And now a few words about the dearly departed … Megyn Kelly.
There will be no tears for Ms. Kelly. Anyone caught weeping for her may suffer the same fate, as they may be seen, as she was, as an insensitive racist. Besides, it’s not easy to weep for a beautiful blond who was earning more than $20 million a year and will wind up with a golden parachute that would make Midas blush.
Ms. Kelly’s ostensible crime as the whole world now knows was saying (OMG, on national television, no less) that she didn’t see anything wrong with white people dressing up in “blackface” for Halloween (or black people appearing as white) – a sloppy, historically insensitive remark for which she apologized, citing ignorance of how white racists dressed up as blacks at minstrel shows in the bad old days.
By the way, I say “ostensible crime” because her real crime, I suspect, was getting bad ratings, which in her business warrants an automatic death sentence. That she once worked for Fox News didn’t help.
Out of concern for my own well-being, let me be very, very clear: I am in no way defending her use of that term. But be assured that in this age of hypersensitivity about all sorts of speech “crimes,” all of us are one term away from getting our heads chopped off. Ask anyone you know if this thought has occurred to him. If he says “no” don’t let him get anywhere near sharp objects.
This, of course, does not mean that bigots must automatically lose their jobs. As the always thoughtful Victor Davis Hanson points out in National Review: “Had Kelly been unapologetically progressive (especially one deemed vital to the cause), like Elizabeth Warren, who fabricated and profited from an entire minority identity, then she might well have survived the incident. Perhaps had she been a minority, such as Sarah Jeong, and written (rather than spoken off the cuff) far more racially offensive things about whites, she would have kept her job — as did Jeong on the New York Times editorial board after her racist tweets surfaced, such as this, from 2014: ‘Dumbass f****** white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.’”
Some bigots – and Ms. Jeong, based on her many nasty tweets, surely fits into that category – get a pass. She’s not a white male, after all.
So while we condemn real bigotry, let’s acknowledge that many Americans now fear the wrath of the ever-vigilant vigilantes who roam the airwaves and the internet to spot and call out racists and other bigots who have committed crimes, real or imagined.
“But beware of fickle revolutionary temperament,” Mr. Hanson concludes his essay. “Soon our 21st-century Robespierres may become so promiscuous and obnoxious in their beheading that they wear out even the mob — and find themselves next in line on a counterrevolutionary chopping block.”
One can only hope.