Schadenfreude and Roseanne Barr
Yep, too much schadenfreude. On my part, that is. And I feel a bit guilty about it. But only a little bit.
I was appalled last fall by ABC’s decision to bring back the “Roseanne” show. I’ve never liked Roseanne Barr and have always considered her a rude, crude, thoroughly obnoxious human being. That may just be her schtick as an actress, but I’ve never found it funny — just offensive on every level.
And I was deeply disappointed to see the show become a huge hit. Are there really that many viewers who find her funny? Apparently there are.
But she finally went too far this week with a tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an African American and former senior advisor to Pres. Obama. Within hours ABC fired Barr and cancelled the show. The rest of the cast and crew — several hundred people by one account — were suddenly unemployed.
I think ABC executives did the right thing. But they erred in bringing her back in the first place. Her kind of humor, if you can call it that, can only exacerbate the hostility and polarization that exists in our nation today.
Sure, Barr apologized and took down the tweet. But people like her rarely apologize unless someone calls them out. They only apologize when it’s expedient and then with no intention of changing their behavior (essential in a genuine apology). Of course she offered lots of excuses, including that she was “Ambien tweeting.”
The best quote of the week soon followed:
“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
— A tweet from Sanofi, the maker of Ambien
Barr’s outrageous behavior in 1990 marked the end of her career in my book. There was nothing remotely humorous or forgivable about her screeching of the national anthem followed by crotch grabbing and spitting. Sometime after that she retreated to her (macadamia) nut farm in Hawaii, and that’s where ABC should have left her. On the nut farm.
I confess I was inappropriately gleeful to see her finally slapped down — hard — for her behavior. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, ABC’s action could signal the beginning of a return to sanity and civility in America.
Valerie Jarrett may have said it best during an interview on MSNBC: “The tone does start at the top.”