The swiftness of Roseanne’s public execution following her incendiary tweet most likely elicited feelings of relief rather than regret on the part of anyone involved with the production: an excuse to kill the golden goose handed to ABC on a silver platter.
The show had become the proverbial bone in the throat of reflexively resistant show business, perceived as a corrective to the industry’s progressivism and justification for the existence of the stereotypical Trump voter as Hollywood sees them. Instead, everyone involved with the project now will earn brownie points for any and all mea culpas, and will all move on with their Hollywood lives (except for maybe Sara Gilbert, who might pay with her career for conceiving the reboot in the first place).
Meanwhile, the inevitable pile-ons and whataboutisms have ensued from all corners. Overparsing the tweet in question, some defend Roseanne’s ape analog as about appearance and not race, as pictures of Trump juxtaposed with an orangutan are; some have claimed that this was about her, and not the show itself. But to paraphrase Larry Summers: Roseanne’s tweet was racist in effect even if not intent; and the fact that the show was “Roseanne” indicates, as Ben Shapiro has pointed out, that the star was the product.
However, as one can perform all sorts of contortions to try give Roseanne the benefit of the doubt, one can imply even more mentally acrobatically impressive feats of contortion to make this into something resembling another BLM or #MeToo. Conservatives should actually be as relieved as Roseanne’s production team: they now can point to Roseanne’s execution and demand parallel ones for offenses from the Left—a “Roseanne Deal”—even if trenchant cultural double standards make that a pipe dream; those to the right of the far left can be forgiven for using Roseanne as a whataboutist cudgel against progressivism.
In any case, common sense would look like Bret Stephens’ musings about taboos, that some should be inviolate while some remain permitted precisely to keep the truly incendiary out of public fora. (Mr. Stephens errs when he deems Ms. Jarret to be less than public a figure and therefore not deserving of withering criticism like the President, and either way that status is irrelevant to the nature of Roseanne’s offense. But it doesn’t detract from his point about taboos.)
Instead we have Trevor Noah, whose history of antisemitic tweeting rivals Roseanne’s own Twitter ouvre, and who should have himself fired from Comedy Central and run offscreen if he has a shred of intellectual integrity.
Instead we have Lindsey West, who has had a personal axe to grind with Roseanne for years. As part of that spat—which was ostensibly about defending comics who cracked rape jokes—Ms. West herself delineated that certain rape jokes were not necessarily out of bounds, allowing for gradations of offense worth comic risk. Not anymore: post-Roseanne, West now insists on PC as a matter of faith, particularly when equating the NFL’s new flag policy with a hypothetical racist ABC that still runs Roseanne.
West makes as compelling a #resistance revolutionary as Rachel Dolezal.
In fact, considering that one can credibly assume that Ms. West considers herself bound by the tenets of intersectional theory and would happily subscribe to the double standards of meting out offenses that its adherents demand—would she be as up in arms about Linda Sarsour’s tweets as she is about Roseanne’s?—one might find that her revolutionary fervor is even less Rachel Dolezal and more Torrance Shipman:
“This isn’t a democracy, this is a cheerocracy.”