Thursday, May 31, 2018

In Bad Humour

I never liked Roseanne Barr.  Even before we all found out that she was a Trump-supporting bigot who tweets racist comments while under the influence of drugs I made a point of avoiding her TC shows.  Back in the day, I did try watching a couple of episodes of her eponymous sitcom, when it was all the rage and shown on Channel 4 over here - mainly because John Goodman was in it.  But it defeated me - no matter how good John Goodman was, I couldn't get around the fact that Roseanne herself was awful.  Her delivery of lines was appalling, her characterisation terrible and her overall performance woeful.  And now she's cooked her own goose with her unpleasant tweets and gone and got her sitcom cancelled by the network all over again .  There are those who might argue that the cancellation is an extreme response to comments made by a star in a private capacity.  After all, actors and performers are entitled to political opinions and equally entitled to express them - we watch them for the characters they play, so these opinions shouldn't matter.  But, of course, they do matter.  At least they do when they fall outside of what would be considered normal political discourse.

Moreover, in the case of Roseanne Barr, it is pretty much impossible to differentiate the performer from the character she plays, leaving the impression that her views and those of the character are the same and that the network, by showing her TV series, is effectively endorsing them.  The fact is that there are plenty of actors and performers in the US who openly endorse the Republican party, just as in the UK there are plenty who support the Tories, but, despite what some people might have you believe, none of them have ever been kept off air because of these political views.  Which is as it should be, because, despite what I might think of their ideologies, these are legitimate political parties which don't, as a rule, endorse or promulgate openly racist policies.  Even being a Trump supporter shouldn't get you fired as that alone doesn't require you to tweet racist comments.  That's where Roseanne Barr stepped over the line.  Of course, while the network should be commended for its swift action, I strongly suspect that it was motivated less by moral considerations than by economic ones.  The fact is that these days an advertising supported non-subscription network can't afford to offend either any key viewer demographics or advertisers.  If viewers are offended by a star's private comments and turn off, then they won't see the commercials advertisers have paid big bucks for and they'll withdraw their custom.  Said advertisers also can't afford to have their products associated with views which might affect sales.  Money, I'm afraid, is always the bottom line and is, ultimately, bigger than any star.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home