Hello, gabe here. just thought i’d make a thread to discuss this comment because 1) i feel that comment sections on articles are not a good place to have in-depth discussions on topics 2) comment sections tend to become an opinion echo chamber pretty quickly and 3) my opinion on the matter is greatly different from a lot of the comments on that article and warrant a more lengthy explanation than what a comment section typically allows.
Basically, it’s unpopular opinion time.
First off, i want to address the tweet that sparked this controversy in the first place.
On face value, this tweet is offensive. and sure, it is generally understood that Colbert Report is meant to be satire and this was sent from the show’s twitter, of which the actual Colbert has no control over. however, the tweet is still removed from the larger context of the joke. people who watched the show would recognize the quote as part of a segment mocking Daniel Snyder starting a foundation for Native Americans despite owning a football team whose name is a racial slur, but people outside of that fanbase do not watch the show and are immediately divided from the context of the quote. twitter, being a quick-form social media, forces accounts for shows to select snippets of the show as a mean of promotion. but for satire, which depends heavily on context itself, this doesn’t work. this particular tweet presents the quote as a one-off joke instead of commentary on a whole.
Next, i want to examine the quote within the context of the satire itself, since people are quick to cry “satire” as a means to defend Colbert. if you didn’t already know, “oriental” is an Asian slur when used to describe a person(s). within the context of Snyder starting a foundation for Native Americans despite owning a team with a racial slur for a name, Colbert doesn’t challenge it. rather, Colbert does the exact same thing as Snyder. sure, it’s meant to bring attention to the action, but it’s inexcusable in the fact that the action still isn’t being called out in a satirical sense. Colbert’s character on the show is supposed to be portrayed as an ignorant bigot. however, the character is never really called out or condemned for his own actions on the show (which is why i like the character of Colbert better when he’s working against a foil character like whenever Colbert does stuff with the Daily Show. that rally to restore fear and/or sanity had really great satire). so, in the context of the segment, the satire only works if 1) the audience already views Snyder’s actions as hypocritical and racist and 2) the actions of Colbert’s character are equally called out as hypocritical and racist. instead, Colbert’s character shows the exact same flawed thinking, even bringing back a character who is an offensive racist caricature. not only that, we can’t even claim that even the studio audience views Snyder’s actions as hypocritical and racist, considering the reaction to when Colbert bemoaned the “PC Police” for rallying for changing the name of the Redskins. several audience members boo’d the idea. so if satire is lost on anyone here, it’s the people who see nothing wrong with the name “Redskins”.
On a personal note, i just find Colbert Report to be an annoying show. the satire stopped being insightful or funny after two seasons for the reasons i mentioned earlier. i really don’t care if the show continues or not, since sometimes the show can still produce good satire (although from what i’ve seen, it hasn’t happened in a while). i’m not in the camp of people who want the show canceled. i’m actually pretty indifferent to the show. don’t really care. however, i completely understand why my fellow Asians would be upset with this, i empathize with their anger, and i didn’t care for how the satire was presented. furthermore, i like Suey Park. i enjoy her work from what i’ve seen. i don’t necessarily like how extreme she can be, but i understand how important her brand of activism is to Asian representation in media and i like how she engages a digital audience on twitter in order to start discussion.
tl;dr – don’t agree with Colbert’s satire, don’t necessarily care if the show is cancelled or not because of it.