"No one's minimalizing your experiences. No one's minimalizing your right to have an opinion. It's just a stupid opinion."
-- HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps to activist Suey Park, who started the hashtag #CancelColbert after the Colbert Report's official Twitter feed repeated a joke Stephen Colbert had made without the necessary context (for the basics of the story, see here)
Zepps's interview with Park is seriously one for the ages. If at some point we actually make the conscious decision as a culture that we're exhausted with the activist internet's state of perpetual outrage -- as well as the notion that because a person has a few Twitter followers what he or she says is of enhanced consequence -- maybe this interview will be the opening volley at Lexington and Concord.
Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but Zepps's bemused incredulity when facing off with Park, who's basically a human umbrage machine, almost makes this entire stupid "controversy" worth it. It certainly does if this can be a teachable moment. Not in the sense that enforcers of, and adherents to, the "white patriarchy" can learn that they're not allowed to make any joke that isn't somehow preapproved -- usually by people who have no fucking sense of humor whatsoever and who take offense at every little goddamn thing -- but that if you misunderstand satire and then begin a misguided campaign to silence the person behind that satire, be prepared to be mercilessly ridiculed.
Suey Park knee-jerked when she read the Colbert Report tweet. Once the context was made clear she easily could've backed off her silly demand for an apology and push to make #CancelColbert a trending topic, but by then she was apparently committed and so figured she'd double down. By doing so, she made herself look even more foolish and less serious than she did when she misunderstood the crack in the first place, didn't bother looking beyond 140-characters, and just went from zero-to-outrage in two seconds flat. Calling her out for this rank stupidity doesn't make you racist or sexist or oppressive -- it makes you fucking reasonable. She started this idiocy -- which was of course parroted on Michelle Malkin's Twitchy, because the left and the right can always agree on pissing all over the left -- and therefore, yes, she gets to be made an example of here.
Thankfully, by tomorrow, Park and her handful of followers' little tirade will likely be relegated to the circular file where so many other ill-advised Twitter tantrums have wound up -- even Salon's headline piece says this one goes way too far -- but hopefully this will in fact serve as the breaking point for progressive pop culture, when it finally decides that the constant ridiculous outrage has become nothing more than self-parody.
And this isn't "white mansplaining" or whatever absurd neologism you want to label it -- it's just common sense. And while it can be argued that Zepps was indeed somewhat condescending to Park during her interview, it wasn't because she's a woman, or Asian, or even an activist -- it was because her #CancelColbert crusade is fucking stupid and doesn't deserve to be taken the least bit seriously.