One of the most tired jokes to surface on Twitter in the wake of Thursday’s big Colbert news involved one of the most tired social media controversies of recent weeks.
Looks like the #cancelcolbert people got their way.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) April 10, 2014
It would, however, appear that the founders of #CancelColbert don’t quite see it that way. After initially tweeting that she refused to weigh in on Colbert’s new job (the tweet, since deleted, included the phrase “silence is a politic” and a wonderful hashtag to the effect of #IAmNotYourClickbait), Suey Park and collaborator Eunsong Kim penned an impassioned op-ed on the subject for Time. It would appear that #CancelColbert lives on:
The cross-promotion of more white male celebrities prove it: The entertainment industry has perfected the development of white, cis, straight, male characters. The marginalization of “other voices” — except when those “others” are brought in only to aid in the cheap punch line of a joke — is complete. This is aggression that we do not have to accept. We will protest this until it ends.
This protest all started, you’ll recall, over a joke Colbert made on the show in late March, which was then tweeted, out of context, on the show’s Twitter account. The bit was meant to mock Redskins’s owner Dan Snyder’s Native American charity with an even more absurd “Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals.” Park and Kim, who have created something of a Twitter empire around their outspoken, hashtag-fueled activism, promptly launched the tag #CancelColbert — protesting, they said, the implicit stereotyping and marginalization in the tweet.
But if the hashtag was meant to take Colbert down a notch, it clearly didn’t work. He’ll begin hosting “The Late Show” when David Letterman steps down next year.
Park and Kim are taking that as a sign, they write, that “belittling the voices, activism, and writing of women of color is a profitable venture” … which perhaps gives their campaign a little too much credit. Also, a lingering question here: If “silence is a politic,” what is tweeting and deleting?
Update: This post originally said Colbert is taking over the “Tonight Show,” which is obviously quite incorrect. It’s been fixed! We regret both the error and the fact that so many late-night shows have such similar names.