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  • Sarah Silverman Gets Bit by the ‘Cancelled Culture’ and Offers Some Useful Insight About It

    Surge Summary: Comedienne Sarah Silverman shares her feelings on what it’s like getting a taste of “cancelled culture” – she was dropped from a movie because of past involvement in a television spot featuring her in blackface.

    Some folks colorfully refer to it as an example of “the Left eating its own”.

    Yeah … that describes it as well as about anything else.

    Taryn Ryder/Yahoo passes along that actress/comedienne Sarah Silverman is the latest celebrity to weigh in – very personally, it so happens — on what is coming to be known as “canceled culture”. It seems, despite her unimpeachable SJW bona fides, she isn’t immune to career blow-back for previous politically incorrect indiscretions. Guesting on The Bill Simmons Podcast, the outspoken Silverman admitted she was recently dumped from a film role after a 2007 photo of her in blackface showed up online. (At the time, she had been performing in a sketch on Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program.)

    “I recently was going to do a movie, a sweet part, then at 11 p.m. the night before they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode,” she recalled. “I didn’t fight it.”

    While she understood, Silverman says she understood the problem but admitted the decision was “disheartening” because she’s changed over the past twelve years.

    “They hired someone else who is wonderful but who has never stuck their neck out. It was so disheartening,” she continued. “It just made me real real sad, because I really kind of devoted my life to making it right. … You know, I didn’t go to a f***ing Halloween party in the ’80s in blackface. I was doing an episode about race. But now I understand, it’s never OK.”

    It so happens, Silverman has apologized for the sketch repeatedly. In 2018, for instance, she insisted to GQ, “I’m not that person anymore.

    Unfortunately for the forty-eight-year-old stand up artist, she’s learning “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” don’t mean a whole lot to many critics anymore.

    It’s a lesson conservative or traditionalist celebrities, public figures and politicians have had drummed into them ruthlessly for some time now.

    About that particular skit, Silverman explains,

    “I was praised for it! It made me famous! It was like, I’m playing a character, and I know this is wrong, so I can say it. I’m clearly liberal,” she replied. “That was such liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism. I don’t get joy in that anymore. It makes me feel yucky. All I can say is that I’m not that person anymore.”

    On The Bill Simmons Podcast, Silverman and the host discussed “canceled culture” and its “dangerous” effect on comedians who have made missteps along the way.

    Here’s hoping the two of them and their colleagues will expandingly acknowledge the “dangerous” impact “cancelled culture” can exert on human beings in general – including, for the record, conservatives, Christians, Republicans, etc. – who as goofy teens or inexperienced young adults may have engaged in behavior or uttered statements they came to regret as they matured into more seasoned adults.

    “I think it’s really scary and it’s a very odd thing that it’s invaded the left primarily and the right will mimic it,” Silverman said, calling the current climate “righteousness porn.” … “It’s like, if you’re not on board, if you say the wrong thing, if you had a tweet once … everyone is, like, throwing the first stone. It’s so odd. It’s a perversion … It’s really, ‘Look how righteous I am and now I’m going to press refresh all day long to see how many likes I get in my righteousness.'”

    Does Ms. Silverman realize she engaged a biblical allusion with that “first stone” phrase? Y’know, the book she otherwise, predictably, sneers at when it comes to addressing most of today’s hot-button social issues?

    “It’s OK to go, ‘Wow, look at this back then. That was so f***ed up looking at it in the light of today of what we know,’ but to hold that person accountable if they’ve changed with the times, like for me … I held myself accountable,” she continued. “I can’t erase that I did that, but I can only be changed forever and do what I can to make it right for the rest of my life.”

    Regarding any of a person’s youthful blunders, her approach above – minus the needless profanity – ain’t too shabby: Learn from mistakes, try to rebound from them, move on as a better person.

    It’s a shame her industry, apparently, isn’t granting her that “out” in this episode.

    Silverman’s sensible view about her own past, very visible gaffes, ought to be extended to others, including those who may part ways with her politically or culturally, yet who misstep at some point along the way. Meanwhile, bystanders can have it confirmed to them, if they’d ever forgotten, that Sarah Silverman is a flawed human being just like everyone else. Even better, that because we’re all individuals who are “works in progress”, there’s usually a place for at least some compassion, grace and empathy toward those around us who bungle it. This is not a call, mind you, for automatically dismissing every dereliction as unimportant, but rather leavening our judgments with a dash of patience and understanding toward all who are making their way through the twenty-first century’s increasingly complicated and emotionally charged social landscape.

    Image: Adapted from: Damon D’Amato from I live in North Hollywood, Calfornia – https://www.flickr.com/photos/10629464@N08/2038682965/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3187888


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