Comedians have a storied history of “razzing” friends they admire to show respect for them. Long before “The Roasts of Comedy Central”, the Friars Club roasts were the best way comedians knew how to show love and admiration for fellow comrades. Time changes things, and in the age of social media, sometimes that love and admiration gets masterfully trimmed down to less than 140 characters. Upon the death of legendary feminist, advocate and actress Carrie Fisher, Steve Martin displayed his mastery of the language with a short, tongue in cheek tribute that would have likely sent Fisher rolling. Unfortunately, because Twitter isn’t a members only club, not everyone can handle when comedians do what they do best.
Enter feminism. I know. I have a vagina and even I rolled my eyes. One of biggest problems women face is likely going to be the backlash received from women taking things out of context and then finger wagging at brilliant artists, all in the name of justified outrage and a clickbait headline.
Below is a Steve Martin tweet, after the death of his friend Carrie Fisher, that was deemed offensive by the self appointed Twitter police.
In no time at all, nymag.com had a post entitled “Steve Martin, this isnt how you pay tribute to Carrie Fisher.” I write enough for websites to understand that generally speaking, the writer of the article doesn’t always get to title the article, but this title absolutely reflects the tone taken by the author. A female writer who I don’t want to shit on, because that isn’t how you do feminism (or humanism for that matter, which I tend to identify as)– I read a bunch of things she’s written, so as to not be a total hypocrite when writing this and kudos for tackling important topics. But seriously Claire, did you choose to ignore the context so that you could write a topical story because there was a deadline? Let’s start with the obvious. You chose to miss the sarcasm entirely. I get it, you saw a silver haired white guy mentioning, nay, COMPLIMENTING a woman on her looks and that was it. The hot lava shot from your eyes and the idea of considering context became impossible because, rage. Good thing we women don’t have to fight a stereotype of being emotional, huh? Did it occur to you that “wo-mansplaining “ to a grown ass man about how he should grieve for a colleague is sort of the antithesis of respecting others? Is everyone so isolated and high strung that jokes are just, no longer allowed? Did a banjo player break your heart?
Context matters, understanding of subject matter, matters. For instance, did you know that Carrie Fisher was known for being brutally funny in addition to unabashedly authentic and genuine? That tweet captured all of it. Did you know that at the time of her death, only young feminists and creepy Men’s Rights Activists were still preoccupied with her Leia sex appeal while the rest of us were admiring that she named her daughter “Billie” in an effort to raise her daughter “without gender?”
You could’ve written about that, you could’ve written about Postcards from the Edge, you could’ve written about how if Star Wars had been released three years earlier, Carrie Fisher wouldn’t have been able to have a credit card in her own name while she was a gigantic movie star. You used the last twenty-five words to mention these things. Instead, you fed the most hungry wolf. The wolf that says let’s assume the worst about strangers, and make a stranger’s death more about what I think and less about who they really were. Most importantly, you wrote about Carrie Fisher without mentioning that she passed drowning in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.
Carrie Fisher reaches out with an affectionate hand on friend Steve Martin’s back. You’re right internet, he is a total predator.