Features, Politics

Breaking the Norm

Norm Macdonald became famous as a comic who said offensive things. From blatantly calling O.J. Simpson a murderer on Saturday Night Live, to a Conan appearance where he talked about oral sex with his wife who was in a coma. We loved it. He was one of the most beloved comedians of all time and a comic’s comic. I even went back to watch that Conan clip taped in “liberal Hollywood” after a girlfriend sent it to me and noticed that the crowd went nuts. Coma sex and all.

Norm Macdonald was also just booted from The Tonight Show for… saying offensive things.

Here’s what happened.

While promoting his new, not-canceled-yet Netflix show – Norm Macdonald Has a Show – he gave an interview to the Hollywood Reporter where he said he felt sorry for Louis C.K. and Roseanne and he is happy the #metoo movement has slowed down. You can watch the whole interview here, and it’s worth pointing out that he wasn’t defending Louis C.K.’s and Roseanne’s behavior, merely asking whether it merited such severe punishment.

Weird thing to say when promoting a comedy show? Sure. Weird thing for a journalist to ask a comedian promoting a comedy show? YUP! But that’s what gets clicks nowadays. Ask someone famous to comment on an issue that is riddled with landmines and strapped to a time bomb made of other smaller time bombs and watch as this poor asshole stutters their way into a Twitter mob beat down or a show cancelation.

So why would Norm say this? Is Norm Macdonald a sexist monster who goes to bed at night praying for the health and happiness of Harvey Weinstein? I don’t think so.

Both Louis and Rosanne are very close friends of his and Roseanne was the person who gave him his first writing job. Admitting that you feel bad for people who watched their whole career disappear in a day is not a bad thing to say or think.

It shows empathy. Something that is missing in a society that wakes up to scream at strangers who disagree with them on the Internet every day.

What got Norm into trouble was saying that what Louis went through is worse than what his victims went through. That did it. The interview went live, then got retweeted, then someone else copied-and-pasted it to another blog, then someone retweeted that, and before Norm knew what had hit him he was staring into a toilet of overflowing shit muttering, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…”

Is watching your career implode in 24 hours worse than having someone masturbate in front of you? That’s an insane question! Both things are bad! Never in the history of the world has anyone been asked, “Would you rather lose your job or have the comedian who talks about his kids jerk off in front of you?” They are very different things. You can feel bad about one, both, or neither.

But is it worth canceling his Tonight Show appearance and trying to get his show canceled before it even airs? (Ironically, he said the show was purposefully not political or topical.) No! It’s worth at least one follow-up question before burning him to the ground.

When he did get the chance to respond on The Howard Stern Show he tried to clarify what he meant.

Yeah, that’s not what I was saying, when this went down with Roseanne I called her the next day and she was crying the whole time. I was worried about her. She seemed really in a bad place. I said, “I can’t talk to you about this, I’ve never been through anything like this and I know Louis and he’s been through this and has had everything taken from him…You should talk.” And [the reporter asked,] “What about the victims?” and I said, “Well, the victims haven’t gone through this.” This particular event. Of course, the victims have gone through worse than that. But am I going to get a victim to phone Roseanne?

Then, like any good comic, he doubled down and screwed up his apology by saying “you’d have to have Down Syndrome” not to feel sorry for victims of sexual abuse. Later saying he instantly knew he’d made a mistake – “It’s always bad when you have to apologize for the apology,” he said – which, by the way, is both hilarious and the politically correct way to phrase it.

Yet none of this would have happened if he didn’t have to submit to a Game of Thrones shame walk from show to show apologizing for having an opinion. Like an accused sex offender, he does the perp walk out from behind the curtains, staring down at the floor, makes his way over to a gleeful host and attempts to make amends for the sins he has brought down on himself. Speaking freely.

We now treat people who dissent from the progressive orthodoxy about certain offenses as being no different from the people who actually committed the offenses in the first place.

If you Google Norm today one of the first headlines is from Entertainment Weekly and reads, ‘A miserable Norm Macdonald goes on The View.’ Another headline is just a quote from him saying, ‘I did something unforgivable.’

Unforgivable?!? Jesus Christ! That’s what a priest says after being kicked out of a church for molesting children. (Just kidding – he would never be kicked out.) It’s not what a comedian should say after expressing an opinion. Apparently, Jimmy Fallon pulled the plug after being told that Norm’s senior producers were so upset they were crying at the thought of him being on the show. Which rightfully horrified him.

Weirdly, no one at The Tonight Show cried when Donald Trump went on the show (even though, you know, Trump’s the guy that put Mexican kids in cages) or Barack Obama (drone strikes guy). But a comic saying he feels bad for his friends? That’s really upsetting, obviously.

If Norm Macdonald went on a drunken tirade and spewed, “All the women of #metoo deserved it and what are you going do about it?! Nothing you FOOLS! I made Dirty Work! THE GREATEST COMEDY OF ALL TIME!” then blocked a door, whipped it out and started masturbating… then okay! Don’t book him on The Tonight Show to follow Jimmy Fallon juggling. But that’s not what happened. What happened was a comic was giving his opinion on his friends and that opinion doesn’t fit into the liberal mainstream talking-points bubble.

Shit, there will be people who are mad at you for sharing this article by me defending Norm, who got in trouble for defending Roseanne. I may even have to apologise myself, and then some other comic will write a piece defending me… and it will go on and on forever like a version of Groundhog Day that takes place in hell.

Now some might say it’s different because Norm wasn’t saying it in the context of making a joke. Others might say something like, “Oh my god, it wasn’t even that offensive. When did we turn into a country of babies who can’t stop shitting ourselves then rolling around in it and crying?”

But who am I to judge?

I used to get just as outraged about comedy. Not because I was actually outraged but because all of Twitter was outraged and I would have sucked dick for retweets.

I once performed an hour-long show called Jamie Kilstein Hates Standup to show how woke I was.

It was a nice safety cushion. I could act like an edgy hipster asshole, while also taking some pressure off myself in the laughter department.

“Oh you didn’t find that funny? Neither did I. I hate standup! Didn’t you read the title? IDIOT!”

The week before all of this Norm shit happened, Vulture put out an article called ‘How Funny does Comedy need to be?‘ Myself and other comics read and reacted to the piece in horror. The answer should be “Very! Very funny! All the time!” and that should be the end of the article.

As a new wave of comics who don’t rely on punchlines blow up, a lot of people are going after the old guard. There can be both. There should be both. Norm came up in dark nightclubs where the point was to be as shocking as possible. Get people to let their guard down. Laugh at things they know they shouldn’t. His off-stage persona reflects that.

Norm Macdonald is an amazing comedian. By all accounts, he’s an amazing friend as well. This started because he expressed some sympathy for two people he knew who’ve been through something most people could never imagine. Phrasing it in a clumsy way should not warrant the kind of backlash he is getting. But we have become addicted to shaming – addicted to clickbait – and it needs to stop. Let’s stop being a soundbite culture. A pile-on culture. Let’s start seeing people as people again and not Twitter icons whose lives we want to destroy. And for fuck’s sake let the comics just make jokes so we can all sit back together and laugh.

 

Jamie Kilstein is a comedian and host of the Jamie Kilstein Podcast. He has been seen on Conan, Showtime, FX, and crying over Twitter comments. He will be touring Sydney from Oct 24th till Nov 11th. Follow him on Twitter @jamiekilstein.

58 Comments

  1. You said Norm’s senior producers were too upset but it should be Fallon’s producers that were too upset. Also Trump’s Fallon appearance was during the campaign before he put any Mexicans in cages.

      • It’s too hard for some people to spend ten seconds to get the full story even by some of readers and writers at quilette. You can disagree with the policy but Obama was the first to do it. Just easier and lazier to be cool by scoring cheap points off Trump. It’s ridiculously lazy as a matter of fact if someone brings up the kids in cages thing with Trump and doesn’t know about Obama I’m skeptical of everything they write because they are nothing but bubble dwellers because the conservative media brought that to light long ago and if your interested in being fair minded to both the left and right you should know about it.

      • Nick Ender says

        It’s a joke man. It’s supposed to be outrageous sounding to draw a more ridiculous comparison.

      • puddleg58 says

        It was a joke, by a comedian. If you lack a sense of humour, you should consider becoming a progressive.

  2. ThereAreDozensOfUs says

    “The week before all of this Norm shit happened, Vulture put out an article called ‘How Funny does Comedy need to be?‘ Myself and other comics read and reacted to the piece in horror. The answer should be “Very! Very funny! All the time!” and that should be the end of the article.”

    Pretty brilliant. Quite a nice, casual departure from the usual more somber Quillette pieces.

  3. PleaseClap says

    Great article. Never thought I would see Jamie Kilstein write this.

  4. I read Quillette quite often and one thing I’ve noticed is many of the articles are written by people 40 plus – like myself. And I notice many of the books on similar subjects are written by people 40 plus.

    Its very much the older generation who are awake to the issues raised by Quillette.

    The “woke” generation are still very much asleep to what’s happening. Which is a concern as it will be their ideas which in the coming years will shape our future.

    Anyway Wikipedia tells me Jamie Kilstein is 36 – at last someone a bit younger may have woken up!

    I only more younger people will take up before its too late.

    • the younger people had us as parents. “We” have done most of the damage. Kids of today , born after 1995, have been mind fuck by us.

      • Brennen says

        I’d like to say that I’m 26 and I frequent this site. Great stuff on here. Granted, I was born three years before 1995. Also, Jamie Kilstein is awesome. The perfect person to write this article. Thanks Jamie.

      • Jorge – It’s not just the parents, but the schools and the law themselves. We wanted “free range kids,” but the law said we could not. We wanted kids to learn critical thinking and master math skills, but we got critical race theory, Marxism/equity/equality of outcome and the new math. We wanted a race/gender neutral world that loves diversity, but instead were told that western values were racist and greedy tyrannies.

        • Martin28 says

          @ david of Kirkland
          The parents have very little to do with it. My kids have been indoctrinated, slowly but surely, in the schools. It is very easy to do if you only get one side of the argument. I have done my best to give them another side, but it is not easy.

        • I can speak for myself. I don’t think we are fighting hard enough. However, I do live in a country were I will not go to jail if I let my kids walk to school….I’m just afraid to do it

    • @Paul

      Don’t forget Coleman Hughes who is probably just over 20.

      • Its good to know there’s a few of the younger generation becoming aware of the issues. We oldies certainly have to take responsibility. Till less than 5 years ago I was blind to the changes going on around me. I love Quillette but it does depress me when I read how bad things have got.

        • Martin28 says

          @ Paul
          I read an article in the Atlantic around 1991 by Dinesh D’souza. That was when The Atlantic was still a wide-ranging intellectual publication. This concerned me, but I thought the political correctness was beaten back. I was very troubled when Larry Summers was drummed out of Harvard (motto: Veritas). But nothing prepared me for what has happened in the last three years, since Ferguson.

        • mccannju says

          I’m 28 and I agree that many people my age are blind to how much of their moral posturing is driven by resentment, virtue signalling and a lack of any sense of proportion. But I’m equally downhearted about the never-ending stream of hatred, name-calling and joylessness I see in right-leaning YouTube comment sections (including under Norm’s videos. He’s my favourite comedian by the way). The right are just as eager to label people then attack the label, just as ready to dub their opponents fascists, just as hysterical about the very idea that someone might not agree with them on something. I love this website for trying to find a sane middle ground.

    • Nick Ender says

      I’m 32 and I regularly send these articles to everyone I know. And they all read Quillette too. That one black philosophy major who contributes here all the time, and was on Mr. Harris’s podcast is not even 20 I think. Don’t be too down on millennials and gen Z. Many of us are paying close attention. We’re just not in a position to contribute on a forum like Quillette. YouTube is our jam.

  5. Daniel says

    Thanks for speaking out. Love you Norm, always have. You have absolutely nothing to apologize for. Rosanne’s comment should have resulted in a “hey that’s not nice,” not losing her livelihood.

    If you’re ever in Seattle I’d pay good money to see your show. That’s unlikely though. Our city is overrun by little Nazi’s who only allow you to laugh at downtrodden conservatives.

    Lord, I miss comedy… I miss a free society too.

    • With here from Kirkland…with the far right and the far left trying to control everything through coercive groupthink, as if millions of people thinking and spending for themselves is awful and should instead be controlled by a few who will do the thinking and spending for you.

  6. This happened before guys, this has happened before. In Europe with the inquisition and later with the religious wars and in America with the puritans burning women. Puritans can take many forms: they can be Nazis looking for racial purity, Catholics burning Jews, Protestants burning catholics, Wives of polititians going after Rap lyrics, religious people whanting to ban dirty magazines, feminists wanting to ban dirty magazines,….as we say in my country, it’s always the same crap the only change are the flies.

    • You know anything about the Inquisition? Catholics didn’t “burn Jews.” See https://tinyurl.com/ydakv85s

      Anyway, this PC stuff is killing us. I think everyone should go on Twitter and tweet out something really sexist, racist, and all that sort of thing. And do so at least once a day, using the hashtag: #Basta

      • listen. I descend both from the victims and the perpetrators. In one fine day, back in 1507, 2000 jews were killed in Lisbon. Not burned, but many were children. One of our finest, Garcia de Orta, a very famous doctor and scientist, died in 1568 in Goa, his sister was killed by the inquisition in 1569, in 1580 his corpse was digged up and burned by the inquisition.I don’t apologize for the past sins of my ancestors, I wasn’t there, and the children can’t be blame for their parents’ crimes. However, history is history and the inquisition did horrid things in Iberia and thanks to it, we lost the most educated and able people, that had to leave and seek shelther elsewhere. In the end, Holand and the Turkish empire benefitted form our stupidity.

  7. Martin28 says

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that no one was hurt by either Roseanne or Louis CK—whereas they were severely hurt, shunned and shamed, their careers destroyed, earnings taken away. Only an ideological view that considers certain people oppressors and the others oppressed cannot acknowledge that. Not only that, but it shuts down and demonizes any who does acknowledge it. This view is all-consuming.

    • Jack B Nimble says

      @Martin28

      There was a time not too long ago when conservatives and Republicans got a lot of political mileage out of the idea of ‘defining deviancy down’:

      “We are getting used to a lot of behavior that is not good for us,” said Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harvard professor of education and sociology and then U.S. senator, in his celebrated 1993 American Scholar essay “Defining Deviancy Down.” The nation had been “redefining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the ‘normal’ level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard,” Moynihan wrote. Source: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-we-defined-deviancy-down-and-got-a-culture-of-violence/

      But times have changed, and we now have conservative @roddreher tweeting the following:

      In high school, I was physically bullied by 17 y.o. boys, in a sexually humiliating way (but not sex). It affected the direction of my life. They never apologized. Still, I wouldn’t hold that against them if they were nominated for the Court. They were boys. 6:47 AM – 17 Sep 2018

      I encourage readers to view a timeline of Louis C.K.’s sexual harassment incidents:

      http://www.vulture.com/2017/11/louis-c-k-masturbation-allegations-a-timeline.html

      Note in particular that he blocked some women from leaving the room while he exposed himself, forcing them to watch his sexual performance. At least he had the guts to finally admit that these widely-rumored incidents were true.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Jack B
        That is a good point, the leftists have become the small c conservatives and the Conservatives have become the liberals.
        But do remember back to the days of Bill Clinton’s lechery when Democratic women were lining up to say that ”it was just sex” and not worthy of any severe punishment. Now the same women would be prepared to hang a man who so much as looked at the cleavage of a woman who wasn’t his wife.
        Let’s face it, so many people care more about which side they are on rather than principles.
        Heather MacDOnald and others have pointed out that in fact conservatives should join in with feminists in the cause of reining in the sexual revolution. But conservatives should do it usuing conservative ideas and let feminists use their strange political ideas. It doesn’t really matter as long as the result is that men stop believing that the default answer to the question of whether a women wants sex is always yes.
        A man should be able to ask the question without any fear of reprisal if the answer is ”no”, but he should not assume the answer will be ”yes” by frcing himself upon her.
        The question is whether someone who has committed acts of assumption, as I would call them, should lose everything. I think this depends upon the scale of the acts of assumption.
        One can feel sympathy for a wrongdoer and a victim at the same time. In the case of the wrongdoer the sympathy is for the fact that if he or she hadn’t been so stupidall would have been well. This in no way denigrates the victim’s suffering. But it is a subtle point, and the Twitter mobs of the American left have never been good at nuance, because they are full of really thick people who would be better off in the Golgafrincham B Ark.
        If only Douglas Adams was around today to extract the urine out of these people.

    • Indeed. Seeing or hearing something gross, disgusting, in bad taste, in bad judgement is a slight compared to being demonized by the masses and losing jobs.

      • puddleg58 says

        I agree. I wouldn’t want my daughter to be forced to watch Louis CK pleasure himself, I wouldn’t even want her to be insulted by Roseanne Barr online I suppose, though who really cares about that, but if she was forced out of work and became a social pariah that would be at least as bad and I would fear that much worse things could then happen to her.

  8. Great article – thanks for writing. The last paragraph sums it up pretty well. “Phrasing it in a clumsy way should not warrant the kind of backlash he is getting.” Exactly! By the way, I watched the first episode of his new show (with David Spade as guest) and it was hilarious!

  9. Comedians are just folk singers, who can’t sing. No pun intended; Bob Dylan would be shamed off the stage if he were just showing up these days…

      • Martin28 says

        True, but Dylan could sing for the first 15 years of his career. He was never a great singer, but he had great technique. Then he permanently strained his voice—at least that’s my theory.

        • I read that he changed his voice for “Nashville Skyline” by quitting smoking.

  10. I’ll use another, inflammatory example. Bill Maher. 20 years ago, Politically Incorrect was one of my favorites. He tore into EVERYONE. Now? Bill is just “but Bush! ” and “OMG TRUMP!” because if he did some of the stuff he did as “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” he wouldn’t have a show. He still slips occasionally when he talks about Radical Islam, but the lynch mob is quick to descend so he flips back onto the progressive approved script.

    I think THAT is actually the reason why Donald Trump is the current President. You finally had someone who would say the stuff that is now verboten. The fasci-progs could call him Hitler, Nazi, KKK…it doesn’t matter. He won’t change saying things very blunt the same way Bill Maher used to before he became Mr. Prog so I can have a livelihood! This is what comics like Norm and Rosanne are now forced to do. Tim Allen is under pressure to do the same. Forget Eddie Murphy Raw! Chris Rock’s bit about the Internet as a Mall. Even Leftist Amy Schumer made a joke about 5 years ago about leaving her Hispanic boyfriend because she preferred her sex to be consensual — imagine the outrage and horror at that joke, what? You’re calling all immigrants rapists?!?!?! Uh, no..it’s a JOKE! No different than the hyperbolic, “these gold diggers throw themselves at you to the point you could grab them by the p*ssy and they’d let you” type of remark.

    • The only downside of your view is that you pretend that Trump is actually ready and able to do the job. His lack of any government experience shows he has zero credentials, like making me CEO of Bayer. He has no foreign policy expertise, no domestic policy expertise, and has in fact shared almost zero policies whatsoever. And he cannot accept reality and panders to ignorant people.
      Presumably nobody would think Bill Maher is right to be president.

      • TarsTarkas says

        And how good a job have the people running the US were doing these past few decades, with all their credentials and degrees and prestigious awards? I certainly wouldn’t call it good (unless you’re one of them). Sorry, but credentials do not equal ability or competence, especially when it comes to government, where failure is rewarded with promotion and gross incompetence and outright fabrication with praise and pay raises (look up EPA advisor John C Beale to see a poster child of the latter).

        Trump may have had zero experience running a government, but he had plenty of experience running large organizations in hostile economic conditions (try having the Mafia and the governments of NY State and City telling you what to do), weeding out the incompetent, and getting things done. I don’t like the man or his mouth and his fast and loose way with the truth, I wouldn’t loan a nickel to him considering his track record with contractors, but he was voted POTUS to change the direction of this country, and that he is doing and for the better. It is his enemies who cannot accept reality, who are ignorant of what their policies were doing to ordinary Americans, who believe themselves to the be the anointed ones destined by the arc of history to rule over the masses for their own good (‘their’, of course, being themselves).

      • Charlie says

        When it comes to foreign policy hardly any western leader has worked overseas. Churchill had more overseas experience than all the USA and UK leaders combined in the last 20 years. The last western leaders not to be hoodwinked were Thatcher and Reagan.

        If one read records of the 1920s and 30s large numbers of educated people supported Stalin and Hitler. They received least support from the craftsmen/skilled working class . I would suggest that a humanities degree tends to indicate poor judgement and a lack of common sense. Orwell and Churchill recognised the threat from the Communist and Nazis and neither went to university. Being employed in factory or seeing active service in the army is going to provide far better insight into human character and how the World works than a humanities degree.

      • ga gamba says

        Meanwhile, the sum of Hillary’s legislative accomplishments is she introduced 417 pieces of legislation of which… brace yourselves… three became law. Three for 417 isn’t the best slugging percentage, but perhaps each of these three were metaphorical game seven winning grand slam home runs at the bottom of the ninth inning. End threat of nuclear war? Peace in the Holy Land? Poverty eradicated? Manspreading ceased?

        1) S.3145 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
        A bill to designate a portion of United States Route 20A, located in Orchard Park, New York, as the “Timothy J. Russert Highway”.

        2) S.3613 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)
        A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2951 New York Highway 43 in Averill Park, New York, as the “Major George Quamo Post Office Building”.

        3) S.1241 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)
        Kate Mullany National Historic Site Act. Establishes the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy, New York.

        https://www.congress.gov/member/hillary-clinton/C001041?q=%7B%22sponsorship%22%3A%22sponsored%22%2C%22bill-status%22%3A%22law%22%7D

        Now, lemme tell ya about her career on Walmart’s board of directors…. she named things there too.

        Clinton was one of the most over-rated candidates ever. She was great at creating the perception of accomplishment because she had a number of people on team lady parts happy to big her up to shatter that ceiling, but in reality she was an empty (pant)suit.

      • Political Hysterian says

        I have researched Donald Trump extensively, from sources who have known him personally for decades, former employees, et al. There is a wealth of information on him if one goes looking.

        In his singular way, Trump is as qualified for the US presidency as one can be. His credentials are spectacular.

        Trump has been deeply involved in politics since he was in his twenties, and also as a developer of large construction projects (such projects are inherently political). He’s met every president who wasn’t already dead, among innumerable other political figures. The first person to suggest Trump run for president was Richard M Nixon in 1987, who said after meeting him, “Your boy’s got IT.” He’s been planning to run for president at least 25 years. He was inches from running for president twice before but decided it wasn’t quite time. He almost ran for New York mayor several times.

        He reads 4 international newspapers front to back with breakfast and can speak expansively on any topic of national and international relations.

        Also, speaking from my expertise, I can point out that Trump has said words and phrases in his TV appearances and impromptu discussions (that is, not written for him by others) that are distinct and obviously drawn from some of the most influential works on politics of our time, books with which I am very familiar. I have good reason to suspect the man is a broad reader in political and social theory, but hides his erudition. Recall he graduated from an Ivy League school with a degree in economics.

        “No political experience” is not equivalent to “not running for public office.” I don’t believe Henry Kissinger has ever been elected to public office.

        Trump reportedly enjoys feeding the misperception of his simplicity and ignorance. Confidants say it’s a game for him. He makes a point of speaking in public using short words, short sentences, and often repeating himself so that the 100-IQ man gets everything he says and feels he’s relatable (in sharp contrast to, say, Barrack Obama).

        A neighbor who grew up with Trump in his upper middle class neighborhood in Queens said that that as a young teenager Trump would seize every opportunity to talk with workers who would come out to fix power lines and sewers and the like. He seems to have deliberately cultivated a connection to the working man’s mind since he was very young.

        Trump throws out crumbs to nurture his image as a neanderthal. He asked Bill Gates, “Is HIV the same as HPV?” Gates sneered at him publicly for this comment later, which is what Trump wanted by all accounts, giving Trump anti-global elitist street cred.

        Being dumb is easy. Being smart is harder. Hardest by far is to be so smart you can make people think you’re dumb while making smart moves and punting their posteriors up between their shoulder blades. Sun Tzu said there is no greater strategic advantage than to have your enemy underestimate you. I believe Donald Trump read that book, too. More than once.

        I don’t mean to suggest you can’t dislike the man if you choose, or disagree with him. Of course you may. I only point out you may not be disliking him. You may be disliking an image of him he has crafted and tricked CNN into beaming into our homes for a while now.

  11. To be fair; it’s more like asking which is worse: your kids being put in a situation where a famous mentor asks to masturbate in front of them OR that famous mentor losing his job after being called out for doing that to kids. Your article makes good points, but you framed that question oddly.

  12. I went to the tremendous ordeal of reading 4321 of Paul Auster. A boomer. If they book is accurate about the times it portraits, it means progressives have been calling conservatives Nazis and the like at least since the 60’s . Paul Auster is a great writer but he never misses a change to decry the “money makers”. Progressives hate normal, decent people. Eventually society became habituated to the name calling, in a world that all conservatives are racist, bigots, chauvinists, etc Trump shows up, and the name calling has no effect.

  13. DiamondLil says

    It is interesting to me that I and every Game of Thrones fan I have talked with (or read) hates Cersei and knows how bad she is, yet invariably came to hate the High Sparrow even more. The #MeToo mobs are turning into the High Sparrow.

  14. figbean says

    “suck dick for retweets” – bet you will be called homophobic for that one.

  15. Itzik Basman. says

    Good piece.

    It’s still amazing to me that these things need to be said.

  16. Paper Pusher says

    I get the feeling there’s a lot of fear in the entertainment industry these days. Fear of offending the public Fear of activists. Fear of social media mobs. Fear of the media. Fear of offending any of the people who hold your career in their hands. Mouthy leftists even have to fear other mouthy leftists, as the battle between Susan Sarandon and Debra Messing last week demonstrated. Comedians in particular are vulnerable because it’s their job to “go there.” Even the relatively clean ones. They’re running up against an idea that words–jokes–are just as if not more harmful than beating, shooting, or stabbing someone. That a simple ha ha could drive a person into deep emotional distress, even suicide. Today people have a weird idea that they should be free of any distress or negative emotion yet they are distressed all of the time.

    So late night t.v., once the domain of people who made fun of everybody and a showcase for up and coming comedy talent, has turned into televangelism for the “resist” crowd and comedy has become “post” comedy where you give TED talks about your personal pain instead of telling jokes.

  17. david of Kirkland says

    Moral outrage rarely results in morality. It typically piles on the offense.
    Sex is funny because every person has sex organs (well, nearly everyone); sex is required for the species to survive, but we make it taboo and feel offended if a breast or butt is touched. Those are just fat and muscle under skin. While it’s gross to have Louis jerk off in front of me, I’d be more inclined to try to videotape it than feel like a victim who had to “survive” it.
    Being called a racist name is offensive, but sticks and stones baby…
    The idea of being insulted or seeing someone jerk off is the same as losing your career is mental and moral masturbation at best.

    • Martin28 says

      Not the same, David. the zealots maintain that being insulted or seeing someone jerk off is infinitely worse than losing your career. Because only people who are oppressed can be harmed, and no one can understand their pain.

  18. I missed this story (Twitter outrage) as i’m in the UK (where this Norm dude isn’t very well known) and have so far resisted Twitter and most of social media. I totally understand the article though and all it says about modern society. Good job, Jamie.

  19. Farris says

    Im probably too old to be commenting on this topic. I confess I do not understand looking to be offended. Allowing (yes you are allowing them to offend you, you are choosing to be hurt by words) others to offend you cedes power to the offender. Like most, plenty of people have tried to insult me. Big deal. Who are they? Nothing to me. But I will tell you who they are not; they are not big enough to offend me.

  20. Norm is also a pretty open non-liberal. He had a good quip on the CBC that “Trump is the best thing to happen to bad comedians in a long time…” And then you are reminded of all the cheap, unfunny Trump jokes going around on Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, etc. That’s another reason he isn’t political on his show. It has no staying power.

  21. Travis Mitchell says

    As has been said before, comedians these days have nothing to do with comedy. They’re stand-up activists/virtue-signallers. The entertainment industry is quite cowardly. David Letterman called him the funniest comedian working now. Good for Dave that he’s retired before all this nonsense.

  22. Shecky says

    The brilliance of Hannah Gadsby is in convincing an audience of paying customers that they’re bad people for expecting the comedian on stage to make them laugh. Everyone agrees that she is simply the funniest thing since sliced bread.

  23. jimhaz says

    It is interesting that, generally speaking, females bully in a different way to men. Females ostracise and don’t easily forgive, males fight and often easily forgive.

    As females obtain more power this sort of Mean Girls social media outrage may become unbearable for males (or masculine minded people – non-emotion or objective based thinkers). At present it is distressing and highly irritating, not unbearable (unless you are one of the ones being bullied for some micro verbal mistake).

    The people we need to be Mean Girls to are the CEOs that rollover whenever something negative appears in social media – with the push for quotas on boards and in politics things may get worse.

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