths of people, sometimes in language too vulgar for television, on a regular basis."
I can’t help but wonder: Would we be attacking the same words if they had been delivered by a man?
S— S— P—
Such complaints about Trump have been relentless, and justified, over the past three years. But when people lodge a similar objection to Wolf, the writer asks this question:
"Would we be attacking the same words if they had been delivered by a man?"
Increasingly, this is the way we liberals reason in this age of tribal breakdown and "identity"-based analysis, with the emphasis on every group finding a way to be outraged in the moment.
Anthropologically speaking, that letter demonstrates one of the ways our species is inclined to behave at times of tribal breakdown. In a second act of abnormal anthropology, someone at the New York Times decided it ought to be published.
Coming tomorrow: Tampons, diapers, insults, d*ck jokes and the decline of the west
Times readers who don't know their history: Will be condemned to relive it, although the second time around will be dumber still.
Twenty-two years ago, the famously R-rated Mr. Don Imus took the same approach at this annual dinner. Imus and his sidekicks are all man!
The same reaction ensued.