Left and Right PC outrage in the Trump era

griffintrump

This picture earned more than its thousand words, but it didn’t get as many laughs.

From comedians to journalists, high-profile members of the left and right found themselves in Trump-related controversy in recent weeks. The incidents provide a useful microcosm to paint a bigger picture. When the political correctness of each side is analyzed one thing is clear: the left holds its own to a much higher standard than the right does. And while liberals spend much of their time infighting, Republicans are radicalizing further rightward and running away with the country. Continue reading

Bill Maher grants professional alt-right troll a mainstream platform

milo

Among the people Yiannopoulos makes a career out of hating are poor immigrants.

A micro-controversy is bubbling in the world of liberal infotainment. Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart editor and self-described internet supervillain, was booked as a guest on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher. In protest, Jeremy Scahill, a founding editor for The Intercept, canceled his own scheduled appearance on the show. Maher responded by saying, in part, “Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill.”

Maher further explained, “If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims – and he might be – nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.” But Maher is missing the point. Exposure is precisely what Yiannopoulos craves. It doesn’t matter if he’s revealed as a full-throated Nazi and booed out of the building; he has already won. Continue reading

The good, the bad, and the ugly of PC

homerphobia

Homer covers Bart’s eyes at a gay steel mill in “Homer’s Phobia,” a classic and controversial Season 8 episode.

According to a new Pew Research poll, 40 percent of millennials think the government should censor speech that’s offensive to minorities. Millennials, roughly defined as people born between Ronald Reagan’s second term and Bill Clinton’s first, are soon to overtake Baby Boomers and Generation X as the largest percentage of the American population, making their politically correct attitudes highly influential. Not surprisingly, this has caused some controversy.

Comedians in particular have been having a rough time adjusting to millennial PC culture. Jerry Seinfeld has criticized college audiences for being overly sensitive, complaining that millennials are offended by a joke comparing swiping on a cell phone to the mannerisms of a “gay French king.” Bill Maher has been covering college students’ alleged inability to take a joke for years. South Park’s most recent season – their best in years – was dedicated largely to the issue of political correctness. Continue reading

Jerry Seinfeld confuses eye-rolling with head-shaking

Jerry Seinfeld has caught flack in the media for becoming a bit of a curmudgeon.

Jerry Seinfeld has caught flack in the media for becoming a bit of a curmudgeon.

Jerry Seinfeld is not too happy with young people. In a few recent appearances, including Late Night with Seth Meyers, the comedian bemoaned the tendency of millennials to disapprove of “politically incorrect” comedy. Using an audience’s muted reaction to a joke as his example, Seinfeld is worried hypersensitivity is damaging comedy as a profession and art form. Continue reading

Justified distrust of doctors fuels vaccine skepticism

A child receives a vaccine.

A child receives a vaccine.

In his “Jammin’ in New York” special, George Carlin holds up a glass of water and asks the audience if it’s safe to drink. An immediate, unanimous chorus of negative responses warns him that it’s not. Carlin takes a drink anyway and lets the crowd know he was only setting them up: “Everywhere I go I say, ‘How’s the water?’ Haven’t gotten a positive answer yet. …It amuses me that no one can really trust the water anymore. And the thing I like about it the most is it means the system is beginning to collapse.”

Not unlike the fear of local water, opposition to vaccines is a manifestation of the public’s growing distrust of institutions. It’s reached such heights that vaccine skeptics have been given their own derogatory nickname: anti-vaxxers. Continue reading

Harris omits crucial context from the discussion on Islamic violence

Last week on Real Time with Bill Maher, a panel featuring one of the nation’s most prominent anti-religious voices, Sam Harris, discussed radical Islam. Harris made quite a few valid points, as he often does, and so did the rest of the panel – but they all managed to leave some important context out of the discussion that is crucial to understanding the hatred and violence consuming so many in the Arab world: a century of imperialism. Continue reading