Updated: May 3, 2020
Even though I didn’t watch the show, but was planning on it, I DON’T THINK HER SHOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN CANCELED. But before I go into my reasons why, let me just make a brief commentary on the state of union. I think that there has been a gradual trend (up and to the right) of pop-culture being more influential than politics. Don’t believe me? Look at who’s in the White House. We’re living amongst a cult of pop-culture personalities.
Living Colour (80s rock group) said it best, in their song 'Cult of Personality': “Look in my eyes, what do you see? The cult of personality. I know your anger, I know your dreams I've been everything you want to be I'm the cult of personality. Like Mussolini and Kennedy. I'm the cult of personality”
When we hold our tv personalities to a higher standard than our politicians we are in trouble. Gone are the days where blurred lines kept our actors/actresses' on-camera personas separate from their private actions; heavy are the days where swift justice overrides common sense and obfuscates equality. And the fact that the major news organizations are categorizing the controversial actions of our pop-culture celebrities with the same "Breaking News" and/or "First Alert" sirens and banners that are equally used when planes run into buildings should tell you something.
Now it goes without saying, Roseanne's comments were awful, and comparing her comments to other vile things that have been said on TV, radio, online, social media, etc. does nothing more than dilute the vile nature of her comment, and we have to be better than that. There’s nothing wrong with having an equal playing field, but let’s be honest that’s not how the world works. Every group on the planet can claim some form of inequality and my guess is that they would be right. However, to demonize a groups perceived persecution only exacerbates the wedge between us. I mean let’s be honest..., fairness, tolerance, and equality only seems to be important when there is injustice done to our "tribe, but when injustice afflicts another group or "tribe" our indignation turns into glee.
I can understand how ABC coming out and quickly stating that they are cancelling her show satisfies some deep insatiable carnal desire for justice to be served, much like the NFL’s recent decision on the national anthem seemed like a victory to some groups. But while ABC’s actions may have curbed the public’s torch and pitchfork outcry, it may have created unintended collateral damages. Most notably the hundreds of blue collar trades jobs that were vacated without a lot of notice. Secondly, this action is ostensibly going to place all public statements made by every single famous person that has ever lived under a microscope and dominate the airwaves for several weeks.
Now I don’t usually check out the twitter feed of all of the actors for the shows I watch, nor do I try to get character references, and I venture to guess you don't either. Instead, I watch TV to be entertained and get away from the reality I currently am in. Sometimes art imitates life, and that’s okay. But usually when it does, it tries to provide a perspective, for better or for worse, that isn’t in the main stream. Roseanne’s show was important for a number of reasons, as it showed a family that can live and behave in a civil manner when there are a plethora of different viewpoints. Something I’d argue we desperately need today.
If anything our reaction to the shows cancellation is a testament to the vitriolic state our country is in, and I believe the show intended to show us that we can disagree on every issue under the sun, but still be civil about it.
In closing, if we are to believe that public figures live to some high moral standard, I’d venture to guess we would all be pretty disappointed. But if I did find out the true moral character of those that have influenced my life and perspective, I would have to burn most of my music on cassette tapes and CD's that have gotten me through some pretty tough times, I'd erase plenty of movies and memories I've watched that was produced by Weinstein productions, and I definitely wouldn't be able to hope and dream that someday I could be a successful black man because I saw the Huxtables do it.
I'm not advocating that we abandon civility or morality, but rather we taper our
desire for swift justice, and learn to program our thought processes to first see the good in people, their contributions, and their purpose.
"...angrily attacking a woman who is obviously not well does no good for anyone. Please take a breath and remember that mental health issues are real. The Roseanne I know could probably use some compassion and help right now." - Jimmy Kimmel