Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
You might think that, however strongly you feel about a subject — or even a president — “leave those kids alone” is generally a fine motto.
Especially for tweeting.
Yet “Saturday Night Live” writer Katie Rich thought it amusing to offer this inauguration thought last Friday: “Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter.”
The Barron she was referring to was Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son.
A Twitter joke about a child and school shootings is about as wise as grabbing the pope by his cassock and offering to show him a good time. Especially, the deeply cynical might suggest, when the the ultimate object of the joke is an executive producer of a show on the same channel as yours. And, oh, the president.
It’s a kid. There are surely better targets around.
As former first child Chelsea Clinton took to Twitter to muse: “Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does — to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing @POTUS policies that hurt kids.”
This Rich herself appeared to have finally realized (or been persuaded to realize) when she tweeted on Monday: “I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions offensive words. It was inexcusable I’m so sorry.”
She had already been, the New York Times reported, suspended indefinitely. NBC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
But we’re talking about Twitter here, so there’s already a #KeepKatieRich hashtag. There, the great, the good and the possibly not-so-good offered their perspective.
Famed Chicago-based comedy theater Second City, of which Rich is a member, tweeted: “Got your back.”
Cards Against Humanity writer Jacqueline Felker was a little more effusive: “You can’t make a joke about a child and write for SNL, but you can talk about sexually assaulting women and be the President.”
Comedian and TV writer Travon Free had a reminder of times gone by: “I love Katie. Her joke was funny/harmless but talk to me when y’all can erase 8 yrs of calling the Obama daughters monkeys.”
Naturally, detractors paid a visit to this hashtag too. For example, this from Trump-supporting Jennifer: “With liberals begging to #KeepKatieRich after she bullied a TEN yr old CHILD; They can NEVER cry or whine about cyberbullying EVER AGAIN!!”
“Conan” writer Laurie Kilmartin addressed one important essence: “i have tweets in my drafts folder that I’m glad I sat on. There but for the grace of me not hittin’ that tweet button go I.”
This was Twitter, a site of relative insignificance to most people (and most careers) that has somehow taken on a peculiar power.
Why is the need of Twitterers so great to instantly “win” the site for the day? It’s a modern phenomenon that is worth far less than it pretends. In so many ways.
Then there’s the issue of comedy. “Saturday Night Live” has decided to be in the anti-Trump vanguard. Some might find this a touch odd, given that Trump hosted the show in 2015.
The best comedy — especially political comedy — has, at its heart, truth. In these twisted times, every joke — from whichever side of the political spectrum — has to guard that truth very carefully and very wisely.
After all, if there’s one thing that’s being challenged more than any other currently, it’s the truth.
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