Cultural liberalism: ‘Suffocating’ conservatives?
Democrats, you have a “Samantha Bee problem,” said Ross Douthat in The New York Times. Latenight comedy and talk shows used to focus on entertainment and laughs, but today, nearly all of them are hosted by smug, indignant liberals like Bee, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver. Their specialty: “hectoring monologues” mocking conservatives. Other cultural institutions are also being “dragged further to the left”: Award shows have embraced “the race-gender-sexual identity agenda in full”; universities indoctrinate students with those same ideas; “even the NFL is having its Black Lives Matter moment,” with multiple players joining Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests. To the Left, these developments signal “cultural victory,” but out there in flyover country, millions of Americans are feeling scorned, “suffocated,” and alienated. They’re voting for Donald Trump as an act of rebellion—a rare chance to “register dissent” against this “new cultural orthodoxy.”
Sounds like conservatives want their own “safe spaces,” said Silpa Kovvali in Salon.com. Apparently, late-night comedy is “triggering” and makes “white Americans feel vulnerable and under attack.” If pop culture considers black, Hispanic, gay, and trans people fully equal members of society, and makes of fun of people who are panicked over transwomen in women’s bathrooms, “it is inherently alienating” to straight, white, socially conservative men. Support for “basic human rights” shouldn’t be a partisan and alienating act, said Sarah Rense in Esquire.com. When conservatives say they feel suffocated by comedians standing up for the rights of gays, blacks, and other minorities, what they’re really saying is they miss “the good old days,” when these people had no rights and were targets of jokes themselves.
But surely liberals can see that the “late-night lefty-comedian industrial complex” is fueling the resentment that gave rise to Trump, said The Scrapbook in WeeklyStandard.com. “The more rabid their attempts to discredit Trump, the more they help him.” It is surely no coincidence that Jimmy Fallon— whose apolitical, joking banter with Trump outraged liberals—has the highest late-night ratings. What’s wrong with simply making people laugh? said Ben Domenech in The Federalist.com. Shrill, self-righteous “humor” isn’t very funny. If all culture serves a single, political ideology, “we risk a culture where the tribes become increasingly permanent, and increasingly incapable of talking one to another.”