A CERTAIN WEARINESS

As soon as Trevor Noah was appointed Jon Stewart's successor, I knew it was coming. Without knowing anything about Noah beyond a very small number of appearances on Comedy Central's ratings juggernaut, I knew it was only a matter of time until someone, somewhere would uncover a reason that nobody is allowed to like him. Evidence that he is a Bad Person. He was going to be deemed racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Mennonite, or something that would remind us of the imperfections of his character. It is part of the modern "callout culture," and it is fucking exhausting.

You would think that grown men and women could recognize some sort of happy medium between condoning racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive words and actions and going to the opposite extreme and deeming nearly everyone guilty of something. But who are we kidding. We lack the subtlety to do anything other than blindly accept and endorse offensive shit as Just Fine or to wildly overreact and point fingers (and level accusations) like a bunch of self-righteous teenage straight edge kids who just discovered that the bassist in that one skatecore band smoked a cigarette.

I will make no defense of Trevor Noah's jokes – which, in addition to being somewhat offensive were, more importantly, really stupid and un-funny. If he or any other person says something offensive it is fair to hold them responsible for it. What bothers me is the fact that the second he got the job, someone sat down and went through five fucking years of his Tweets until they found something sufficiently insensitive to run breathlessly to the principal's office and tattle on him.

I've been updating this site five times per week for more than ten years. Anyone with endless time on their hands could, if I suddenly became famous, mine those millions of words to find something Unacceptable. Like any human being, I'm sure that not every word I've ever said was perfectly inoffensive to anyone and everyone. And I would submit, perhaps self-servingly, that if you were able to find something I wrote in 2003 that you (or a large number of people, even) found offensive it would not be conclusive evidence of my character and fitness for interacting with human society. It might be something that would deserve attention – Does it represent the way I feel today? Am I proud of it? Do I regret it for reasons other than dislike of the consequences? Do I understand how and why someone else found it offensive? – but in terms of my underlying character as a human being I think the fact that someone read 5,000 blog posts to find a Gotcha quote speaks more poorly of their character than the quote does of mine.

This is the one and only Gin and Tacos Thing I have ever spoken to another writer about before writing. I asked, "Is there any way to be critical of this "callout culture" without sounding like a whiny white male who is sad that he can't tell racist jokes anymore?" And she told me, "No. So just go ahead and do it." I'm sure some people will take it that way. And that is unfortunate, because I honestly think there is a balance that could be struck between making sure that closet racists, woman-haters, etc are made known and this kind of obsession with finding something Wrong with everyone. And yes, I think someone sifting through five years of tweets upon first hearing of a comedian is, if not legitimately obsessive, at least on the Obsession Spectrum.

We are addicted to the rush of being offended and we love tearing down our idols. Always have, always will. I'm not going to join the Patton Oswalt brigade of "Oh dear, You People are so sensitive that it's silencing my white male voice!" I don't feel in any way censored by having to think about the way that things I say and do might offend someone else. If Trevor Noah told antisemitic jokes, then I suppose it is fair that he answer for that. It's getting ugly, tiring, and depressingly predictable, though, this drill of mining the past until we can find The Dirt on everyone in the public eye in even the most insignificant way. Let's let this guy do the new job he's been chosen to do and judge him on the basis of what he does rather than putting him under a microscope until we find something from the past that we can use to pre-disqualify him.

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56 Responses to “A CERTAIN WEARINESS”

  1. Q Says:

    Can I share this to my Tumblr somehow other than with a URL? More than a few people on there need to read this.

  2. Andrew Says:

    The trick is to not give a fuck what other people think of you.

  3. Daphne Says:

    As a baby boomer, I'm not thrilled about the occasional shots you take at my demographic. Yet I still read you without being fixated on it except on occasions when you remind me about it.

  4. OtherAndrew Says:

    Happily, I've been reading a number of sensible, thoughtful pieces that are making the exact same point and advocating a middle path. As bad as callout culture is, I think it's already inspired its own antithesis.

  5. Arslan Says:

    You know what the sad thing is? You were compelled to put in all these qualifiers about how you're not some privileged white male whining about political correctness in several different ways. To the critically-thinking person, that should have been obvious, and to the regular reader even more so. But that's the problem with the "social justice" culture you're describing- it's a tautology.

    If you question it, or someone questions an advocate's tactics or behavior, it must be because that ideology or behavior threatens the questioners privilege, ergo it is working! (Trigger warning: WWII) There's always the most flak over the target! This is why a lot of these people(who tend to be white and privileged themselves) don't like anonymous commenting. They try to suss out your identity so they can saddle you with privilege and thus invalidate your argument out of hand.

    Another aspect is how that question will always lead to assumptions about what you're trying to say. "Oh you believe that we're infantilizing young adults in college? Obviously you must want to go back to the good old days when college was just one big white male frat and rape victims shut up and blamed themselves! Don't forget to tip your fedora!" Yes, yes, dear Tumblr warrior. You busted another one.

    Anyone can claim that they are trying to advance social justice, but in the end the measure must be your RESULTS. I for one was floored at seeing so many of these "intersectionality" fans shit all over past Civil Rights and feminist movements as supposedly not being radical enough, when in fact for all their shortcomings, they had concrete, measurable, and lasting results, which is more than can be said for our modern campus/internet-based social justice movements.

    Well that's all I have to say. I'm sure the callout types have already determined that I must be a WASP, former frat member, whose dad is a hedge fund manager and who frequents strip clubs to tell racist jokes with my old college friends.

  6. R E G Says:

    Once upon a post you told us you had complained to some women about something her boyfriend wore.

    My reaction was …Dude – what the hell! Why is SHE responsible for what he wears? Why didn't you act like a MAN and tell HIM what you thought? Why is SHE responsible for changing HIM?

    Full disclosure. I have been married for 35 years. I am constantly calling my husband out for stuff he says, does or wears. And vice verse.

    But no way am I going to take responsibility for anything he says, does or wears. I didn't raise him, I just married him.

    And I am still reading your blog…

    My daughter's (black) friend once cheerfully called me a "harmless racist". I found it frightening that she walks through life sorting out the people she meets into categories…not racist..racist…harmless racist…

    And I think I was happy for the upgrade from possible racist to harmless racist.

    As for Trevor Noah, I ran across his you tube videos before he appeared on the Daily Show and I liked his stuff.

  7. Mayya Says:

    "… shit all over past Civil Rights and feminist movements as supposedly not being radical enough, when in fact for all their shortcomings, they had concrete, measurable, and lasting results, which is more than can be said for our modern campus/internet-based social justice movements."

    Amen. I know I'm in the GOML stage of life, but I find it very disappointing to talk with many young people these days. Call out culture and endless hair splitting examination of every tiny nuance of speech… It's like the self criticism of Maoist China. There's little productive dialog and very little action. That's how a lot of radical movements end. Shame.

  8. GunstarGreen Says:

    The problem with "Callout Culture" — which is just the current attempt to re-brand "Social Justice" now that the movement's preposterousness has finally caught up with it and people are starting to realize what it actually is — is exactly as you state, Ed. It's not about righting actual wrongs. It's about finding ways to destroy your enemies, mostly by latching onto something they said somewhere as a singular data point that is enough to prove that they are A Very Terrible Person Who Should Never Be Listened To.

    Censorship in practice, if not in overt name.

    The best part is that it's mostly a tool of the petite bourgeoisie. Notice how, of all the dimensions of the dreaded Privilege™ — race, gender, ability, weight, etc. — the one least often talked about is Class, or its close analogue Wealth?

    Notice how the people most loudly concerned with it tend to be upper-middle-class?

    Hmm. Now isn't that a strange coinky-dink.

    The secret is, as it has ever been, to not care about the opinions of spoiled children.

  9. Jestbill Says:

    Wrong.
    It is not a "call out" culture, it is a "Junior High" culture.

    The problem is not that someone found a flaw, it is that there is a Greek Chorus telling the world how important that flaw is.

    Soon popular culture will grow up and we'll become Good Victorians again.
    Ah, the Good Old Days!

  10. John Danley Says:

    Defamation And Its Discontents. Only Bill Burr can put an end to this.

  11. c u n d gulag Says:

    America's built an amazing "Outrage Machine."
    It's a shame if we don't use it 24 X 7 X 365.

    Yes, some of the things Noah said, were offensive.
    But to search for those through 5 years of tweets for them, takes an obsessive-compulsive conservative "mind."

    If you want to see those "minds" in action, look at what they've tried to parse from President Obama's life, to justify vilifying him.

    Also too – look at what, after 23+ years on the national public stage, they're still trying to dig-up on Hillary Clinton!
    And what they can't dig-up, they create!
    Their favorite advisor, Otto Myaz, is kept very busy!

    Conservatives never give-up, never tire.
    They depend on the rest of us to give-up, and tire.

    2016 is coming fast, and we can't let ourselves get tired. This upcoming election is crucial.
    But then, so will 2018, 2020, 2022, 2024, etc., be critical!!!

    HELP TO GOTV!!!

  12. Dookie Says:

    Unless, of course, you are a republican politician, or in anyway lean right, or are on FoxNews, or are Rush Limbaugh, or…well, you know, not left of center on any issue. Then it's all fair game.

  13. GunstarGreen Says:

    @cund:

    That's the thing though, it's not just right-wingers doing it. A whole lot of the SocJus "that's problematic" poo-pooing — most of it, actually — comes from the left side of the house.

    I'm a fairly liberal guy most of the time, but the more extreme elements of the left have gotten so bogged down in the idea that nobody should ever feel bad about anything ever that they have become this generation's puritans. Instead of far-right nannies telling us that D&D will corrupt the youth with its satanic messages, we now have far-left nannies telling us that video games will corrupt the youth with their misogyny. Instead of the far-right fear-mongering about Reefer Madness, we now have far-left fear-mongering about Rape Culture and Microaggressions.

    Everything old is new again. The pendulum swings back and forth forever.

  14. Arslan Says:

    "Unless, of course, you are a republican politician, or in anyway lean right, or are on FoxNews, or are Rush Limbaugh, or…well, you know, not left of center on any issue. Then it's all fair game."

    Oh dense one, let me break this down to you. First of all, most call out culture that I've seen is directed against people on the left. In other words, it's directed at people that actually are, at the very least, concerned about racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Some of these people are quite radical, but inevitably some jealous social justice warrior who won't leave the fucking house to actually DO something about these problems will "call them out" and basically equate them with, well, someone like Rush Limbaugh, for example.

    Your conservative buddies take pride in being "politically incorrect," constantly pushing the envelop of racism. Then when someone calls them on it, they whine about how it was a joke or something along those lines.

    There's a big difference between a person who is a mouthpiece for the superwealthy, deliberately using racism to manipulate and whip up fear among the white middle class, and some anti-racist, pro-feminist who perhaps said something that offended one individual person.

  15. quixote Says:

    Agree that nitpicking is stupid. Don't agree that it's nitpicking in Trevor Noah's case.

    1) The tweets were not funny. But his whole point is that he's allowed to say anything because he's (trying to be) funny. For a professional comedian being unfunny ought to be the end of it.

    2) When those tweets came up he didn't say, "God, yes, I'm so embarrassed I ever said that." His reaction, if I have it right, has been pretty much "Get over it."

    It's not like this guy is the only comedian in the world. Tig Notaro, just one example.

    So, no, in his particular case there is something wrong with giving him a massive platform like The Daily Show.

  16. Andrew Says:

    quixote: If you think being unfunny eliminates a person from a career as a comedian, you obviously didn't see "Bart Folding" on last night's Louie.

  17. Arslan Says:

    Gunstar nailed it. All these SJWs will throw the word class in there just to pretend like it matters, but let's look at the class composition of this loose movement. We have media people, celebrities, college students, and academics. In other words, all people with a certain amount of privilege, and the kind of privilege that matters.

    By their chart, if you ignore my class background I would seem like the epitome of privilege- white, hetero cismale. Supposedly if I returned to the States I could cash in my privilege coins and live on easy street. In reality, not so much. There's a reason why I remain living in a country that is increasingly turning into a literal fascist dictatorship, where we have macroaggressions as opposed to microaggresions. That reason is that here I always have either work, or bigger opportunities. In the US, outside of one field involving backbreaking labor and exposure to both radiation and dangerous chemicals, the only prospects I have are things like retail, security guard, and other entry level non-living wage bullshit.

    My CV full of all kinds of experience in various professions and published works won't get me so much as an interview at almost any decent job in the US, so I know my "whiteness" isn't going to help.

    Now before I get called out, I just want to say that no, I don't deny white privilege. I'd certainly have it in the sense that people wouldn't follow me around stores, they might pay more attention to things I say no matter how ridiculous, and I'm fairly certain I'd get better treatment at the hands of police(though I'm not sure, since now that I'm older I do look a bit Middle Eastern). My point is only that we live in a capitalist society, and in a capitalist society the bottom line is what you have in the market, not your privilege. Do you have money? Do you own property? Or do you have nothing and thus need to sell your labor power in order to get money to buy the things you need to survive? If you're in the latter, there's limit to what non-class privilege gets you.

    Lastly I just want to say that the most infuriating thing about privilege theory is how it tends to take America's culture and concepts of identity and project them onto the world at large. For something that is supposed to be so enlightened, that is incredibly arrogant and ignorant.

  18. Andrew Says:

    Very few people can live in the US or anywhere without selling their labor. I'm just fortunate (so far) to be able to sell mine for far more than I need to live, and use some of the excess to own things (shares, bonds, bank deposits, part of a house [and more of that house every month]).

  19. Arslan Says:

    Yeah well that's the issue I'm talking about. I have to put up with all kinds of risks and having basically no rights, but at the same time this is the only way I get opportunities to maybe one day be able to have a place to live in the US and not have to surrender to the tyranny of low-wage work. Granted, it would be nice if a working class movement arose to do something about that state of affairs, but turns out everyone's too busy calling people out on their privilege, or stupid things they said years ago.

  20. Interrobang Says:

    I agree with quixote, but antisemitism in particular gets under my skin. In this day and age, unless you're a very specific kind of Christian or Muslim (in which case, sane people shouldn't put you on mass media), you should have no damn reason at all to make disparaging comments about Jews, so why do it other than that you're an asshole who has all the self-reflection of a mudpuddle?

    The fact that he didn't even apologise also gets to me. Dude, you got caught saying bigoted stupid things; at least say sorry.

  21. Andrew Says:

    No one has ever had a valid reason to say anything disparaging about Jews or about any other racial, national or religious group. Bias of this sort is always invalid because it only takes one example of someone who doesn't meet the criteria. If you say "Jews are good with money," and I can point out a single Jew who is not (and I know several), then your stereotyping is incorrect.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There are so many good reasons to dislike just about anyone that if you have to rely on their membership in a group, you're just being lazy.

  22. Assistant Professor Says:

    I sometimes fantasize about teaching at a tony liberal arts college (say, an Oberline or Swarthmore or something) rather than the low-ranked southern state school where I am now, but then I realize that there's no way in hell I'd make it to my tenure review before loudly and visibly losing my shit when a student who's parental allowance is more than I've ever made in a yearly paycheck complained that they'd been "triggered" by something I said in the classroom…

  23. Arslan Says:

    The fact is that if Noah had apologized, that wouldn't have been the end of it. Some SJWs would certainly accept it and publicize it, but then some others, in the never-ending quest to be the edgiest, most radical, most morally superior, will explain why that apology is not only "problematic," but actually worse than the jokes he was apologizing for.

  24. xulon Says:

    I think one point to be made is that the obsessive troller of Mr Noah's twitter is not some hyper-sensitive PeeCee police guy but a right winger who is out to trash a perceived liberal guy as punishment for replacing a perceived liberal guy. PeeCee has nothing to do with this except to the extent that the right winger is hoping PeeCee Puritans (perceived as liberals) will turn their back on him and destroy a perceived Liberal show. The exact same troll would defend the hell out of OReily should he tweet the exact same thing.

  25. Karl Says:

    I'm sorry, but I just don't care.

    Trevor Noah is still getting the job. The entire consequence of his offensive jokes (and let's face it, they were offensive, and more importantly, not funny) is that some people on the internet are getting angry at him.

    People actually lose their jobs for wanting to be in a union, or being gay, or trans. Or being sexually harassed. But some dude may lose his job for being a dickweed in the public eye and suddenly it's a travesty.

  26. Arslan Says:

    Maybe more people should be focusing on those problems you mention and not "calling people out" on the internet. Then again, that takes actual work and struggle, and as it turns out real life doesn't come with trigger warnings.

  27. Jade Says:

    The Angry Left wanted a woman. Her intelligence or qualifications wasn't important. They just wanted someone with ovaries. So when the powers that be chose a man, I knew all hell would break loose.

    Noah's jokes were bad and juvenile (and as a fat woman, I didn't care for being yet another punk's punchline). But, then, he was what? 26? Of course they were bad and juvenile.

    He's now only 31. He's still going to make bad, juvenile jokes. He's a fucking millennial. I'm ambivalent about watching him, not because he's "yet another man on late night," but because I'm not sure I care what a 31-year-old has to say about world events.

  28. Iscariot Says:

    Jade, I don't see his age being an issue, he's only 4 years younger than Jon Stewart when he took over The Daily Show.

  29. Jade Says:

    Iscariot, I think that his age is relevant to this because someone older, more mature, who's experienced grown-up life would have known better than to tweet stupid jokes like that (or thought they were funny). Or, even if he did, he'd know enough to delete his history. It, to me, points to his maturity and critical thinking skills, which is important in whoever hosts The Daily Show.

    But you do make a good point about Stewart being in his mid-30s when he began. (And, really, who knows the age of the actual writing staff?). All of that being said, I'll probably tune in and give this guy a chance, even if it's just that Stewart recommends him.

    What surprises me about this conversation is that–if xulon is right–a conservative started this whole thing and the left played right into his hands.

  30. Jade Says:

    Oh, and Ed? I've read almost every post you've ever written here, and the Social Justice Warriors would nail you on your use of the word "retard."

    Also, because I'm new, test

  31. Roboteating Says:

    Noah handled the call out just fine, and the world didn't burn. Callout Culture (which is one of my new fave reddit straw men ) as it is, keeps people honest at worst. The trick is, to be able to defend yourself or shrug it off, like Noah did. To pitch a Oswaltian fit because some people take some things seriously is immature.
    Personally, when I hear a bad joke, I don't laugh. And when I hear shrill anger, I tend to ignore it.
    But "callout culture" didn't exist when Bill Cosby was drugging and raping women. Call out culture sure as hell didn't stop Clarence Thomas from getting on the Supreme Court. And Callout Culture will never be more than a minor annoyance to anyone acting in good faith.
    But really, I just don't like it when people want to be excused for being awful (however temporarily) by complaining blaming the people who witness it.
    Bleah…a pox on all their houses.
    PS: Reader since 2007, I think. I never comment unless I want to look like a goob. Lov u

  32. Greg Says:

    It is terribly disappointing that the best comment thread on the Internet has adopted the vocabulary of GamerGate. If you use the term SJW or spell out the words and do so unironically, you are a fool (as to this) and your opinion's worth is equal to that of the teenaged wankstains who threaten women with death over "ethics in games journalism."

  33. FDChief Says:

    Meh. Young smartass says a bunch of stupid things, suddenly he's a minor celebrity and people are combing his entire life for a hint of scandal because…Kardashians, Honey-boo-boo, every-form-of-"entertainment"-media-in-existence. "Callout Culture"? No…"Celebrity Culture", the 24/7 hate-and/or-self-licking-tonguebath machine that our entertainment media and 99% of all OTHER media has become.

    So. The stupid things are uncovered, the sort of people who give two shits about the person, or the show, or whatever, get pissed off at him for saying dumb things. In other breaking news, there is gambling at Rick's Cafe Americain.

    So all this is horrible and regrettable and a byword and a hissing, and yet nobody seems to mind that Dick Cheney still exists.

    I'll be mortified by "Callout Culture" when the media calls out THAT vampire sonofabitch.

  34. mothra Says:

    I am not sure how saying no hot white women have big asses is fat shaming, but I am hard to offend. Plus, he's got to revise that in light of Kim Kardashian.

    But yeah, combing through someone's past for that one offensive/obnoxious thing they said is utter nonsense.

  35. Arslan Says:

    And as I predicted, Greg proves my point by associating people here with Gamergate. Here's a tip. The term SJW(Social Justice Warrior) existed at least a year before Gamergate. Just because someone uses a term doesn't automatically lump them in with some idiotic subculture.

    Social Justice Warrior, as I came in contact with it(via a far leftist and well before Gamergate), was meant to mock the fact that these people(and I knew many myself) see themselves as waging this great crusade with their D&D rulebook of oppression, yet they in fact spend all their time on the internet calling people out(usually their own allies) over increasingly ridiculous things, before inevitably saying incredibly offensive or ridiculously ignorant things which essentially contradict all their moral lectures.

    If some Redditors ended up picking up the term, no one can stop them from doing so.

  36. Brutus Says:

    Comedy operates in a bizzaro alternate reality where lots of patently offensive stuff gets an easy pass if it’s sufficiently funny, some patently offensive stuff never gets a pass (or it’s too soon …), and the broad middle falls under the same intense scrutiny as do political candidates. There is utterly no way a comedian could function without trading heavily on racial, sexual, gender, political, and others stereotypes. For some comedians, there is no other kind of joke.

    The Daily Show walks a fine line between calling out others over patently offensive stuff and wearing on its sleeve its own progressive politics. Jon Stewart rarely steps over the line, and John Oliver (formerly of The Daily Show) did surprisingly well during his substitute hosting duties and continues now on his own show by being more silly than offensive with his abundant indignation. Trevor Noah is relatively untested (and his historical Twitter feed is mere distraction), but make no mistake: every last one of the show’s senior correspondents is used as a ready stand-in for whatever demographic he or she best embodies, the more obvious and labored, the better.

    So is it any surprise that 1980s political correctness and the rise of identity politics have now spawned a stew of reflexive indignation (2010s callout culture)? Way too much attention is paid to these divisive categories. It’s especially rich how the whiny white male patriarch category is invalidated simply by naming it. So many things wrong with the world, and folks are getting twisted about their entertainment options. Don’t like it? Turn it off.

  37. HelloRochester Says:

    Dear Ed,

    Threats of your own suicide are probably offensive to some people who have been impacted by suicide, but it's a comedic device and we all get that. Some of the most brilliant comedy lies in dead-pan embrace of stuff that is radically offensive to ape what idiots sound like when they're being serious or to make a point with hyperbole. It has a tendency to get stale, though. Lisa Lampanelli was hilarious at first and then once she realized the whole "I like big Black dick" thing was a hot sale, she overdid it. I've also always though Andrew Dice Clay was originally making fun of meatheads with his schtick but then persona replaced person, the people he was making fun of became his biggest fans, and it was ghastly. Whether or not Trevor Noah is a mistake to hire will be determined by whether his comedy is matched by his sincere and deep analysis and interpretation of the DC monkey show through comedy. That's my bigger concern. Satire is all we have left but satire only works when it's smart and consistently fresh.

  38. Skippper Says:

    The problem with relating this to his age is that if you're not interested in him because of his age, the network doesn't care about you.

    It's all about demographics. They are after the 18-34 demographic. If you fall outside that range, and if you like the show, fine. If you don't like the show because of the age of the host. The network doesn't really care.

    I have to explain this constantly to my other half. He'll turn to me and say, "I don't get that commercial." I reassure him that it's not a problem. "They're not aiming at you, dear. You're not going to buy Axe Body Spray — thinking it's going to make you irresistible to the ladies — anyway, and they know that."

    Tasteless and stupid joke: Guy sees a spider and grabs whatever is closest at hand, which happens to be a can of Axe Body Spray. He sprays the spider, but all the spider does is change his name to "Chad" and start screwing all the lady spiders in the house.

  39. Greg Says:

    Oh boo hoo, some sociopathic shitbags appropriated your "progressive" term of mockery, and now you can't get the stain off. Terrible news.

  40. Emerson Dameron Says:

    Bug, feature, or both?

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage/

  41. Nate Says:

    Zizek, in his cocaine induced brilliance, recently did something for Big Think about the "Soft Totalitarianism" of the callout culture of Pee Cee (and hence the Right Wing abuse of the same). Worth 11 minutes of eyeball time.

    https://youtu.be/rtSBLvnd9KM

  42. Nate Says:

    Good Lord. YouTube pasted the URL ad instead of the Zizek video. Let's try this again. Please delete the ad I unintentionally spammed you with.

    Zizek, in his cocaine induced brilliance, recently did something for Big Think about the "Soft Totalitarianism" of the callout culture of Pee Cee (and hence the Right Wing abuse of the same). Worth 11 minutes of eyeball time.

    http://youtu.be/5dNbWGaaxWM

  43. el mago Says:

    Don't know much about comedy except for what makes me laugh. This much discussed tempest in a tea pot sign-of-times imbroglio is laughable.

    Those call out culture social justice warriors? Drop them in a war zone for a week with the clothes on their back, no money food or water and a case of dengue fever–their perspectives and priorities will alter.

  44. Arslan Says:

    Yes Greg, your conflating totally different groups of people based on your own ignorance is totally acceptable and rational.

  45. Lit3Bolt Says:

    If it's exhausting, it's only because engaging with people on the internet is exhausting.

    Good faith arguments and conflict resolution do not happen online. They just don't.

  46. mayya Says:

    Another good one:

    http://www.marriedtothesea.com/index.php?date=040415

  47. Matt Says:

    Meh. When people whine about "the new outrage" culture I wonder if they've ever heard of William Randolph Hearst. Or studied how the "War On (some classes of people who use some) Drugs" got started with "moral panic" about what the blah people were supposedly getting up to. Or read about how the Spanish-American war started (REMEMBER THE MAINE!), or "Bleeding Kansas", or etc etc etc.

    The only new thing about now is that instead of people with power holding the reins of the outrage cannon, it's available to anybody who can spell "Twitter". The little people have ALWAYS been subject to sanction for things they said or did in the past; whether those things were "hey, we should form a union" or "Marx might have something relevant to say about the construction of modern society". The difference is that now people at the top of the heap might face the same scrutiny, and they've gone into full-on "HELP HELP I'M BEING REPRESSSED" at the merest thought of it.

  48. My Truth Hurts Says:

    "… like a bunch of self-righteous teenage straight edge kids who just discovered that the bassist in that one skatecore band smoked a cigarette."

    That's some solid gold writing right there.

  49. Skepticalist Says:

    Chelsey Handler was given a lot more slack I believe. Funny and stupid at the same time.

    Let's see if this guy is as clever as Jon Stewart says he is. I'll try him out for awhile.

  50. Robert Says:

    From everything I've read, I am under the impression that Jon Stewart (the human being) is different from 'Jon Stewart' (the character). I do not expect, much less demand, that the former conform to my expectations of the latter.

    There is an interesting continuum – a sliding scale with two axes. One, how good is the art; two, how horribly did the artist behave? Can I defend still listening to Miles Davis *and* refusing to watch any of Woody Allen's new movies? I don't think there's a generally agreed on metric. I became a fan of Lovecraft's writing before I knew very much about him – would it have made a difference?

    For the record, I am probably about as far Left (culturally and politically) as anybody here. I haven't heard anything about Trevor Noah that would inspire me to complain about his getting this job. Now if they'd picked Penn Jillette, I'd be sick to my stomach and never watch.

  51. Emerson Dameron Says:

    I doubt Penn was up for consideration, as he is an outspoken libertarian and incorrigible asshole in public.

    Noah is a question mark, but at least he's affiliated with the show. He made some rookie mistakes and explained himself well enough, and he presumably understands the job requirements.

    Putting him through the wringer because you wanted Tig Notaro is where this gets hypocritical and stupid.

  52. Xynzee Says:

    How much of the "outrage" is driven really by, "He's just not Jon!!!" grief?

    Will the show survive its "VanHagar" moment?

    Granted "call out culture" is the Left's answer to Teabagging purity. Though there are some candidates who really do lack the credentials no matter how much they claim to have "seen the Light" and turned their back on the path of "The Third Way". They still support "The Third Way"—ie Bush policies only with bread and circus of the social movement for the plebs.

  53. Xynzee Says:

    @Arslan: you forgot that actually getting away from the Twit-sphere and organising a union comes with the very real possibility of getting hit with a baton.

    Better to whinge over the pumpkin latte by Twits about the barista's microaggression of misspelling your name on the cup, than to suffer the macroaggression of a cop's truncheon for standing for a union and fair wages. N'est-ce pas?

  54. HoosierPoli Says:

    In the "callout culture" I can't help but see a failed philosophy at work: the idea that if we change the words we use to talk about something, we can actually change the world in a meaningful way.

    This was the philosophy that gave us "African American" at the same time black men were being dumped in prison for life by the tens of thousands. It's a victory for social justice! Too bad REALITY doesn't give a shit. But it's the only activism any Americans believe in anymore, because 1. it's easier than ACTUALLY improving the world and 2. it's the only activism that stands a snowball's chance in hell of being successful.

  55. S M McBean Says:

    Late to this discussion, but still want to chime in. Trevor Noah can't possibly have the same impact on political discourse as Stewart developed (even with the same staff of writers) but may create something entertaining and/or useful. Let's hope HE doesn't get stuck in gotcha or "call out" humor.
    Recently, following the G&T blackout, I delved into the archives, curious about discussions on the eve of past presidential elections. Going farther back I found the era when discussion focused on gin (and binge drinking,but not tacos).
    When the Republican Bible comes out (suggested subtitle: Do Unto Others, Before They Do Unto You), do you suppose there will be a rush of Teatards looking to smear Ed? Perhaps it's time to purge (and I don't mean in the binge drinking sense).

  56. oiojes Says:

    I argue the "call out culture" actively holds back humanity.

    It makes the presumption that something that one said last decade, last year, last week is exactly what one is feeling this week. It presumes no growth. No change. What you were in high school is who you are today.

    I most emphatically am not the person I was in high school– which, fortunately, predates the internet. I'd be appalled to be confronted by that now. And, frankly, irate. After all who expects that from anybody?

    We should grow as humans. It would be more interesting if (e.g., Trevor Noah) someone were to compare tweets from five years ago and the present and see if he's different.