On his show last night, American satirical comedian Stephen Colbert responded to demands from an Asian-American activist that his show be cancelled because his satire schtick mentions Asians among other segments of America he faux-lampoons. See the segment below.
Keep in mind that Colbert plays a faux conservative TV commentator, so everything he says is pretty much the opposite of the point he’s really trying to get across. He’s basically a big liberal, at heart.
While Colbert’s O’Reilly-ish character “apologized,” it wasn’t really an apology. He pretty much ended up mocking the mockers, and good for him.
“Who would have thought a means of communication limited to 140 characters would ever create misunderstandings?”
In this case, Colbert was mocking the Washington Redskins’ attempt to appease the Native American community’s ire over the team’s name, and he compared it to the controversy he created when he tried to appease the Asian-American community by creating the “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”
Colbert’s point was clearly to suggest that the Redskins’ response was inappropriate, as was the faux- Asian-American “foundation” his faux-character faux-created. But nothing is clear on the Internet, where everyone is empowered, even if they really can’t handle the truthiness.
So, naturally, someone claimed that the joke was racist (and then proceeded to use racist and sexist arguments to “prove” why the bit was racist – the activist who started this has a penchant for invoking evil “truths” about all “white people” and especially all “white men”), and started an effort to have the show canceled (she created the hashtag #cancelcolbert), even though the joke was skewering racism, and even though Colbert has been one of the strongest forces of progressive good in America of the past decade.
Who can forget how Colbert destroyed George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner back in 2006, when it still wasn’t entirely kosher in America to attack Bush-the-hero? Here’s the video of Colbert’s performance going after Bush. It’s a classic.
Well, Colbert has finally responded to the Redskins-controversy-controversy with a ten-minute segment on last night’s show. Colbert announced the sad news that he’s closing down the “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” His segment was great, and he really doesn’t back down. At one point, he notes that ultra-conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, who is herself Asian-American, helped feed the flames:
“I learned everything I know about sensitivity to the Asian-American experience from reading [Michelle Malkin's] 2004 book ‘In Defense of Internment’.”
Here’s how Colbert ends the segment:
“Well folks, that ends that controversy. I just pray that no one ever tweets about the time I said Rosa Parks was overrated, that Hitler had some good ideas, or ran a cartoon during Black History Month showing President Obama teaming up with the Ku Klux Klan. Because man, that sounds pretty bad out of context.”
In the end, what really matters is that, as a result of this brouhaha, no one is paying attention anymore to the controversy over the Redskins’ name. But they have learned the important lesson that sometimes it just isn’t worth trying to help on a civil rights issue.
The faux-Colbert couldn’t be prouder.