The brouhaha over Rosanne Barr's racist attempt at humor has brought home an important point. For most of us, there are consequences to our actions.
Comedy can be tricky. Humor often treads that fine line between what's funny and what's hurtful or offensive. Often, jokes shouldn't and can't be taken literally.
But racial and religious jokes can cross over that fine line, even if that wasn't the joketeller's intent. It looks like Rosanne's joke -- which, to me, wasn't even funny -- provoked a lot of anger and disgust, even among castmates on her show. One of the producers and writers, Wanda Sykes, announced she would quit the show. Actor Sara Gilbert, who plays Rosanne's daughter on the show, put out a statement that she was upset by the joke and that it didn't reflect the beliefs of her, her castmates and the crew. Rosanne's agent - powerhouse ICM - said they were dropping her as a client.
Rosanne apologized, but it was too late. The nasty cat was out of the bag and ABC, tossing finances to the side, announced Rosanne's show is being cancelled. It's been a ratings leader for ABC, but the network has to consider other people that it works with and relies on -- producers, writers, actors, crew and, oh yes, the audience at home.
The whole episode shows that for most of us, there are consequences to what we say and what we do. Words do matter.
We saw this as the #MeToo movement has taken hold, where seemingly innocent or harmless jokes go awry and cause people to lose their jobs or, as in the case of Al Franken, their Senate seat. And many people who had been taking advantage of their positions of power have been rightfully taken down.
But it makes me wonder how one person, who should be a role model, has continuously gotten away with racist, mysogenist and religious slurs on Twitter and in public, with seemingly no consequence.
I'm talking about the President of the United States.
He has slurred entire races (Black, Asian, Latino), religions (Muslims), continents (Africa), nations, people with disabilities, Americans alarmed about Russian interference in our elections, important government institutions (the FBI and CIA, the Dept. of Justice, individual judges) and other institutions that help make and keep us a free nation (the free press). And instead of "draining the swamp," as he promised, he has made it deeper and murkier, illegally and immorally enriching himself, his family and his super-rich cronies.
There seems to be a whole group of Americans who think none of his actions and statements should have consequence. He can say whatever he wants, call anyone names, and tell lie after lie, take actions that enrich himself and his family, and nothing happens. No call for censure from Congress. It's just business as normal.
It is not normal, though. Many of us feel that way and continue to be upset at how this man makes our great nation look small and petty in the eyes of the world.
Hopefully there will be consequences in November, when some of those who have supported him and allowed him to run roughshod over decency and decorum get thrown out of office. There must be consequences for bad things, whether words or actions.
There must be consequences.