Sure! I mean, no? But sure. Like, you can totally NOT be offended by the things that Tracy Morgan said and that makes sense. Not everyone is offended by everything. But your own non-offense doesn’t negate or invalidate other people’s offense? (I know that he kind of says as much, but then he goes on to kind of take it back. He later tweets that anyone with reason knew that Tracy didn’t mean a single thing he said, which is both condescending and unrealistic.) Also: no one, not one person, is saying that everything needs to be right and balanced and fair. That’s the old anti-political correctness trope, which is and has always been nonsense. There is no such thing! People say horrible shit that is hilarious all the time, it is really not a problem. Louis C.K. is one of those people! But that doesn’t mean it is pro forma hilarious every time someone says horrible shit, even when those people have been hilarious for saying horrible shit in the past. We must always walk that line sometimes slipping over it and then refinding it again, and there is nothing particularly dangerous or harmful to a free and open society in being asked to occasionally re-examine where that line is to be found. Oh, but here is one final thing:
The most grating thing, I think, in Louis’s line of defense here is the “he was on a comedy stage not a pulpit.” Sure. I don’t think anyone thought or has suggested that people were walking out of Tracy Morgan’s Nashville show thinking “we need to elect Tracy Morgan and have him murder gay people.” But I also think it is time for people to start admitting that what they say matters. This is the classic Jon Stewart dilemma. Once a year, he goes on The O’Reilly Factor or Crossfire or whatever and he lets everyone have it, which is great, but while he lets everyone have it, he himself hides behind the “I’m just a comedian and my show should not be taken seriously” shield. That is a dumb shield and it is full of holes! Because no one cares more about what Jon Stewart has to say than Jon Stewart himself. That’s not a criticism in any way. I am just saying, let’s all own up to both our opinions as well as our hard-earned place in the conversation. Yes, Jon Stewart is a comedian, yes, The Daily Show is a comedy show, yes that means that it needs to be judged by very different criteria than anything on CNN or FOX News or any other ostensibly fact-based outlet. But that doesn’t mean that Jon Stewart isn’t working very hard to make sure people listen to what he has to say and take some of it to heart. One of the main reasons he and his show are successful is because he clearly has strong and thoughtful convictions about so many of the issues of which he makes light. Good! That’s a good thing! But so don’t pretend like it doesn’t matter or is trivial or unimportant or that it is somehow beside the point as soon as someone who disagrees with you dares to argue back. Louis C.K. of all people has built his comedy career on exploring the painful realities of marriage, fatherhood, racism, death, etc. He makes fun of very dark things a lot of the time, and when you watch his stand up you can tell that he cares very deeply about his thoughts and feelings on these issues. Again, this is a good thing, and it’s what makes him such a compelling and great comedian. And I think that if someone were to say “hey, I don’t think what you said was funny and I was offended,” he could, not that he would, but he could give them a very detailed and explicit argument about why they were wrong. In reality, he would probably just say “fuck you, I don’t care, you’re right, go to bed” but he could back it up if he felt like it because he knows what he’s doing and he believes in it. Isn’t that why people pick up the microphone in the first place? To be heard? More importantly: to be heard LOUDER than people without the microphone?
In closing: fart noise.