Comedy Is Not Pretty

“I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” That tweet (from the official Colbert Report account) was intended to be a sarcastic parody of a recent move by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. As The New Yorker’s Jay Caspian Kang explains: “Everyone who hates both racism and Daniel Snyder laughs. On Twitter, where words often slip free of their contexts, the unaccompanied punch line sparked a firestorm of outrage, which quickly escalated into a campaign demanding the show’s cancellation.” And so we end up with a campaign to cancel Colbert stirred up by people who didn’t get the joke and who didn’t really want to cancel the show anyway. Welcome to the new age of knee-jerk digital activism where the joke might be on us.

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