It’s not surprising much of the discussion surrounding Samantha Bee’s deliberately offensive monologue has been lacking. Many of our national dialogues these days transform almost immediately into monologues of grievance, offense, and virtue-signaling. There was more in Bee’s monologue than meets the eye, and it ought to have been discussed. We’ll get to that.
First though, let’s get the whole Bee vs Barr vs the NFL (yes, NFL) out of the way. It took the NFL a year or more to do it, but they finally implemented policy regarding player conduct during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games. It’s a common sense policy that should’ve been a no brainer last football season. Players will take the field and stand for the anthem. If players would prefer to take a knee, they can remain in the locker room and take a knee there or their team can pay a fine. The critical component to understand is this: NFL players are employees of their team and the NFL. In the same way the behind-the-counter staff at your local fast food joint isn’t permitted to engage in politically themed protest while on the clock, NFL employees too must save their personal political theater for their own time – not company time.
So enter from stage right: Rosanne Barr. On her own time – not on ABC’s – she pushed a deliberately offensive Tweet. It was a stupid choice of words. It was stupid that she tweeted it out. She’s been around the block a few times so she knew it would attract attention – that after all, is why she tweeted it – but she didn’t appreciate the firestorm that would ensue. (Or maybe she did. Rosanne Barr in 1990 delivered a horrendous rendition of the national anthem). Rosanne Barr tweeted on her own time, not ABC’s, and her show was cancelled as a result.
Then there is Samantha Bee. By now, everyone is familiar with her use of the “c” word. There was more than that in her monologue though. Forget about the “c” word. Forget about the first part of Bee’s opening monologue. What else did she say? It makes the “c” word pale in comparison.
Samantha Bee implored Ivanka Trump to put on something low cut and tight, and use her sexuality to appeal to her father.
That’s right. In the age of #MeToo, an allegedly pro-woman comedian on a left-leaning network suggested a woman check her brain at the door and instead pimp herself out to a man. One wonders, how many young starlets when invited to meet Harvey Weinstein were instructed to wear something low cut and tight to appeal to Harvey.
Samantha Bee took it beyond #MeToo territory, though. Bee suggested Ivanka pimp herself out to her own father. That’s right. Samantha Bee suggested an incestuous quality to Donald and Ivanka Trump’s relationship. It would be terrific if that’s all there was to this, but there is more.
Samantha Bee made her statement as an employee of Turner Broadcasting. It wasn’t a random statement either. A staff of writers concocted her monologue. They tested each part of it, from “feckless c—” to the part about the low cut and tight attire. There were probably other things floated but that ultimately didn’t make the final cut. Once they had the monologue down on paper and programmed into teleprompters, additional staff crafted visuals to go along with it.
To top things off, as Bee read her monologue off teleprompters, her studio audience dutifully cheered when the “applause” signs illuminated, their Pavlovian response was scripted into the monologue too as a technique to show popular support for the words coming out of Samantha Bee’s mouth. Who would have thought, in the age of the #MeToo movement, all of this would be given a pass?
That’s the discussion we should have had.
Image: Screen shot: CNN; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4QgdZ3eIis