September 15, 2016
Turns out I wasn”t the only one disturbed by the post-roast pile-on. One of my favorite left-leaning writers was put off as well. Tim Sommer writes for the New York Observer. He’s also written for Salon and the Village Voice. Tim is perhaps best known for his impact on the music industry while working as an exec at Atlantic Records, and as a producer and on-air personality at MTV and VH1. He was influential in the discovery and rise of such artists as the Beastie Boys and Hootie & the Blowfish. Tim and I don”t often see eye to eye politically, but he’s an honest guy and a damn good writer (seriously”his Observer pieces are a must-read for anyone into serious rock journalism). The day after the Facebook Live re-roast of Coulter, Tim posted a Facebook rant, which I”ve excerpted here:
Ohhh a lot of people are so excited Ann Coulter got bashed by some celebrities. Boy, we showed her. Love me love me love me I”m a liberal. But get this, and listen good: Ann Coulter is an easy target. Almost like a fictional action movie super-villain. It means nothing to attack her, it takes no guts to attack her. It’s like putting up a “War Is Bad For Children and Other Living Things” poster and assuming you”ve stopped Vietnam.
Now, for Tim, the main thing that needs to be stopped is Trump, which he made clear in the rant. But his candor regarding liberal self-congratulation over the Coulter roast was typically “Sommerian”: honest, introspective, and unafraid. I asked him if he had any thoughts on my back-and-forth with comedy writer Skakel, and the seeming double standard regarding Tyson.
Definitely a double standard with Tyson. I think this has a lot to do with the “boys club” aspect of both the roast and its writers, and their idealization of jocks. Mind you, I like Tyson”I think he is a genuinely (very) intelligent man with a remarkable story to tell”but I think there is zero chance that they would have accepted those conditions if a woman requested them. And you know what else? If it had been a famous male right winger up there, they would have gotten it a lot easier and a lot less “personal.” And let’s add this, too: Ann Coulter may be a lot of things, but she’s not ugly. There’s definitely an ageist and sexist thing going on, and as the last roast underlined, this whole perception that supporters of the “left” are somehow superior to people who support the “right.” Heck, we are in no way superior, that is utter bullshit, and disgusting, divisive thinking. Our set of causes and conditions have led us to subscribe to different ideas and dogma than those leaning toward the right. This sense of “superiority” was on display at the roast, and it was ugly and divisive.
Sure, it was fun for leftists to get high off the vaped schadenfreude of the Coulter roast and the post-roast pile-on. But in fact, the entire week’s worth of Coulter-bashing exposed things that leftists really shouldn”t oughta be celebrating: butt-hurt men bitching about the fact that a woman didn”t see them for the all-caps “ELITES” they think they are, and a “boys” club” willing to kowtow to a violent convicted rapist, while publicly attacking a woman for making a far less severe demand (in fact, Coulter didn”t so much make a demand as she simply said no).
Break it all down, deconstruct it, and it becomes clear that the left really shouldn”t have cheered quite so enthusiastically.
Whether or not the Rob Lowe roast was funny is a purely subjective call. I found it only intermittently humorous. But the aftermath was unintentional dark comedy at its absolute finest. I may not be ELITE enough to be a professional roast writer, but when it comes to good comedy, to quote the late Potter Stewart, I know it when I see it.