| December 31, 2018 03:28 PM
The blowback against comedian Louis C.K. isn’t because he “attacked” the Parkland High School students; it’s because he forcefully mocked the media culture that deifies victims, so long as they can be used to push liberal policy.
CNN Democratic analyst David Axelrod tweeted Monday that C.K.’s joke about the “heroic Parkland kids” was “tasteless.”
But wait — when did they become heroes? And for what? The Parkland students were part of a mass tragedy and then went on to campaign in non-specific terms for gun control.
That didn’t make them heroes. It made them Democrats — with the exception of the ones who took their politics in the opposite direction. (I’m curious as to whether Kyle Kashuv is a hero to Axelrod — and why or why not.)
What C.K. said as it directly pertained to the students wasn’t even particularly bruising. He said rather than having sex or doing drugs, they’re “boring.”
“They testify in front of Congress, these kids,” he says in the audio from a Dec. 16 stand-up show. “Like, what the fuck? … Fuck you, you’re not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot. Why does that mean I have to listen to you? Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot, you pushed some fat kid in the way, now I have to listen to you talking?”
You can call insensitive, but it’s not untrue.
I said it in a column eight months ago: “If the national news media are going to exploit a bunch of grieving children, shouldn’t they be required to at least make it interesting?”
The target of C.K.’s joke isn’t the students. It’s the culture that exalts them and deems their experience enough to put their naive views above scrutiny, and then only so long as they support Democrats’ preferred policies. When is the last time you saw Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., on TV cited as an expert on gun laws? He was literally shot! Kashuv got no reception from the national press. Based on the criteria the media use, he’s just as much a hero as the rest.
Look back on interviews with the students. When they answered anything resembling a real question, they were mostly incoherent. On Feb. 19, five days after the shooting at Parkland that killed 17 people, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked survivors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, “What do you say to the NRA?”
“Disband. Dismantle,” said Gonzalez.
“And don’t make another organization,” added Hogg.
Camerota followed up, “How do you expect politicians … to say no to the NRA?”
Gonzalez and Hogg responded by calling NRA members “killers” and “child murderers.”
That would have been a good opportunity to ask for their specific solutions to gun violence, or whether they understand that the NRA is made up of millions of regular people who own guns. Instead, Camerota moved on: “Hey guys, are you going to be able to go back to school this week or next week?” The bar is lowered, because even though these kids had a unique and terrifying experience, it hasn’t given them a greater understanding than the average person of the causes of gun violence.
On MSNBC, the day before, anchor Alex Witt had asked Gonzalez and another survivor, Sophie Whitney, “Where did you find the resolve after four days to set out to make this kind of a difference?”
Gonzalez called on people to support the gun control movement because “they need to show that they are actively supporting us, because in reality, they’re actively supporting each other.” Witt, rather than asking what that means, responded with an approving “Mmm.” Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Gonzalez then said, “We need to protect everybody from the greed of the corporations in our society right now.”
What does “greed of the corporations” have to do with gun violence, Witt might have asked. But, no, she simply concluded the segment with “Best of luck girls, we’re all behind ya.”
By “we,” Witt presumably meant the national media, but they don’t speak for everyone. And that was the point of C.K.’s joke.