First, some background.
Jimmy Kimmel has a sidekick named Guillermo Rodriguez. Guillermo has a heavy accent. donald trump has a sidekick named Melania trump. Melania has a heavy accent.
On Easter, Melania read a book to a group of children. On Monday’s show, Jimmy Kimmel showed a clip of her reading the book and remarked, “Guillermo you know what this means? You could be first lady of the United States.”
On Tuesday night, Sean Hannity went berserk, calling Kimmel a “despicable disgrace” and an “assclown,” which led to a funny query from Kimmel about what, exactly, an assclown is.
So erupted a war of words between Hannity and Kimmel. Kimmel is a comedian. Hannity is a professional pouter. Kimmel is winning.
But that isn’t what I want to discuss. I want to discuss the fallout of Kimmel’s joke that’s happening around the rest of normal society. Kimmel has been accused of racism by many people (including lefty pearl clutchers who are perpetually on the verge of a combination of outrage and despondency on behalf of anyone who might be even the slightest bit offended by something). The argument is being made that, had a right-wing comedian poked fun of a Latino’s accent, the left would be equally outraged and demanding restitution.
The right always does that shit. They live for it. You can’t spend five minutes watching Fox News without hearing some right-wing bigot ridiculing something or other about someone or other who isn’t white, male, christian, straight, or cisgender. The right has this kind of irreverent nastiness built into the batter they half-bake their brains with, so when you see them becoming unhinged over a joke by Jimmy Kimmel, you can damn well be sure that the only reason they’re doing it is to, once again, work the refs and shame the left into silence while they continue taunting the victims of mass shootings.
Every time a lefty sympathizes with the phony righteousness of the right and insists that “we police our own” because “we’re better than that,” we lose in the realm of public opinion, because the right will never play by the rules of decency. Ever. And they bank on the fact that all they have to do is raise the slightest alarm, and those thin-skinned despondency empaths wind themselves up to give the right another media event win.
To drive this point home, let’s look at how Hannity is turning Kimmel’s joke about Melania’s accent into an opportunity to further rile up his easily agitated and prone-to-violence base. When Kimmel shot back at Hannity, Hannity dug up some older information from one of Kimmel’s first shows called The Man Show. For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Man Show, it is essentially what prebuscent and early adolescent boys used to stay up late to watch back in the 00s, because Kimmel, paired with Adam Carolla, were heros of what is today known as Mens Rights Advocacy, which is made up of a loose gaggle of neckbeards who found it impossible to attract women due to their social awkwardness and poor personal hygiene, and so they now hate women and think men are being persecuted. Their show was a crass celebration of “manliness” that often included clips of women in tight shirts bouncing on trampolines in slow motion. You get why.
Anyway, Hannity reached into his bag of right-wing indignation, and decided to use Kimmel’s association with The Man Show to dub Jimmy Kimmel “Harvey Weinstein, Jr.” Get it? Hannity wants you, and his audience, to think of sexual assault whenver you think of Kimmel, because Hannity can’t win this feud honestly.
The problem? The Zombie Right will latch onto the association, and Kimmel will forever be considered a rapist by right-wing media. The left’s mealy-mouthed unwillingness to be unapologetic will result in little to no pushback, and, like Al Franken, we silence an important voice because we want so badly to project the image that we’re better than that. And so, as a result, we end up losing in the end, because we continually turn our backs on our allies with a smug, sanctimonious wag of the finger.
Don’t accept it. Push back. Every time you see some right-wing bullshitter try to place a label on us that they have more than worked their asses off to deserve, take the label out of their hand and slap it back across their fucking mouths.