I don’t agree with Sarah Silverman in a variety of ways. I would hazard to say I disagree with her in most ways, but as I’ve said before in my response to Eminem’s cypher, most often I find myself siding with libertarians and ‘conservatarians’ as it were, but I’m a political independent, and I like to believe that my mind could be changed if I saw new, credible information. While that’s my editorial point of view, if I have an editorial bias it’s toward promoting love and unity in American culture. I also strongly believe that the amount of division is this country is dangerous.
Disagreement is fine, but the only way we’ll achieve a healthy country that can co-exist and get along is by talking to each other, agreeing to disagree, and engaging. Isolation and retreat are the easy way out, and like most easy ways out, the benefit is only in the short term. Isolating viewpoints is how we get neo-nazis and antifa.
First, I’ll give you my criticisms of the show. They’re obvious. Sarah is grating. She visits a Louisiana working class white family and sets them up in a way that her liberal audience can make fun of them. She’s starting a debate with a group of people who don’t have the same level of education or communication skill as her; she’s debating people she can easily beat — punching down, as it were. In her opening song, which lasts like 45 goddamn minutes, she talks about white privilege and my eyes roll. She is in a ten foot thick, titanium steel liberal bubble.
I don’t like that she’s using her platform to espouse a liberal viewpoint, but that’s her point of view. Would you expect something different? And if she is going to espouse a liberal viewpoint, I’d rather see it done respectfully through conversation and debate, which is what she’s attempting to do. It’s not perfectly executed — she comes off as a little douchey and it’s not clear she’s open to listening as much as she is talking, but I appreciate the gesture.
In the last segment of the show, she interviews someone who left the Westboro Baptist Church as an example of the possibility to persuade someone to come to her side and during this conversation they talk about understanding extremists.
Her guest says of extremists, “Extremists generally a not psychopaths. They’re psychologically normal people who have been persuaded by bad ideas. We can’t expect to isolate those people and hope that those ideas will fade into oblivion. We really have to be engaging with those ideas and one, understanding the mindsets of the people we’re dealing with and then effectively constructing arguments and evidence and presenting those things. And it’s not just for the sake of those extremists, because they impact the rest of society.” I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I’d agree with it if Ben Shapiro said it, and I agree when this woman says it.
Also, from a macro-level, the whole thing is a clear set up — the behind the scenes intention of the show seems to be normalizing white working class Americans to her liberal viewers so that they’ll accept them when phase 2 — conversion — comes. Hollywood is going to be pushing this narrative all next year; this is the canary in the coal mine. Seth Rogan is currently working on a sitcom with a similar editorial thrust. Were this plan to succeed, I’d disagree, because I disagree with the Democrat’s platform. But, and I’m going to put this in bold, this is fighting fair. It’s not throwing molotov cocktails at cars, it’s not pejorative name-calling, it’s not cracking someone’s head in with a stick, it’s not a heckler’s veto, it’s not screaming incoherent emotional rants. From the point of view of the civility of America, it’s a good step.