Tina Fey and JOKES


“I hope [the demonstrating Nazis] get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens. Coz you know what a drag queen still is? A six foot four black man.”
-Tina Fey on SNL
The joke here has been parsed as offensive to people of colour because it plays into the notion that black men are a threat.
But what if I suggested that that joke is offensive because it conflates the struggles of the transgender and the African-American communities? Can I say “struggles”?
Are African-Americans more homophobic than society more broadly? 
You hear it in the rap. 
They tend to be more church- or mosque-going, as a group. 
Many of them may regard homosexuality as a sin. 
Some have spoken out of their distaste about such conflations, that the fight for marriage equality should not be equated with the civil rights fight of African Americans. And here’s Tina, implying that many tall black men dress up as women, or that the majority of drag queens are tall black men.

Do the thought police have insight into how wide of the mark they sound when attacking Fey’s comedy?
(Because it’s as wide as I am here now. Or maybe you think these are valid points?)

Perhaps Fey is uncomfortable in her own skin. She can make such a joke about people she regards as allies before the morality police wheel out the guillotine.
She hasn’t done enough? You don’t see her protesting?
Who’ll be left though, to protest?
This same thought-police force of angelically decent human beings, and their soapy-mouthed scruples who scream blue murder when Benedict Cumberbatch uses the word “colored”?
Am I missing the point? 
Maybe. But am I not wasting everyone’s time? 
Because it’s exhausting listening to suggestions that the work of Tina Fey, Frankie Boyle or Sarah Silverman is problematic.

These thought-police seem hellbent on alienating their allies.
And they’re certainly not going to win over people from the far side if they’re that wide of the mark on this side.
The McCarthy-era HUAC crap ended the careers of writers and artists and actors and filmmakers.
Do these intolerant people not feel – if and when they gang up on a target for using gallows humour, for example, under the belief that they might shut him or her down – do they not feel a rich sense of self-disgust, shame and embarrassment for destroying the careers of people who aren’t actually racist or misogynist?
There is no place for such people in their worldview.
These censorious people – who come from a place where there’s an assumption that we don’t stand in judgement – are entirely judgemental. 
They go hunting, like a flock of rabid sheep, through the historic tweets of Trevor Noah.
They’re not calm. They’re not rational. They ought to be avoided whenever possible.
They seem bellicose, embattled, and hyped-up in a way that makes them lash out at the nearest, easiest targets for their nastiness: People on the same side.
They’re the panicked, cliquey rabble in the aftermath of a Revolution that has not even begun. And if they can live with themselves, it’s still summertime.

Leave a Reply