This study investigated biased message processing of political satire in The Colbert Report and the influence of political ideology on perceptions of Stephen Colbert. Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy. Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert’s political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism. Finally, a post hoc analysis revealed that perceptions of Colbert’s political opinions fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and individual-level opinion.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Villago Delenda Est
They are, indeed, MORANS.
Every last one of the twits.
You have got to be Fn’ kidding me.
@OzarkHillbilly: You said it better than I. I read the post shaking my head, and thinking wtf.
This study is what convinced me that American conservatism is closer to a pathology then an ideology
I can no longer distinguish between satire and true shit when it comes to the right wing.
Remember way back when, Tom DeLay posted a Colbert skit to his website. They truly thought he was being straight.
Stephen Colbert will have something to say about this, or at least I hope he does.
Then there are those who find his shtick to be one-note and long past its sell-by date, and pay no attention to Colbert whatsoever.
A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
exprssesed with bars musical rather than error.
They have the opposite view of Jesus.
Jack the Second
I suppose we should be less surprised that people can’t detect satire online.
This is not surprising given that “Red Dawn” is their “Citizen Kane.”
Another Holocene Human
Archie Bunker effect. A known known.
ot: could Christie and Corzine end up in the slammer together? I mean, same prison and all?
Sad that a person can’t see the full study without a subscription.
In the meantime, such mixed public reactions to The Colbert Report mean that his possibly becoming David Letterman’s replacement would be really … weird. Word is that if such a thing happened, he’d drop his Colbert Report persona, and the guy’s a lefty. Shock and awe on the part of conservatives who thought he actually meant all that.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@NotMax: Huh. I think he’s gotten better with time. YMMV and all that. I’m seeing on the tubes that he’s CBS’s first choice to replace Letterman. I’d be surprised if he gave up the unique thing he’s created for himself.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Max is not the only thing he is not
Years ago, when Jon Stewart was fresh and Colbert was just part of his show, we tried to get my republican sister in law to watch. She fell asleep during it. She just couldn’t see what was so funny about it. I think one of the issues she had was that everything they were making fun of was, to her, perfectly normal. Their shtick was holding up right wing memes and speakers to the light and then just kind of standing back and pointing and laughing. Well, if you didn’t have a problem with right wing ideas or speakers it was like watchign some stoned jerk repeat ordinary phrases and then say “yuk yuk, amirite?” Of course that was in the same period when I had a bumper sticker that said “four more wars” –the implication being that voting for Bush would be not just four more years but four more wars. My oh-so-christian sister lin law actually asked me straight out “what’s wrong with that?”
c u n d gulag
@Villago Delenda Est:
I don’t know if you can say that ALL of them are morons.
But, I can guarantee you, that ALL of them suffer from an “Irony Deficiency!”
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@BGinCHI: and An American Carol is their “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Now don’t everybody start ragging on IAWL. Think back to the first time you saw it.
I just looked up An American Carol to see if that was the right title. Gary Coleman plays a character named “Bacon Stains Malone”, Kelsey Grammer’s wife is credited as “I Gave Up an Asslift For This”, and there are five or six credits for “Plantation Singer”. I think that movie may be far, far worse than I suspected.
Colbert has conservatives poe-ing themselves.
Be fair, guys! This study is from 2009. So the show had only been on the air for… uh… four years.
I recind my protest.
Conservatism is beyond satire.
See, this is why CancelColbert was a thing, because his shtick might make liberals laugh, but it doesn’t actually challenge conservatives (and might even make them more comfortable with their bigotries). He’s a national program and household name now, he can’t just think about what’s funny for a specific demographic, and has to understand the larger impact he can and does have. And when it comes to just randomly citing anti-Asian bigotries because they’re ridiculous (at least, that’s the claim with the tweet), we have to acknowledge all the people chuckling over it because they think the joke is “haha Asian people”.
White liberals don’t have a right to satire that supercedes people of color’s right to safety and security, sorry.
There is none so blind, I guess, as those who will not see.
Oh c’mon! If DougJ has taught me anything (and he has), it is to love the fact that conservatives can no longer distinguish between their ideology and a parody of their ideology. Find the pleasure!
@TR: God knows that’s the truth. I don’t see how the Onion stays in business. The stuff conservatives say absolutely straight is way loonier than the even most comics can manage. That’s why Tina Fey could imitate Palin so well. Fey just read the interview transcripts.
@Thursday: I was just going to say that the age of the study makes me wonder if you’d still get the same results. Also, abstracts are notoriously not helpful.
Edit – I found the complete paper – http://www.democracynow.org/resources/63/263/The_Irony_of_Satire.pdf
Well, just look at the Newsmax headlines– Ben Carson, Peggy Noonan, Dick Morris are authoritative experts on everything. One could plausibly conclude that the joke, such as it is, is on us.
@gorram: You made no sense there. Seriously. None.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
@gorram: Uhm, yeah. By which I mean, no.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
Colbert really needs to jump into the 2016 GOP primaries.
I thought this was well known. Early in the days of the show, there was an interview with Rush Limbaugh’s neice (Or some similar family member). She was remarking how Stephen’s show is not that different from Rush’s.
(1) Isn’t that study by some pointy-headed liberal ELITE?
(2) So conservatives lack empathy, compassion for those outside their immediate peer group, and a sense of irony, and are easily motivated by fear and rage.
It is a different brain.
@Villago Delenda Est: It is to laugh. Or cry. depending on my mood. Since I had to work on this Saturday, I’m gonna go with cry
You sell Tina Fey somewhat short there: Fey also made up some hilarious shit that was so much in the style, as it were, that people often think it was Palin who said it.
I actually don’t have a problem with people complaining about the tweet — by taking that section of the sketch out of context, it let the anti-Asian slur stand on its own and subverted Colbert’s point that it’s pretty racist to use a racist slur like “Redskins” in the name of your foundation that’s supposedly to benefit the people you’re slurring.
But people who think Stephen Colbert should be punished because a Comedy Central PR guy pulled Colbert’s joke out of context and tweeted it either don’t understand how the entertainment industry works, or they want Colbert fired for other reasons and are grabbing any excuse to get it done.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
What I’ve read is that he’s ready to jump. Personally, I think Colbert is America’s greatest satirist since Mark Twain. I’ll enjoy him getting more viewers and more freedom to do other stuff.
Wouldn’t surprise me. He’s been doing his thing for a while now, and it would be a much bigger stage.
You do understand that Colbert never had anything to do with the joke, right? That it was a tweet by some Comedy Central media intern or something?
Either way, that might have been the stupidest outrage of the week, which was a week that saw plenty of challengers to that throne.
The Very Revered Crimson Fire of Compassion
Yeah, I watch Colbert with my mom, because she only adds to the hilarity. She constantly questions whether he’s serious or not – most of the time she just can’t tell, because he too often lands quite close to Fox News. She can tell that it’s over the top, but she can’t tell if it’s in the Glenn Beck way or not.
She’s seen his show on and off for years now. I’ve told her countless times that he’s a flaming liberal. She still can’t reliably sort it out.
Yes, I agree. He’s a genius and, I’m sure, the same old thing gets old after a while. This would be a huge opportunity and I hope he takes it. And pounds that smug elf, Jimmy Fallon, into the ground.
Normally I lurk, but I am going to take this occasion to say that you magnificent bastard like commentators have been a time suck like you could NOT believe. I go down the rabbit hole on some epic threads and the day passes very nicely. Delenda, Aimie and others I can’t think of right now have got me through some very slow days. Oh, I learn something new every day so I got that going for me
This is how Colbert got the gig hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2006 — the minions who sheltered the Dauphin man-child in his ideological bubble of unreality thought Colbert was a safe right-wing hack.
Colbert proceeded to call the most powerful people in the world stupid assholes right to their faces, veiled in a way that they didn’t even realize it was happening. Very gutsy.
@Mnemosyne: Eh, all I’m saying here is that we can make media that pretends that there aren’t conservative audiences that react to it (and that their reactions have further effects, mostly felt by people who are not White, not straight, not men, not cisgender, etc), or we can put stuff out at the national level that anticipates and understands that. The tweet obviously is an example of that, but so is Colbert’s original segment (albeit in a different way).
I didn’t say we should cancel Colbert, and if you actually read what Suey Park has said, neither did she. It’s an inflammatory hashtag, never heard of those before? This assumption of bad faith here is telling about how receptive many Colbert’s White liberal fans are to being told that the politics they supposedly espouse should possibly come before their entertainment in this specific context.
It’s not uncommon for people my age to talk about how awesome it would be for Colbert to be president (and heck, something along those lines was said upthread). There are more than a few “brogressive” types where I think it’s not just fair but necessary to ask whether they want the actual Stephen Colbert to be president or his persona to be. More than a few want the latter, I suspect, because it’s a way to get the same sort of bigotries into power, but with an automatic defense of “it’s satire”. I see the argument around CancelColbert as being about establishing that that portion of his audience exists, is significantly large, and is a problem for people of color (among other marginalized groups), not about necessarily demanding that his show be canceled.
That gig is still the funniest, truest and best thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I watch it at least once a year, just to get the tingle up my leg.
Why not comment regularly and completely throw your life away like the rest of us?
Actually, that was brilliant beyond words. It takes some real guts to go out there with the very material that conservatives took seriously just a few days earlier and with just a slight change in delivery turn it into comedy – and do it live, with no chance of recovery. I’m sure there are other comedians that could pull that off, but I don’t know many that would try. If anyone questioned whether Tina Fey is a straight up comedic genius, that skit should have sealed it.
@aimai: See, that leads right into the bit that I found most astonishing:
It’s one (stupid) thing to think Colbert’s for real, but to think it’s for real AND think it’s funny? I’ll add “humor” to the list of words that conservatives use without knowing what they mean (speech, patriotism, law, responsibility, truth, country …)
@geg6: It’s literally a verbatim quote from his show. He did have something to do with it. It makes sense to separate how the tweet had no context for a joke other than “haha Asians” and wasn’t created by Colbert and his writers themselves, but the original segment made that tweet and the reaction it represents from Colbert’s audience possible.
@Baud: The “these peeps are so smart” factor is red lining most days. Which is odd because in RL you wouldn’t find a more arrogant person than me.
It should go down in the all-time history books written about US political satire.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I hope it doesn’t come down that way. Ellen DeGeneres is a better fit for Letterman’s slot. Colbert’s problem is that is just too damn good at what he does and I can’t see him dropping back into himself and being the goofy late-night host.
@The Very Revered Crimson Fire of Compassion: Wow, believe it or not Suey Park isn’t the only person who thought there was an issue with the segment! Wow! It’s almost like that hashtag trended for a reason other than people making fun of it!
(The irony that I’m saying Colbert and his fans, who I consider myself to be one of, need to think about the impact of our actions specifically when racism and sexism are involved, is getting responses that imply I could only possibly be a woman of color who’s opinion is to be discounted, because there’s no racism or sexism that attracts people to the show is… something else.)
I’ve heard of them, but usually from people like Park’s new best friend Michelle Malkin. And usually they don’t claim they were just kidding later on.
Here’s the thing: it’s very difficult to make an inflammatory statement like #CancelColbert and then try to claim that you were just trying to talk about the issues. Because once you inflame people — especially people like Twitchy’s readers — it’s really hard to calm them down again.
I don’t accept “I was just kidding — can’t you take a joke?” from conservatives, and I’m not sure why I’m supposed to accept that excuse just because someone is ostensibly on the left.
Then why use the word “cancel”? Why rally up the troops to demand that Colbert be punished for something he didn’t do? If you have to spend a week complaining that you created a Twitter storm demanding that Colbert be canceled but you didn’t mean it literally, you did a piss-poor job of communicating your thoughts.
Mike in NC
I’m hoping I can find the entire thing on YouTube. It was a thing of beauty.
You libtard, you obviously can’t see that Colbert is a TRUE conservative like he says, cause you’re a libtard.
Of course you have to put aside his donations and campaigning for demoncrat candidates and sitting next to FLOTUS at a recent state dinner. But that’s all done just to throw off you and your fellow libtards from the real TRUTH.
Can you explain what your issue was with the segment? Not the tweet — which is what Park herself claims was the problem — but the segment?
Colbert pointed out that using a racial slur like “Redskins” in the name of a foundation that claims to help Native Americans would be like him using a racial slur against Asians in the name of a foundation that claims to help Asian Americans. Please articulate what the problem is with that construction.
Nah. It’s just satire, like Colbert.
@gorram: Look, we’re all racist and sexist. All of us. And people that insist they are neither are only proving that they are completely useless arbiters of what constitutes racism and sexism. It’s wish fulfillment of the highest order.
The only way you can tackle this is by shining a light on our behaviors and leading us collectively in the right direction (knowing we’ll never reach the destination). So you have to safely cross these lines in order to get anywhere.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@? Martin: She’s another candidate I’d like to see replace Letterman, in part because I imagine/hope that she (and Colbert) would do something different with the talk show format. I have no idea what, but that’s one of the many reasons I’m not in the running. Also, I doubt Les Moonves wants to see the format changed.
Now I”m the one having trouble distinguishing between satire and reality
@Mnemosyne: Hope this works. I am completely link ignorant. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/03/a-oppressive-white-privileged-hetero-normative-look-at-suey-parks-squirrel-interview/
@Mnemosyne: Everything I’ve read has said that Michelle Malkin has adopted the hashtag and putting things in it as her “support” – not any sort of meaningful interaction between her and Park. If you think Park should have considered the possibility of conservative Asians who have an axe to grind with Colbert over other reasons picking up her hashtag and using it, then why don’t you have similar expectations of Colbert, that he should have considered the possibility of racists using his language and jokes to justify themselves?
I’ve been clear from the beginning that I think there’s a difference between a person making a joke on twitter to a couple thousand of their followers (seriously read the first tweet that set this all off) and a nationally-known comic making a joke on a program that has a nightly viewership in the millions and is the number one show in some demographics.
@Mnemosyne: I mean, you’re commenting in a thread with a study in the original post about how people willfully misinterpret the comedy in this exact show in order to support their political beliefs, and I think we can agree that White conservatives believe they have a right to decide what language is appropriate to refer to people of color with?
Get a room with Suey. Colbert did not tweet the joke, it was completely out of context and was completely satire. Suey is an idiot and anyone who takes her seriously is even more stupid than she is. If you’re an example of the people who take her seriously, you need to go back to school. For a long time.
@geg6: I didn’t say he tweeted the joke, I have repeatedly said that the tweet and the segment are very different things, I have myself specifically said that one of the problems with the tweet was the lack of context. That you need to mischaracterize what I’m saying in order to justify your aggressive comments towards me and Suey Park says something about you and your position.
Oh hell to the no. Remember the New Yorker cover with the cartoon that showed Michelle and the President doing a fist bump, and the right went crazy calling them terrorists? Well, Jane Hamshire wrote on her blog Firedoglake that we, as liberals, have to be careful how we say things because the right will either not understand it or abuse it or worse. I went ballistic and asked? What? are you saying that the right is stupid so we should dumb down the discourse just for them? That’s exactly what the cartoon is saying – that we’ve dumbed down the discourse.”
Nope. Not interested. I have resorted to not even bothering to engage rather than dumbing it down. If someone can’t understand what I am saying (I am not saying agree with me; I am saying understand the words coming out of my English speaking mouth) then I have stopped engaging altogether.
Villago Delenda Est
@Amir Khalid: For example, “I can see Russia from my house”.
Palin said something similar to that, but Fey took what Palin said and made it even more ridiculous, and now people think Palin actually said “I can see Russia from my house”.
I’m still trying to get you to explain what your problem was with Colbert’s pointing out that “Redskins” is an offensive racial term and that it would be equally offensive for him to create a foundation with “Ching Chong Ding Dong” in the name. Do you really think that there’s a large portion of his audience that said to themselves, Yeah, neither one of those things are offensive, so what are the libtards getting all upset about?
Have you read any of the interviews with her? She’s Sarah Palin without the neck wrinkles. In fact, Sarah Palin’s word salads make vastly more sense than Suey’s.
You keep contradicting yourself. Is your problem with the tweet or with the segment? You keep bouncing back and forth.
I think he/she has completely lost any concept of what he/she is arguing. Plus, taking Suey Park seriously. Jeebus.
I’m willing to cut Park a little more of a break, because she’s young and excited that she got all of this attention on Twitter. I remember being a jargon-spouting undergraduate myself.
Palin’s a grown-ass woman with children who should be less ignorant.
@? Martin: Bullshit. A history professor told me once that when you when you judge everyone as guilty of some infraction, it lets the truly guilty people off the hook. Of course, that was in the context of the Holocaust but I think my bullshit “call out” still stands. Shoot, did I violate Godwin’s law? Damn, and on my first time.
Villago Delenda Est
@The Very Revered Crimson Fire of Compassion: If not Suey, a decent stab at the same sort of trollery that the entire #cancelcolbert thing was.
Villago Delenda Est
There’s something about this sentence…I can’t put my finger on it…that just disturbs me a great deal.
@tsquared2001: The two points are not the same. We all carry predelictions toward supreficial generalizations based on types, some of which are race, gender, ideology. acting out on those beliefs in hurtful ways is not the same thing. what separates a mature person is the ability to look before acting. looking and seeing your own prejudices is a trait of a sophisticated thinker. It is not just a” gold chain-thug” stereotype that white people may have. They are more subtle about what sort of grammar you expect from a black person or how athletically gifted you expect them to be. and they can be more goofy and more sinister.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Mnemosyne: In fairness, Palin’s only that ignorant because she’s so stupid.
@Mnemosyne: Park gets absolutely no love from me. Her ass is some stupid wrapped up in an idiotic bag. If that is team us, I will need my agent to get me the fuck off that team.
Otherwise, you are one of my favorite commentators too.
@Helen: Uh, saying we need to think over how liberals use satire is not the same thing as saying we need to dumb down discourse. You can make points that are very multilayered and complicated without using satire or parody, and you can use satire or parody in ways that are more effective than others. Park has been really clear throughout this that she likes and herself uses satire, so… I’m not sure why you think anyone is necessarily opposed to satire categorically?
@Mnemosyne: Yes, I actually think that. I think that is how many White conservatives (and liberals! Are we really going to claim that there are absolutely no racists in our camp?) are interpreting segments like that on the show – as pointing out a contradiction, but seeing it as laughable, rather than horrifying. I think that they see the popularity and acceptance of the show as indications that you can use that sort of language to describe different groups of color provided you do it in a way that you can claim is “satire”. I think that Colbert is loose with his language about other groups, because his persona is a parody of people who are loose with their language about other groups – but that when that gets popular and is celebrated as a way of mocking racists, more than a few racists will get it into their heads that their racism itself is popular.
Here’s another example of basically that phenomenon: Dolph the hippo. He was created in Denmark to parody conservatives there who are basically fascist. That doesn’t change the fact that he was adopted by those same fascists and is basically a symbol that they use to rally around.
Newsmax Headline in right column:
So … good news! On the Dick Morris Is Always Wrong Scale we’re apparently leading in 7 Senate races, but facing Trouble in KY (which sounds like it should be the title of a 1978 military STD-prevention training film).
Aww, thank you! But you’re only saying that because we haven’t gotten into a knock-down, drag-out fight yet. It’ll happen. ;-)
Villago Delenda Est
@JGabriel: “Outside the gates of Fort Knox there are loose women who will lure you into their dens and give you a social disease!”
I think Olbermann had it pegged when he noted that wingers can’t do comedy, or can’t sustain it long, due to their overwhelming need to see people suffer.
@tsquared2001: Ok, I’ll make a distinction then. In the current context, I believe I am not sexist or racist. At least, I aspire to be that and work actively toward that goal, knowing that I blow it now and then. 5 or more years from now (in a different context) I expect we’ll look back and say ‘those things we accepted as fine actually weren’t’. So we need to be sensitive to the fact that our standards will change, sometimes quite a lot, and we need to change with them.
By comparison, there are people that have not changed to the new standard. They are instead insisting that the old standard was the right one. We’re right to label them as racist/sexist in the current context, even while they demand that they aren’t in the previous context. The lines can be very grey, vary by generation, by geography, and so on. We establish these often by way of contrast, by drawing parallels as Colbert did in the segment between one that we don’t deem unacceptable to one that we would agree is unacceptable, and use that to challenge the acceptability of the former. That’s just how it works. But if you refuse to accept that your current behavior cannot run afoul of an evolving standard, then you cannot be considered a judge of the process at all.
So I’m not saying we are equally racist and sexist, far from it. But we need to all accept that we have blind spots on this and be willing to accept that we might have it wrong.
One of the more interesting ironies of the backlash about the #CancelColbert fiasco dawned on me this morning. The clever element of the tweet was that it used a white male who is so privileged that he’s completely oblivious to how anyone would be offended by him using verbiage that points and laughs at another culture: “look they talk funny (Ching Chong Ding Dong)” and he uses said verbiage in making an argument to defend the real world example of Dan Snyder doing much the same. Now I see many of the just-a-joke/you-don’t-satire people pointing to Suey Park and saying “look she talks funny” (referring to the Salon interview) as part of their reason for dismissing her concerns.
That probably depends on whether or not you think 27% is a large portion …
Villago Delenda Est
@Baud: Colbert had a segment once that addressed what Jesus was actually teaching us directly, and as usual, the “liberals” got the intent, but apparently the “conservatives” missed it. Please visualize me using the “flat hand moving quickly over the top of my head” gesture to provide additional commentary on the ‘conservatives” totally missing the point.
See what as “laughable, rather than horrifying”? The slur itself, or pointing out that the two slurs are basically equivalent?
I guess I’m not getting how you’re picturing a racist conservative (or liberal) deciding within the context of that sketch that both racial slurs are acceptable.
Not to mention that most racists already try to claim they were “just joking” or “it was satire” or “you libtards just don’t have a sense of humor” when they get caught saying something stupidly racist, so it’s not like it’s a new phenomenon that Colbert invented. In fact, his persona is based in part on making fun of them for doing that.
Satirists are frequently misunderstood. Jonathan Swift almost lost his job because people complained that he was advocating cannibalism. You can’t control for stupid.
@? Martin: Okay, but we need to have a mechanism by which people (specifically the people attacked by certain rhetoric) can say that specific lines aren’t okay to cross (always, in a certain context, etc). I’m pretty sure an Asian person, like Park, should be treated more seriously as an expert on how to cross lines with ways of describing Asian people that’s productive than a White person, like Colbert.
Saying “we’re all bad” overlooks how the ways Colbert talked about this issue (and even worse, how Comedy Central and others have latched onto what he said) used inflammatory rhetoric that does not impact him the way it impacts Parks. “Everyone’s a little bit racist” isn’t as important that “not everyone is equally subjected to racism”.
George W. Bush never forgave Colbert for his impudence. In fact his animosity leaked out and Bush showed his hand when he painted a portrait of Stephen Colbert.
I would say there is a difference between “she talks funny” due to an accent and “she talks funny” due to spouting Soc. 461 jargon.
@Mnemosyne: Yes, you can’t control the stupid, but does that mean we should just give up and not even bother trying? I thought you were one of the commenters here who often talks about the need not be defeatist? I’m not going to speak for Park, but my point here is actually one of belief in Colbert: that he can do better than this, that he is talented enough to make these sorts of points without letting racists feel comfortable.
@Uncle Ebeneezer: Exactly. A lot of people, even people who self identify as liberal or progressive, are perpetuating anti-Asian bigotry in their defense of Colbert, which I think indicates just how many people watch the show and feel reinforced in their racism. To be blunt, the speed with which people here made sense of me thinking there’s maybe some point to what Park said by making jokes about me wanting to sleep with Park (relegating her to some sort of passive sex object, which seems reflective of racist and sexist stereotypes of Asian women) suggests we’re also not free of those sorts of attitudes either.
Right, but because of the context of the sketch, she is also setting herself up as an expert in how to describe American Indians and deciding that, by default, “redskin” is not a racial slur, or at least not as bad as “ching chong ding dong.”
That’s what is really bugging me about Park — by concentrating on only half of the joke, she’s saying that we should be paying more attention to the slur against Asian-Americans than the one against Native Americans that’s part of the name of an NFL team. The reason I wondered yesterday if this is Park’s version of the Oppression Olympics is because she’s ignoring the racial slur against Native Americans to make her own point.
Villago Delenda Est
Salon: Did you watch the Monday night segment on the “Colbert Report”?
Suey Park: No, and I think that’s an irrelevant question.
There you have it. This is how Suey Park “talks funny”.
Dude (or dudette, I can’t remember), you’re the one arguing that we should stop using satire because people might misconstrue it. How is that not giving up?
@eric: “We all carry predelictions toward supreficial generalizations based on types, some of which are race, gender, ideology. ”
Who is this we, kemosobe?
But seriously, that was a fair point. It just seemed from your original post that it was throw your hands up time and that is a bridge too far for me.
Let me do another balloon juice thingamajing:
@Villago Delenda Est:
To be fair, it was Salon who was asking the question.
@Omnes Omnibus: What racism hmmmm?
@Mnemosyne: Oh. It is on now. Stick up for that crazy person with the “I am gonna tweet some nonsense now in order to get some publicity” just one more time. Seriously, that asterisk shit in lieu of the word white? Oh, too precious
Villago Delenda Est
@Baud: I see what you did there!
I’ve always thought that the fury that wingnuts feel about liberals is so much not down to a difference in political philosophyas it is because they can tell we’re laughing at them, and try as they might they just can’t pick apart the joke. Colbert’s schtick is like a Rusian nesting doll, in which with each layer you uncover the meaning flips 180 degrees. Wingnuts who figure out that the layers are there can never determine if they’ve reached the core or if there’s another layer to go, and wingnuts who never figured out that there are more layers can’t see what’s so funny about a damned doll. In either case, I see no reason to abandon the pleasure of layered satire because of the cognitive shortcomings of the people being satirized.
I thought this was interesting, from the body of the paper:
@? Martin: And this post is EXACTLY why I got a sneeker for the balloon juice commentariat. Thanks, Martin.
@Mnemosyne: I have never said that we should give up satire, just that we should carefully consider what the impacts of it are, particularly when we are satirizing something that doesn’t affect us personally. The End.
EDIT: To clarify, the impacts of it in each context.
@Omnes Omnibus: No kidding
@Omnes Omnibus: Fair point. Though just because somebody expands on a concern with a word-salad doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a valid point worthy of taking seriously, initially. There are other (non Suey Park) people out there making much more coherent arguments for why the tweet was offensive.
Right. That’s why I’m asking why in context it was worse to use an anti-Asian slur than an anti-American Indian slur.
And, yes, it took me a couple of days to get to this point, but it really bothers me that Park hijacked a sketch that was about an anti-American Indian slur being used as the name of an NFL team and turned it into something that was all about her issues.
If this is, Well, Colbert shouldn’t have tweeted the short version — he didn’t. That’s not how TV networks work. Stephen Colbert does not tweet the “Colbert Report” tweets. There’s a PR flack employed by Comedy Central who does that.
You can call for the idiot PR person to be fired while understanding that Colbert’s words were taken out of context by the idiot PR person. Context matters, especially when you’re dealing with a person who decides to pull one racial slur out of its pairing and declare that it’s more important than the other one.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
Demonstrating once again that reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit. I never said it would be awesome if Colbert became president. I said it would be awesome if Colbert ran in the Republican primaries. Not the same thing at all.
Yeah, the study is from the April 2009 issue of The International Journal of Press/Politics. Are we sure it wasn’t an April Fools joke? (I can’t find anything on the Google.)
Minor rant: I hate when it is hard to tell when an article on a Web page was written. A dateline at the top is never a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go down to comments (if any) and check the time stamps on those.
And I wish that (in this global age) newspaper Web sites would give a hint as to their geographical location. They’re all “News-Herald” this and “Gazette-Times” that, and usually the most you get is a “Serving the tri-county area” tag line or something.
It’s double-secret satire, and the joke’s on you, libtards.
Villago Delenda Est
@Uncle Ebeneezer: The tweet was issued by Comedy Central’s publicity department, not Colbert, and removed the “foundation” from the context of Dan Snyder’s foundation.
So, Ms. Park jumped to a conclusion without having all the facts at hand. Fair enough as it definitely was inflammatory, but she’s been doubling down in a panic ever since, even after it was explained to her. Can’t let the indignation go to waste!
Wandering away to buy cat food now, but shorter me: the out-of-context tweet was bad, and the person who did it should probably be disciplined (or at least placed in a position where they’re not supposed to try and be funny).
The sketch was making a really important point about how people accept “Redskins” as the name of an NFL team even though it’s a racial slur where they wouldn’t accept a similar one against Asian-Americans.
“[email protected]Uncle Ebeneezer:
Sweet Jesus, he’s NOT DEFENDING DAN SNYDER.
God almighty. Park’s defenders keep saying “I know what satire is, don’t you tell me I don’t get it!” and then they keep proving that they really don’t have a freakin’ clue.
Well Park didn’t really hijack the issue because Colbert chose to use racist Asian stereotypes to make a point about Snyder’s racism. So Colbert brought Asians into the bit; he didn’t have to do that.
Whatever you think of Park and how and why she chose to touch off this “controversy,” the idea that a white comedian might inadvertently take a racial joke too far doesn’t seem all that impossible to me.
Think about why Dave Chapelle quit his Comedy Central show: because he felt like some people were laughing with the racism in his jokes, not at it. Chris Rock said the same thing about one of his bits, one that he’s decided not to perform anymore. So since Park’s criticism resonated with some Asians, that’s probably worth thinking about.
Don’t mean to be contrarian, esp. b/c I agree with you on most of this, but heck, I didn’t even think the original tweet was that bad. I know that Colbert and CC have pretty much conceded that more context was needed, but my opinion is that anyone with a Twitter account and a bit of pop culture awareness should have known it wasn’t serious.
Even Park herself admitted she was familiar with the show. Her objection isn’t just to the Tweet, but the whole bit, even with the context.
When you come for the king of hyperbolic comedy for a battle of wits, it’s better to come armed. Reading ms. Park’s word salad of buzzword bingo made it clear she came unarmed to a battle of wits.
Plenty of Asian-Americans didn’t have a problem with it, and that’s worth thinking about too. Also food for thought: The nature and content of Suey Park’s attacks on any Asian who dares to express disagreement with her.
FTFY, but I agree. The 11:30 slot is for “mainstream” America (what’s left of it, as a monolithic TV audience). Leno was awful, with jokes about on the level of Reader’s Digest. I can dimly remember a time when he was funny as a standup comedian, but the talk-show sinecure killed that. Even Letterman is blander and more predictable than he used to be, although I give him credit for maintaining a good bit of an edge.
But it’s got to be incredibly tiring to do what Colbert does and maintain the high quality, so I wouldn’t blame him for looking for something else.
@Mnemosyne: Okay, here’s the thing – no one that I’ve seen contests that as the intent of the segment, or even the largest message that it conveys. No one. The problem people had with it is how it delivered that point, and how people have responded to the people directly affected by it discussing how it failed to effectively make that point.
The center of the discussion made by people actually using the cancel colbert hashtag is not and has never been what you think it is. From the beginning, one of the most common points I saw made and remade in it was that satire should “punch upwards” rather than “down”. People accepted that Colbert was trying to punch upwards at Snyder, someone with arguably more power than him, but that in the process he reinforced ways of talking about Asian communities that are actually still very common, and which racists clearly want to feel allowed to use. That is punching up and making a light tap, before spinning around and hitting people below you hard.
Ignoring that argument and pretending that the only thing that matters is Colbert’s intended message is a way of letting him, and the various other White people who engage in that sort of language and then backpedal with the “satire” excuse avoid culpability. Park and most of the people using the hashtag agree that the issue is important and that it matters that we force a name change for a certain team, but they (reasonably!) don’t see Colbert convincing many people or really anyone with his segment, so much as providing people who’ve already made up their minds with a few laughs. It’s ironic that Park is getting called the “hashtag activist” here, when it’s really unclear that Colbert is affecting the public debate on that issue much. I see their argument as being that he hasn’t had an affect on Snyder and is having an affect on Asians (and on anti-Asian racists).
PS: I’m sorry I forgot to respond to you earlier about this – I’m a guy.
Well, I’m not really trying to defend Suey Park’s methods. What I’m talking about is maybe there’s some truth to what she’s said. For instance if you have some women who are OK with being cat-called and wolf-whistled does that mean that other women can’t object to it? The fact that some Asians are OK with the bit doesn’t abdicate our responsibility to consider what the others are saying.
@Mike in NC:
Here you go: Colbert at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, 2006.
So, she (and by extension, anyone who thinks that she’s not totally, utterly beyond the pale of reasonable discussion, like, say, me) should expect racist and sexist comments like the one I called out when she says that something a White guy did was racist, even if he didn’t mean it that way?
Take a moment and realize that you’re literally defending racist and sexist comments against her. You can disagree with her point, strongly even, without resorting to that, but a wide variety of people don’t seem capable of doing that without discussing her in a way that strikes me as really racist and sexist (just look above at all the comments speculating about why I think she has a point).
(Also, considering that Buzzfeed is conservative-owned and skews that way and Park is pretty overtly progressive, I have no clue why you think her language is “Buzzfeed”-ish?)
If you want to liken sexual harassment of individual women to satire aimed at bigots, then I’m just going to say that I find your worldview to be “problematic.”
Not to be rude or anything, but — gack — you really think she’s been “clear” during this? I read her lengthy explanation of what she meant and none of it made any sense to me at all. It sounded like a mashup of the worst kind of trendoid postmodernist jargon and butthurt.
I might also mention that, on this thread, you’ve given me the impression that you think Colbert was somehow responsible for other people taking part of what he said out of context and then misinterpreting it — as if he shouldn’t have said something that could be cut from context and misinterpreted. By that standard, nobody would ever be able to open their mouths at all, would they? Sorry if I’ve misinterpreted you….
Buzzword not buzzfeed.
From her salon interview. She doesn’t demonstrate an understanding of the buzzwords she uses in abundance.
thank God Colbert didn’t belly dance, or it’s be even worse!
If there’s anything I hate, it’s a cisgendered hetero white male belly dancing.
@kc: I meant Colbert, the right-wing character, not Colbert the man who plays him on tv. Sorry, I thought that was clear. In the episode that the tweet comes from, the character Colbert is enthusiasticly endorsing Snyder’s actions. “this move by Dan Snyder inspires me…“
I don’t like how Park was attacked here. And I don’t think Park would have been attacked had it stayed with her. But once Malkin jumped in, with politics that we are all too clear on, then it became too easy to elide Malkins politics to Parks statement. And then the rest of the rightwing media jumped on the liberal civil war angle of it.
I think a lot of this came out of Park not being a good messenger of her intentions. Some thought she was being a little snarky and drawing attention to herself (which we can’t exactly criticize, given that’s the whole fucking point of Twitter) and others thought she was aligning with Malkin. Park had an opportunity to point to the tweet and the segment as a perfect illustration of how context matters in communication. The tweet was racist because it had been stripped of its context. The segment, with context intact, wasn’t. Even though one was transcribed from the other. She never said that. She never even hinted toward that.
Nobody is asserting that everyone is equally subject to racism. But there are two unavoidable realities here:
1) Coates white supremacy problem can only be solved by whites standing up and calling out the behavior of whites. The message has to come almost exclusively from white men, because white men are the primary problem and the message will only be heard coming from within that subgroup. Colbert is nearly the perfect messenger here. The only thing that would make it better is if he were actually a conservative.
2) You seem to be willfully denying how satire works and its effectiveness. Satire works by contrasting an accepted claim to an outrageous one, and then showing that they are morally equivalent. You cannot get there without the outrageous claim. You’re not asserting the validity of the outrageous claim but drawing everyone together to say ‘we can all agree this is outrageous’. That’s the whole fucking point – to build solidarity around the atrocity. Holocaust museums do not exist to glorify the act but to state ‘we can all agree this was horrifying’ and to point out to anyone who might be on the fence about it that they are so clearly in the minority that they’re opposing something that we’ve now institutionalized.
What I think is most interesting about all of this, is that Colbert was pointing out the racism toward native americans which is all too widely accepted, and which has been completely ignored in trying to defend what appears to be no more than two offended asians on Twitter. You almost got there with the ‘not everyone is equally subjected to racism’ line, but stopped with the people who have enough power to have a platform, and ignored the people who have no platform and have been ignored. You missed Colbert’s point completely.
Where exactly is the analogy breaking down for you? Just because one segment of a group doesn’t find a behavior objectionable doesn’t mean we should ignore the ones who do.
Okay, thanks, I get you. Not that I agree with you. :)
For the record, again, the racist comments directed at Park, a few of which I saw, were completely wrong, wrong, wrong. Uncalled for.
Villago Delenda Est
@kc: Not to mention she’s chosen the vile Michelle Malkin as an ally…a woman who thinks the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII was absolutely the right thing to do.
But we haven’t established that any segment finds it objectionable. We’ve only established that one person finds it objectionable. I won’t credit that stance to Malkin because her political advocacy overrides anything else she says. And it seems to be everyone else that jumped on board were doing so for the same reason as Malkin. Manufactured outrage doesn’t deserve to be given the same voice as real outrage.
I’ve yet to see a single other objective individual or group call the segment racist. There’s no shortage of Asian American groups out there who are usually pretty quick to speak up about these kinds of things, but I can’t find any at all.
No matter what, you can always find an individual who will object to something. I think Westboro proves that well enough boycotting military funerals. That doesn’t mean we need to give them any credibility. If they can make an argument that defends their objection, then fine – someone needs to be the first to speak out, but Suey hasn’t made such an argument even in the interviews. At least not one that doesn’t demand that we ignore the context of Colberts segment.
@Villago Delenda Est: Yes, that is one decision that I think Parks absolutely deserves criticism for. Malkin…blech…. That said, I saw a friend of a friend on FB say “well just seeing Michelle Malkin involved tells you alot about the whole thing.” Which I think is fallacious. Malkin is obviously opportunistically using the situation to take shots at Colbert (who I believe has mocked her quite a bit over the years) because he’s beloved by many Liberals. Heck, she (and her flying monkeys) might be the only people who literally want to see Colbert cancelled! I have no doubt that her whining is absolutely fauxtrage based on her history and abhorrent views on race. But just because her concerns are transparently phony doesn’t mean that many other CancelColbert supporters’ concerns are not legitimate. She’s hardly representative of the group any more than Fred Phelps was representative of the Anti Iraq War movement.
On a related tangent, I’m not a twitter user, but I do see the use of hashtags on FB and in blogs etc. so my question to Tweeters: are hashtags typically taken literally? The ones I see are usually pretty obviously ironic or hyperbole, which is probably why I never felt the CC campaign was really aiming to get the show cancelled. I suppose norms probably differ depending on the twitter community (journalists, comedians, academics, celebrities etc.)
So Park all on her own got that to trend on Twitter? All those tweets I read were just sock puppets of hers? Why is there so much effort being expended to shut out dissenting views?
No surprise. Way back in 1963, a Republican friend of mine was very proud to show me his copy of “Conscience of a Conservative” with a large number of lines in the book highlighted with a yellow marker. When I inquired, he informed me that those were the things that Barry Goldwater had to say, but they were also the things Barry Goldwater didn’t mean. Remember that the basis for both Sociology and Neuro-Linguistic Programming is that the perception is the reality.
Whereas trending a hashtag on Twitter will change the world…
Now, you realize that Park herself says that she did not see the full segment, right? She did not and never did make any of the arguments you’re making about the segment, because she didn’t watch it. She responded solely to the tweet.
So trying to expand this out and claim that there was somehow something wrong with the segment that Park detected is incorrect, because Park says she never even saw it.
I hate to tell you, but the ones here putting words in Park’s mouth are you guys, because you’re making criticisms of the segment that she never made since she never actually saw it.
@gorram: Hm. You’re coming awfully close to “whitesplaining” the whole #CancelColbert thing. Park tends to claim too much solidarity within the Asian community than what she really has for her position, and, as well, tends to draw focus away from Native American [email protected]
cyntax: Actually, Park and her supporters has engaged in a lot of that. That, without a doubt, I find objectionable.
“I’m pretty sure an Asian person, like Park, should be treated more seriously as an expert on how to cross lines with ways of describing Asian people that’s productive than a White person, like Colbert.”
Ok, well I’m an Asian person. A political science major who has also read a lot about power structures, even. And I think Colbert’s segment was completely in bounds, justified, and not offensive in the least to me. I have read every one of your comments here and seriously considered whether I think Colbert is reinforcing ways white people talk about Asians. And I don’t buy it.
By the way, are you Asian? If not, then do you think casting yourself in this role of speaking on behalf of Asians might be problematic?
Just fyi, the JACL has found it objectionable.
However, many of the younger activists, who are visible online, do not find it objectionable.They are supportive of her passion and ultimate goal, but are not supportive of her tactics and attack on Colbert, and are not appreciative of her behavior with respect to other Asian Americans.
@Xantar: Hmph. I’m an Asian person, too. And I’ve been an activist in the community than longer than Park’s been alive. I’d like to see some respect for my grey hairs.
Malkin got it to trend when she brought the wingnuts on board. You realize most of the #cancelcolbert folks are the same racist wingnuts that were calling Richard Sherman a thug. They were just looking for an excuse to get Colbert off the air and jumped on the train.
I’m not shutting out dissenting views, I’m just waiting to hear some. Here’s Kang seemingly bottom-lining it for us:
Ok. That’s a valid viewpoint, but she’s effectively telling us that satire should never be employed. I disagree with that. And I disagree that Colbert was simply using the Redskins flap as an excuse to ridicule Asian Americans which is effectively her assertion. Would she have been happier if Colbert did a Polish or Irish or Italian joke instead as the contrast? If so, I guarantee someone would have put up a similar objection of racism and that too would have carried across the wingnuttisphere.
Can you point me at an Asian American organization that has objected to Colbert’s segment? Or an academician? Park’s job seems to be to draw attention to her causes. She’s done that. But just as I don’t believe advertising claims which have the same goal, I’m not going to take her claim seriously without some voices in the mix that don’t have the same goal. I haven’t found any, and I’ve looked. Find me an actual dissenting view from someone who can speak broadly on racism and who doesn’t have a clear alternate agenda.
Fair enough. Thank you for the reference.
The tweets I was reading were clearly not Malkin’s crew. How about feministing should they be ignored? Rather than look for reasons to not listen to the people, why not look at their objections?
That’s fine as far as it goes, but others who did see the segment objected to it. So what do you say to them? Maybe they’ve got a point?
@gorram: which explicit statement do I endorse when I note her interview has her demonstrating the reach of her vocabulary exceeds her grasp?
(Condensed. Into one sentence)
Have you read the interview on salon?
I can see if she’s trying to do one meta parody of Colbert with mock over the top outrage. But if she tried. She failed.
Do me a favor and skip saying I’m explicitly saying something when you don’t understand what I wrote
@gian: Reread the comment I was responding to when you responded to me. Hell, reread this whole thread. You can pretend that there’s not any racism lurking here. Pretend being the operative word.
(And note, I’ve never said that you personally said or did anything. I asked at the beginning of that last post addressed to you if you were really claiming that no one’s responding to her in a racist way. You could have said no, instead of freaking out that I was calling you a racist.)
@Xantar: @gwangung: I already posted this article, but I think it addresses the issue of this drawing the focus away from the mascot/name. Basically, why are we thinking of Colbert as seriously questioning it in a way that Park isn’t?
As for my own status in this, I have only been responding to other White people (and actually, only within this thread – I haven’t been doing much other than lurking in these discussions elsewhere), and mostly explaining that their depictions of Park or many other people organizing around the hashtag don’t necessarily match the statements they have released. I’m not trying to control the direction of anti-racist activism, I’m just noticing mistaken perceptions of what’s been done by Park and others. I’m not prescribing what people of color should do (how is saying “I’m pretty sure an Asian person, like Park, should be treated more seriously as an expert on how to cross lines with ways of describing Asian people that’s productive than a White person” “speaking on behalf of Asians”?).
@MaximusNYC: Uh, you realize where the current round of anti-mascot/name protests originated, right? It wasn’t Colbert himself.
@Xantar & @gwangung : Ack, here’s the article. Sorry the link didn’t take.
My mom worked with people who LOVED Colbert. They were conservatives. When she told them his show was satire, they stopped watching it, and also stopped talking to her.
A Humble Lurker
Where’s the racism in this thread, exactly?