On top of being attacked for allegedly playing into gay stereotypes, Fey’s show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, also came under social media fire for being racist after it was revealed Jane Krakowski’s rich, superficial character, Jacqueline Voorhees, is Native American, but plays up her white features because she feels it will get her further in life.
Unlike many celebs who have bowed to the outrage of the Internet, Fey isn’t backing down and is refusing to make excuses for her art.
“We did an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode and the Internet was in a whirlwind, calling it ‘racist,’ but my new goal is not to explain jokes. I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves,” Fey said in a recent interview with Net-a-Porter.
She continued, “There’s a real culture of demanding apologies, and I’m opting out of that.”
Here’s where Fey has a good point. She and her group of writers know what they are doing. They carefully craft jokes, only for them to be taken out of context, picked apart, then condemned as racist or homophobic on Twitter. Either that or some viewers simply don’t understand the joke and still want to cause a ruckus about something.
If celebs, and our culture as a whole, continue to bow down and apologize every time someone deems something offensive and it catches fire on the Internet, comedians and writers will be afraid to take calculated risks and entertainment as we know it will disappear.
That’s not to say celebrities should never apologize. There have been stars who have done and said things that were completely out of line. I just don’t feel Fey is one of them.
Does she owe a small group of people an apology for the Jacqueline story line? Maybe. Does everyone with an Internet connection deserve to weigh in and demand an apology so that they can get a bit of recognition on the Web? Nope. If Fey doesn’t feel the need to apologize, she doesn’t have to. If viewers don’t like her brand of humor, then they don’t have to consume her material. And if her material is seriously offensive enough that large groups of people feel offended and boycott her shows, then she will drop out of the mainstream. Not that I see that happening here.
So where is the outrage even coming from? Comedian and expert podcaster, Joe Rogan, has deemed the new wave of ultra-PC Internet users who love to jump in on what’s hot in social movements “Social Justice Warriors.” Basically, Social Justice Warriors are people looking to be offended for the sake of being offended — and to get a reaction.
(Side note: If you’ve never checked out Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, I highly recommend it).
Admittedly, I’ve found myself falling victim to this PC kind of thinking. I previously explored my initial reaction to the trailer for Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck being anti-feminist, and how I slapped myself back into reality, stepped away from Twitter and came to the realization that I was creating a false dialogue in my mind about a type of comedy that I do actually find entertaining.
I could probably even be accused of being anti-feminist for saying that I slapped myself, being that I am a woman and all — that’s how out of hand things have gotten in our media culture — but if we continue to analyze the shit out of everything, comedy is going to become extinct. And that’s not something I want any part of.
The real tragedy in all of this is that it’s taking away from causes that really do deserve attention. Shouldn’t we save our being offended card for something that’s really worth being offended about?
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Social Justice Warrior Internet activism should be ignored, and ignoring it is, in essence, what Fey is doing. In fact, I almost feel like I shouldn’t be giving it credence by writing this article. Yet, here we are.