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#CancelColbert

Last posted Mar 31, 2014 at 11:42PM EDT. Added Mar 29, 2014 at 12:56PM EDT
25 posts from 15 users

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.

Last edited Mar 29, 2014 at 12:57PM EDT
Mar 29, 2014 at 12:56PM EDT

Twitter got angry when the America national anthem was sung by people of different cultures. but when Colbert makes a little satire joke about Asians Twitter becomes Social Justices Warriors.

Mar 29, 2014 at 01:41PM EDT
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If given the right context, it is obvious that it was meant to be making fun of Daniel Snyder as opposed to people whose ancestry was from Asia. Without that context though, it is pretty bad, and since it was on twitter as opposed to just being on the show, it should have been obvious that it could easily be taken out of that context. Since it did seem to provoke a very different and strong reaction than what was intended, It was probably better that they took it down.

Given the context, I’m not certain if it was really overly offensive, at least not compared to other stuff on Comedy Central. Knowing that the character of Stephen Colbert is an idiot and horrible person, and that it was offensive to sow how others can be offensive when trying to not look that way I don’t know if that is something to worry terribly much about. That having been said, I’m a straight white male from the southern US of the 20-35 age range, so knowing what exactly others may find offensive to probably isn’t my strong suit.

Mar 29, 2014 at 01:42PM EDT
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Didn’t Colbert, on the last day of Black History Month, air a cartoon where the KKK with lasers save the world from aliens, even after Viacom told him not to?

Mar 29, 2014 at 08:37PM EDT
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1) Satire’s so dead these days because of modern culture’s stupidity that I’m sure if A Modest Proposal were done today, Twitter and Tumblr would call Swift a Patriarchal racist toward the Irish and #eatswift would start trending.

2) I’m always amused when SJWs attack other liberals. You know it’s bad when even the Huffington Post finds their efforts silly.

inb4 they target Hostess next

How offensive.

Mar 30, 2014 at 05:52AM EDT
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@xTSGx:
1) Satire isn’t dead. in fact, i think it’s been so overused that people are misunderstanding the main purpose of satire. A Modest Proposal was understood to be satire when it was written because of how outlandish the claims it made and how absurd the “solutions” it offered. Swift’s piece was one that attacked the mindset the rich had of the poor at the time, and to be completely frank, quite a few still hold today. Swift didn’t attack or use another disenfranchised group in order to make his satire effective. Colbert’s “Ching Chong Ding Dong” joke he made didn’t do this. the claim/solution isn’t absurd enough to be considered laughable especially since Snyder’s hypocrisy isn’t unique to this specific event. it has happened several times in the past to several other racial minority groups including Asian Americans. so, essentially, Colbert’s joke ignores the history of foundations like Snyder’s and brings back an offensive Asian stereotype, one which Colbert – as a comedian, not a character – has apologized for in the past but continues to use. it’s not effective and as a whole, and just more of Colbert being an annoying twig.

2) Liberals “attacking” other liberals is important, though. it’s important for any group, to be honest, being critical of other members of a group you are a part of is incredibly necessary if you want your goals to be reached. otherwise, the group risks being derailed. it’s perfectly fine for Suey Park and others to call out Colbert for the “satire” he presented, especially since while in the process of trying to criticize racism, he ended up reinforcing it.

@Mangy Black Sheep:
What’s up with this trend of Englishmen or whatever working in America inviting women onto their shows only to tear them down? this isn’t Zepps putting “this ditzy cunt in her place”, it’s Zepps being increasingly rude to someone he invited to talk on his show. Park’s concerns are warranted when it comes to this whole debacle and all she’s done is voiced her concerns, just as she’s done in the past.

Mar 30, 2014 at 11:35AM EDT

Mangy Black Sheep wrote:

Didn’t Colbert, on the last day of Black History Month, air a cartoon where the KKK with lasers save the world from aliens, even after Viacom told him not to?

He also did this awhile ago.

I think people who aren’t even familiar with the show saw the tweet and started bandwagoning without even knowing who Colbert is.

Last edited Mar 30, 2014 at 01:23PM EDT
Mar 30, 2014 at 01:11PM EDT
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@Zepp/Park interview:
In my opinion nobody was a winner in that interview. Everything was going rather smoothly in the beginning with both sides giving their opinions and concerns. Then suddenly they were talking over each other, Zepp was using the “I don’t think you get satire” argument, Park was using the “You can’t understand this because you’re a white man” argument, which are both the lowest hanging fruit you could possibly grab at in debates. Zepp basically went from fairly reasonable person debating with opposing opinions until he straight up called Park’s opinions stupid which then launched him straight into douchebag town. There were no cunts put in their place here, because they both failed at actually having a debate without insulting each other

Mar 30, 2014 at 03:44PM EDT
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@Young Dragoon

Actually yes Colbert’s joke was indeed absurd. Snyder’s hypocrisy was creating a foundation to help Native Americans while owning a team that had an offensive name. Colbert’s suggestion was to create a institution to promote racial sensitivity that had a name that openly mocked it’s own goals.

Mar 30, 2014 at 09:28PM EDT
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@theclassicrock1969:
It’s absurd only because the hypocrisy of Snyder is absurd. that’s not satire, it’s practically direct reference. Snyder made a foundation for Native Americans while owning a team with a racial slur for a name. Colbert jokingly makes a foundation with an offensive name inspired by a character with an offensive name. if even satire at all, it’d be incredibly weak.

Mar 30, 2014 at 09:35PM EDT

Young Dragoon wrote:

@theclassicrock1969:
It’s absurd only because the hypocrisy of Snyder is absurd. that’s not satire, it’s practically direct reference. Snyder made a foundation for Native Americans while owning a team with a racial slur for a name. Colbert jokingly makes a foundation with an offensive name inspired by a character with an offensive name. if even satire at all, it’d be incredibly weak.

Are you sure that you understand what satire is?

noun: satire

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Using that definition, I believe that it is easy to deduce that Colbert was using satire whether you find it funny or not.

Mar 30, 2014 at 10:51PM EDT
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Tim the Enchanter wrote:

Are you sure that you understand what satire is?

noun: satire

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Using that definition, I believe that it is easy to deduce that Colbert was using satire whether you find it funny or not.

Nice dictionary definition, there. unfortunately, it isn’t very nuanced, which is what’s important when determining whether or not a work is satire. anyone can “use humor” to criticize someone. it happens in high schools and it’s called teasing. satire has to hit deeper. Colbert isn’t hitting deep with the Oriental joke. he’s not exaggerating the situation, as he’s presenting the exact same situation in terms of hypocrisy, and the only irony present is there as a result of Snyder’s snafu. i understand that the character of Colbert is what’s supposed to give context to the satire, the character being portrayed as ignorant and stupid. however, Colbert the comedian/writer is not using the character in a way to make the situation more absurd. as i’ve said in previous posts, Colbert ignores the history of foundations and organizations similar to what Snyder has set up, creating a situation that mirrors exactly what has happened. that’s not satire. satire doesn’t exist in a vacuum. in order to be effective, it cannot be selective. otherwise it’s just parroting popular societal and political belief. there’s not criticism there, and there’s definitely no exposure since the humor of Colbert’s joke only works if the audience already finds Snyder’s actions absurd.

Mar 30, 2014 at 11:57PM EDT

I’m going to have to disagree with Colbert’s joke only being absurd if you find Snyder’s actions absurd. While Synder did show great hypocrisy by starting a foundation for Native Americans while owing a team with a racially insensitive name, I would still say the Colbert’s joke presents a more absurd situation. The idea of a foundation dedicated to being sensitive to Asians using a racial slur against Asians in it’s title is completely absurd. It would go against everything the group stood for, and wouldn’t make any sense at all. It’d be equivalent to someone starting an organization called the Coalition of People for the Fair Treatment of Faggots, or something along those lines. From what I see, the joke is taking the hypocrisy of Synder to the logical extreme. It is important to remember that Synder did not choose the name of the team; the team has been around since the 30s, so I don’t see how his actions are comparable to a fictional organization that purposefully uses a racial slur in their name when it goes against the core ideals of the group.

Also, since Swift’s A Modest Proposal was mentioned, I thought it would be interesting to mention that Swift actually did receive some backlash from outraged people who thought he was being serious.

I am still curious to hear what people who are offended by this have to say on the matter, as discussion is always beneficial. I really don’t feel Twitter is a good way to discuss important issues such as racism however, as things can easily be taken out of context due to the limited amount of words available for self-explanation. For example, I doubt many of the people who found the joke offensive legitimately want the show cancelled.

Last edited Mar 31, 2014 at 01:07AM EDT
Mar 31, 2014 at 01:05AM EDT
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I would like to remind everyone that negative karma is not something to give to people you disagree with. That discourages conversation/debate and if that happens we’ll all end up in a circlejerk. Nobody wants a circlejerk.

Also I feel like we’re getting off topic arguing about what counts as satire. Really off topic. It’d be nice if we could get back on track.

@Sloth:
I was wondering myself last night how many people using the hashtag actually want the show cancelled over it or if they’re just using the hashtag as a way of being part of the conversation? For instance, Park (who brought the hashtag back to popularity) said in her first tweet that she wanted the hashtag trending until the staff apologized for the joke. Does that imply she doesn’t actually want the show cancelled? Would everything be well and good in her world if they simply apologized? An interesting thing to think about.

Mar 31, 2014 at 09:08AM EDT
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xTSGx wrote:

1) Satire’s so dead these days because of modern culture’s stupidity that I’m sure if A Modest Proposal were done today, Twitter and Tumblr would call Swift a Patriarchal racist toward the Irish and #eatswift would start trending.

2) I’m always amused when SJWs attack other liberals. You know it’s bad when even the Huffington Post finds their efforts silly.

inb4 they target Hostess next

How offensive.

Hmm, liberals vs. liberals. I agree with you since I believe that when it comes to political parties, the moderates need to separate themselves from their radical counterparts. To be honest, political correctness is killing the liberal democrat party in the U.S.

Mar 31, 2014 at 09:34AM EDT
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I think pushing for the show to be canceled even after they apologized would be overzealous and practically malicious. Colbert’s pretty much my favorite guy on T.V at the moment so yeah I’m biased, but this was basically just a misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion. I get that some people have a different idea of what satire is than others but given the show’s track record the joke was clearly intended to be satirical. I also think the person who started this would have faced much less backlash if she didn’t use the word “cancel” in the hashtag because it implies that everyone who’s mad about it is overreacting to the max.

Just for the record I think it was a bad idea to post the joke where people could misinterpret it, and I don’t blame people who did misinterpreted it for being offended but I also don’t like to see “righteous outrage” over one little mistake ruin people’s careers. There is such a thing as going too far in these situations and in the end nobody’s 100% right.

Last edited Mar 31, 2014 at 09:43AM EDT
Mar 31, 2014 at 09:34AM EDT
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Crimson Locks wrote:

I would like to remind everyone that negative karma is not something to give to people you disagree with. That discourages conversation/debate and if that happens we’ll all end up in a circlejerk. Nobody wants a circlejerk.

Also I feel like we’re getting off topic arguing about what counts as satire. Really off topic. It’d be nice if we could get back on track.

@Sloth:
I was wondering myself last night how many people using the hashtag actually want the show cancelled over it or if they’re just using the hashtag as a way of being part of the conversation? For instance, Park (who brought the hashtag back to popularity) said in her first tweet that she wanted the hashtag trending until the staff apologized for the joke. Does that imply she doesn’t actually want the show cancelled? Would everything be well and good in her world if they simply apologized? An interesting thing to think about.

I doubt Suey Park really wants the show cancelled. she’s stated before that a lot of the time, that people tend not to respond unless they think some sort of extreme is being taken. is it manipulative and misleading? maybe? does it cause actual extremists to hop on board? sure. but in the end, Comedy Central apologized, just like when she and other activists got #HowIMetYourRacism trending a while back.

Mar 31, 2014 at 10:01AM EDT

@Iamslow:
100% this. We all know there are a lot of Colbert fans on the internet, and of course Park was going to get backlash either way, but I feel like using such extreme measures to get attention for her cause is what made this backlash much harsher than something like #HowIMetYourRacism. Although using #I’mverymadatyourracistjokeandyoushouldapologize is not as catchy as #CancelColbert, it would’ve probably done a better job at getting her point across and minimizing negative backlash. Going back to #HowIMetYourRacism, that was an event that, while not as widespread, definitely did not get the backlash #CancelColbert did but got the same result of the people responsible apologizing. There, story over, mission accomplished, everybody go home now. Sure, we still got a group of people at the sideline that love getting offended at other people being offended, but I would say that event came out a lot cleaner than this. If you come out of the gate with harsh opinions and demands nobody is going to listen to you. Sure, your opinion is going to be heard, but it’s mostly going to be bad publicity. Do you really want that for your cause?

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:03PM EDT
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Maybe if a TV show offends you, you shouldn’t watch it.
Or look at the show’s Twitter feed.
If nobody is watching the show anymore, it gets cancelled.

Mar 31, 2014 at 04:08PM EDT
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This may not be totally on-topic, but I feel that it illustrates a point I want to make on this subject better than anything else:
A few years ago, I watched what I believe was the very first episode of South Park I ever saw. Its name? “Ass-burgers”
Yeah, you can probably guess where this is going.
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at a very young age. (I’ve recently become skeptical about this kind of identification, especially considering AS has been taken of the list of disorders by a major psychological organization, but that’s not important here.) For a good portion of my childhood I had quite a bit of difficulty with socializing. To this day a have a problem with “stimming” (or “mini-seizures” as I like to call them) as a result of sensory overload, as well as not being able to focus, for which I take a couple different medications. The former is especially bad, as people who don’t know me well will see me doing it (without me even realizing) and say something along the lines of “What’s wrong?” I know they don’t mean to be dicks, but it’s still extremely uncomfortable.
But enough about my problems. In the show, Cartman literally shoves fast food up his ass to try to get out of school. Also, Stan gets put with a bunch of people who supposedly have AS, but they act more like full-blown low-functioning autistics. Then, when no one’s around, they drop the act and tell him AS isn’t a real thing because “people aren’t so horrible that they would give a name that’s so easy to make fun of to a bunch of sensitive kids with issues” (paraphrasing here).
Through all this, I was laughing so hard that it hurt. But then a thought hit me: “Should I be offended?” I decided the answer was no. I didn’t have to take myself so seriously that I feel hurt every time someone makes a joke that could be perceived as going against myself or the things that make me who I am.
And though I admit the situation here is quite different, in my opinion, that’s what these people should do.

Mar 31, 2014 at 05:00PM EDT
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0.9999...=1 wrote:

This may not be totally on-topic, but I feel that it illustrates a point I want to make on this subject better than anything else:
A few years ago, I watched what I believe was the very first episode of South Park I ever saw. Its name? “Ass-burgers”
Yeah, you can probably guess where this is going.
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at a very young age. (I’ve recently become skeptical about this kind of identification, especially considering AS has been taken of the list of disorders by a major psychological organization, but that’s not important here.) For a good portion of my childhood I had quite a bit of difficulty with socializing. To this day a have a problem with “stimming” (or “mini-seizures” as I like to call them) as a result of sensory overload, as well as not being able to focus, for which I take a couple different medications. The former is especially bad, as people who don’t know me well will see me doing it (without me even realizing) and say something along the lines of “What’s wrong?” I know they don’t mean to be dicks, but it’s still extremely uncomfortable.
But enough about my problems. In the show, Cartman literally shoves fast food up his ass to try to get out of school. Also, Stan gets put with a bunch of people who supposedly have AS, but they act more like full-blown low-functioning autistics. Then, when no one’s around, they drop the act and tell him AS isn’t a real thing because “people aren’t so horrible that they would give a name that’s so easy to make fun of to a bunch of sensitive kids with issues” (paraphrasing here).
Through all this, I was laughing so hard that it hurt. But then a thought hit me: “Should I be offended?” I decided the answer was no. I didn’t have to take myself so seriously that I feel hurt every time someone makes a joke that could be perceived as going against myself or the things that make me who I am.
And though I admit the situation here is quite different, in my opinion, that’s what these people should do.

Mar 31, 2014 at 07:22PM EDT
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