BREAKING NEWS Car of missing North Iowa man contained human remains Full Story

Samantha Bee's message was right even if her word wasn't

Many expressed outrage - some genuine, some perhaps as a political pose -- over a bad word Samantha Bee ...

Posted: Jun 1, 2018 1:52 PM
Updated: Jun 1, 2018 1:52 PM

Many expressed outrage - some genuine, some perhaps as a political pose -- over a bad word Samantha Bee called the President's daughter (and senior adviser) on air. In everyday polite discourse, it was, by most standards, an unacceptable word. And no question, in a week where a celebrity comedian, Roseanne Barr, loses her job over a racist tweet about a former top official in an earlier presidential administration, Bee was at best treading on tricky ground.

But Bee is not Barr - she is not spewing random and racist, anti-Semitic, conspiracy-theory views over years on Twitter, as Barr has, and often in the service of supporting the President's policies. Nor, let's be honest, are we living in a time of particularly polite discourse.

It's important, too, to remember that Bee is a comedian known for delivering a standup monologue which, like that of other comedians, often uses outrageous, boundary-pushing and, to some, offensive comedy to make strong points about politics. In Bee's case, though, and unlike in Barr's, these points are usually made on behalf of those harmed by this President's policies.

Which is why there's a difference between Bee and Barr. Directing a single insult, even a vulgar one, at one person, for reasons of defending the disenfranchised, as Bee did, is one thing; promoting racist beliefs, specifically calling a black person "an ape" in response to, well, nothing, is quite another.

All of which is why it's a shame that Bee's message has been largely overshadowed by debate over this single word, whether she should have used it, how and if she should be reprimanded and whether her show should be canceled.

Although she apologized Wednesday - sincerely, it seems -- for using the word about the President's daughter, in truth, perhaps the biggest problem with her calling first daughter Ivanka Trump a "feckless c***" Wednesday night on her TBS show "Full Frontal" is that the comedian undercut her own message.

The point Bee was attempting to make was that Ivanka Trump, a close presidential adviser, should be held accountable for her failure to influence her father to end his cruel immigration policies, which include separating immigrant parents from children.

As such, the overall point was valid: Sitting idly by when you're in a position to help is as bad as carrying out the actions yourself.

What sent Bee over the edge though, it seems, was Ivanka's tone-deaf tweet Sunday in which the first daughter pictured herself cuddling with her 2-year-old son Theodore, even as reports swirled that the government had lost track of some 1,500 immigrant children it had placed with sponsors in recent years.

Of course, all anyone really heard was "feckless c***!" The word is shocking. That was why Bee used it: to be provocative and impossible to ignore. She could have used a safer word. But these are not safe times.

And it's certainly not the first time Ivanka has presented herself in a particularly tone-deaf way. In January, she tweeted about "Oprah's empowering & inspiring speech" at the Golden Globes, including the hashtag #TimesUp, even as her father stood accused of sexually assaulting 20 women, which he denies. Her 2017 book, "Women Who Work," an ostensible celebration of working women, was released even as her father lobbied against equal pay. And who can forget when she used her "60 Minutes" appearance to plug her jewelry line? It seems, sometimes, like she is courting rebuke.

Both CNN and TBS are owned by Turner, a subsidiary of Time Warner. TBS said in a statement earlier Thursday that Bee's comments "should not have been aired."

"It was our mistake too, and we regret it," the network said in a statement.

The White House has responded, too, with press secretary Sarah Sanders calling Bee's language "vile and vicious," and adding that "Time Warner and TBS must demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of the administration will not be condoned on its network."

Sanders, of course, made no reference to the claim of author Michael Wolff in his book, "Fire & Fury," that President Donald Trump used the word to describe former US Attorney General Sally Yates. Or to any of the rest of the President's many misogynistic comments, including calling women pigs and describing Megyn Kelly as having "blood coming from her wherever."

But, then, he's the President of the United States and not a comedian on a cable network. Surely, Bee's offense is worse.

If, that is, you ignore the First Amendment.

The real fact of this matter is that if Ivanka Trump is going to be part of this administration and complicit with the policies that Bee and others denounce, she -- and her defenders - are going to have to be able to absorb the same level of hate it dishes out.

And, just for argument's sake, while the word "c***" is generally considered very offensive because of its strong misogynistic overtone, some literary feminists have argued that it's possibly empowering. Inga Muscio's 2002 book "C***: A Declaration of Independence," for example, traces the word back to its origins as an ancient title of respect.

It was later, naturally, taken over by men to denigrate women.

Issuing an ancient title of respect was not really what Bee was going for. But there was, undoubtedly, a quest for power in using the word to express the anger and frustration she, and so many Americans, feel.

We now live in a country so degraded and compromised - in which the rage of so many is so great -- that we're using unprintable words to describe our leaders. Let's remember that. Let's not make those words the focus when it's really the actions those words rage against with which we should take the greatest issue.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 135372

Reported Deaths: 2406
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin34290991
Ramsey14168361
Dakota9897138
Anoka8872150
Washington598672
Stearns588344
Scott342934
Olmsted327730
St. Louis302669
Wright254115
Clay232843
Nobles227616
Blue Earth20457
Carver18207
Sherburne171122
Kandiyohi17055
Rice164810
Mower152917
Winona126019
Chisago10402
Crow Wing103522
Lyon9766
Benton9509
Waseca9299
Beltrami9017
Otter Tail8737
Todd8266
Steele7613
Morrison7429
Nicollet73917
Itasca73617
Douglas7083
Freeborn6844
Polk6734
Le Sueur6315
Martin61317
McLeod6024
Goodhue59711
Watonwan5794
Becker5754
Isanti5615
Pine5490
Carlton4441
Chippewa4443
Mille Lacs41315
Hubbard3962
Dodge3940
Wabasha3840
Cass3775
Pipestone35117
Rock3404
Meeker3313
Brown3243
Unassigned29253
Yellow Medicine2856
Murray2833
Cottonwood2820
Redwood28111
Roseau2650
Fillmore2640
Renville25611
Sibley2543
Wadena2393
Faribault2350
Jackson2151
Kanabec21510
Swift2071
Houston2061
Pennington1951
Lincoln1840
Stevens1841
Aitkin1792
Koochiching1704
Pope1610
Big Stone1410
Lac qui Parle1403
Wilkin1374
Marshall1261
Lake1230
Norman1170
Mahnomen1162
Clearwater1140
Grant994
Red Lake782
Traverse570
Lake of the Woods441
Kittson420
Cook170

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116514

Reported Deaths: 1643
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19024288
Woodbury724797
Johnson586230
Black Hawk562698
Linn5591132
Dubuque521157
Scott456639
Story401018
Dallas346344
Pottawattamie324744
Sioux244716
Buena Vista226112
Marshall202036
Webster184415
Plymouth166728
Wapello153062
Clinton149226
Muscatine147758
Des Moines139610
Cerro Gordo137726
Crawford136114
Warren12617
Carroll115612
Jasper111234
Henry10675
Marion101810
Lee95610
Tama94837
Delaware78013
Dickinson7417
Wright7271
Boone7239
Mahaska69724
Bremer6779
Washington66211
Harrison65815
Jackson6333
Benton5902
Lyon5537
Clay5354
Louisa52315
Winnebago49719
Hardin4777
Winneshiek4779
Hamilton4754
Cedar4746
Kossuth4690
Poweshiek45911
Buchanan4544
Jones4474
Floyd43711
Emmet43019
Clayton4233
Iowa4109
Page4060
Mills4053
Cherokee4032
Sac3994
Guthrie39515
Cass3903
Butler3832
Fayette3814
Franklin38118
Shelby3732
Allamakee3719
Madison3623
Chickasaw3611
Clarke3523
Humboldt3253
Hancock3204
Palo Alto3142
Grundy3115
Calhoun3094
Osceola2851
Mitchell2811
Howard2709
Monroe25911
Monona2451
Taylor2432
Jefferson2391
Union2314
Appanoose2273
Pocahontas2262
Fremont2061
Lucas2056
Ida1932
Greene1870
Van Buren1802
Davis1784
Montgomery1787
Adair1701
Keokuk1611
Decatur1500
Audubon1481
Worth1450
Wayne1213
Ringgold882
Adams810
Unassigned110
Rochester
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 17°
Mason City
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 20°
Albert Lea
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Austin
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Charles City
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
Tracking plenty of sunshine through the week!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events