Those are fighting words.
Late-night host Samantha Bee was in one of her staccato monologues about a topic that raised her ire on Thursday. Words tumbled into words until she stumbled onto one: She called Ivanka Trump, the daughter of and adviser to President Donald Trump, a "feckless [c-word]."
I know, I know. It's too easy. It's too easy for some to say, "At least she wasn't racist."
OK. True. What she was, though, was wrong.
Think about that epithet and apply it to your mother. I don't know if that word has ever been used in a constructive way.
Say that in any street, even the internet streets, and those are fighting words. Say it on a broad platform such as basic cable and it inspires the same.
And Bee knows it. Not only because she's a woman. And not only because of the immediate outrage: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told The Washington Post that the comment was "vile and vicious." I agree. Bee wasn't even talking to me and I was offended.
She has issued an apology: "It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line and I deeply regret it." So, too, has her network, TBS, which airs Full Frontal With Samantha Bee: "It was our mistake, too."
But, there it was anyway, in what feels like just a moment after Roseanne Barr's Tuesday tweet that shall not be named took down a network show. One would think that entertainment figures would have taken inventory of their arsenal of words. Just learn a lesson.
This has been a week in which words have gone to war. Barr likened someone to an ape. Also on Tuesday, rapper Pusha T talked about Drake's mother, paternity claims and his identity in a new track. And now, there's Bee.
Ego trumps sense, I guess. (Maybe Starbucks isn't the only place that needed to close for a few hours for sensitivity training.) Roseanne's tweet was racist — and vile and vicious. Let's be clear: Roseanne's tweet and Bee's words are not the same. But they have something in common: They're both wrong.
Comedy is an art form. Lately, and for too many comedians, it's become a shock form in which people mock and disparage. I see it too often — watching TV, after all, is a good portion of my job.
Good comedy can be a well-told story, a well-placed phrase, an intelligent aside, a funny-because-it's-true anecdote. Bees' comments were none of that.
There is something deeper here than political leanings, people. This week proves that civility is hanging on by a thread. People decry Jimmy Fallon as a late-night host because he's not biting enough. We live in a world where that's a problem. Eye roll.
Bee cannot unring that bell. This cheap laugh is like a payday loan: It's coming for its money in her mea culpa, which will continue to be offered for some time.
Jokes, always weaponized in a capable comedian's arsenal, have lately become missiles of mass destruction. It's about one-upping, dropping mics and laying waste to all before you and then salting the earth. (Need an example? See Michelle Wolf, White House Correspondents' Dinner.)
To the rest of you, two notes on your next rant: Forget your politics. Watch your mouth.