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Choose Life: On Roseanne’s Racism, Samatha Bee’s Vulgarity, and Trainspotting’s Truth

Which is worse? A comedian calling a black woman an ape or a comedian calling a white woman a c—?

In the wake of the cancellation of the rebooted Roseanne sitcom for its star’s tweet comparing Obama administration consigliere Valerie Jarrett to a character from Planet of the Apes, many of the show’s defenders employed one of today’s most common rhetorical weapons: whataboutism, a logical fallacy aptly described by Wikipedia and linked to Russian disinformation efforts throughout the 20th century.

Roseanne’s Big League Co-Star Brings Ratings Bonanza

Finding a positively-spun conservative character on the boob tube can be as challenging as finding a Blue Dog Democrat

In the film Sideways, when Miles goes into the home of the easy waitress to reclaim Jack’s wallet, he hears muffled noises coming from the bedroom. The unsavory couple from the wrong side of the tracks are having sex on the bed, and their television set is on. Onscreen are Bush and Rumsfeld. In Little Miss Sunshine, while Dwyane and Frank wait in the lobby for the beauty pageant to start, President Bush is on the television. Frank (Steve Carell) switches the set off with a look of perturbation, as if viewing it was just another brick in the wall of their unfulfilled lives. In I, Tonya, in a scene set in the either the disreputable Jeff Gillooly or the deranged Shawn Eckhardt’s paneled basement (I can’t remember which), a Reagan poster is seen, and zoomed in on.

The entertainment landscape is rife with examples like this. This is Hollywood’s relentless message about conservatives: they are the bad people, the low-class people, the evil people that more evolved types must endure and hopefully overcome. Don’t get me wrong — I loved all three of those films…