Roseanne-Outrage? Please. No Surprise At All!

Roseanne-Outrage? Please. No Surprise At All!


Leonard Zwelling

One of my favorite stories is about Mr. Scorpion who needs to return home over a now rushing river after a torrential rainfall. He begs Mr. Frog for a ride across the stream after he guarantees Mr. Frog safe passage if he will carry Mr. Scorpion on his back. Mr. Frog reluctantly agrees. Of course, just as they reach the opposite bank, Mr. Scorpion stings Mr. Frog. As Mr. Frog lay dying he says to Mr. Scorpion,

“You promised not to harm me.”

Mr. Scorpion responds that, “You knew what I was when you made the deal.”

ABC gets some credit for cancelling Roseanne Barr’s new TV reboot of her former hit series after the star tweeted (supposedly under the influence of Ambien) a racist comment about former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett. One of the side effects of Ambien, as its manufacturer was quick to point out, is not racism.

But ABC knew where Roseanne Barr stands and what she is. She’s a vehement Trump supporter who has ranted on Twitter in the past and has had a checkered career of representing decorum in public before. They knew with whom they had cut a deal when they did and so did her co-stars. That they are all out of work now should come as no surprise.

This has been a lesson in two-dimensions. The first, as Samantha Bee has also discovered, it matters what you say and how you say it. Whether Bee’s poor choice of words when describing Ivanka Trump rises (or falls) to the level of Roseanne’s rants, I will leave for others to decide. Bee too should feel the sting from her network and her sponsors. I understand that she is a stand-up comic used to using foul language, but save it for the clubs.

I am not suggesting that prudish language ought to dominate all television shows. But is there really a need for this insulting stuff on TV and Twitter? I think not.

It does matter how people speak and how they try to communicate. The President of the United States has himself lowered the discourse bar sufficiently, compounding it on Twitter, and really going overboard at political rallies. He incites violence. He equates peaceful demonstrators and Nazis as being of equal value and gives succor to our enemies in Moscow.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that the world seems to have been turned on its head with regard to comportment in the public arena. Nonetheless, I, for one, am glad the boom came down on Roseanne Barr and would have no trouble seeing the same thing happen to Samantha Bee.

Just because the liberals tend to insult with loftier language most of the time does not absolve them of being penalized when they stoop to the level promulgated by Mr. Trump. Level the playing field. The same rules for all. And people with a public persona—behave yourselves for goodness sake.

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