Just because it’s not insulting to you doesn’t mean it’s not insulting

There are people on the left and right complaining now because Disney has placed a warning before the Muppet Show telling people that there may be objectionable stereotypes from a TV show from 40 years ago. “There’s nothing in the Muppets that is insulting!” they say.

And, not surprisingly, these people are not the ones who were the target of the stereotypes.

Look, let’s be honest: A lot of humor that was acceptable back then is not today, but when you go “It’s not insulting to me” you sound like the white guys in the 1930s who said “What do you mean I can’t do blackface comedy any more? I don’t see anything wrong with it and neither does my audience!”

As a fan of the Muppets, I’ve been watching the shows and enjoying them, but yeah, I can see how there are some bits that some groups may find objectionable, like an entire show based around an evil gypsy curse, or Johnny Cash performing in front of a Confederate flag, or Jonathan Winters putting on a native American headdress and talking about Injuns and so on.

So what’s wrong with Disney basically saying, “Hey, look, we’re not censoring anything but some of these things may be objectionable, and this is especially important when it’s a show impressionable children may watch”?  Isn’t it a good thing that Disney is saying “We do not endorse these things”?

And it’s not like the Muppets are alone in this by any means, and in fact, they’re probably less likely to have these things in their show given how liberal Jim Henson was. 

So let me once more reiterate that whether it is insulting to you doesn’t matter, because it clearly is to somebody. And if that somebody tells you it is, who are you to argue otherwise? Listen to the experts. If women tell you something is insulting to women, listen to them. If black people tell you they are afraid of police, listen to them. They’re the experts. 

 

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