A little late-evening closure for you on two of the more heavily trafficked items of the day. All we need now is for Chris Rock to hug it out with Jason Mattera and the triangle of celebrity healing will be complete.
Here’s Hanks’s statement, via the Daily Caller. One lingering question: What the hell was Glenn Frey doing co-hosting a fundraiser that was swank enough to land Tom Hanks as emcee?
“I was blindsided when one of the parents got up on the stage in a costume that was hideously offensive then and is hideously offensive now,” Hanks’ said in a statement provided by his New York City publicist.
“What is usually a night of food and drink for a good cause was, regrettably, marred by an appalling few moments,” said Hanks, who is a prominent supporter of President Barack Obama.
DeNiro is less apologetic, but then he has less to apologize for:
DeNiro’s response was polite, if not particularly apologetic.
“My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone —- especially the First Lady,” DeNiro said in a statement to TPM.
A campaign spokeswoman for the First Lady, who was present at the fundraiser, said earlier in an e-mail that the joke was “inappropriate.”
I tried to muster the requisite outrageous outrage for his silly joke about whether America’s ready for a white First Lady and, like Ann Coulter and Ace, just couldn’t get to the top of the hill. But that’s not the point, right? The point is to rub the left’s faces in these moments of “insensitivity” until they either (a) tone down their own politically calculated outrageous outrage at the right or (b) apply their standards for civil discourse equally to their own side, even though neither of those things will ever happen precisely because so much of it is politically calculated. (Why disarm an effective weapon or, worse, use it against your own side?) In any case, Hanks, DeNiro, and Bill Maher represent three distinct points on the sensitivity spectrum. DeNiro made an innocuous joke on a sensitive subject; he gets hit purely as a quid pro quo, on the assumption that a conservative would be demagogued for any similar joke touching on race, however innocuous. Hanks is further down the spectrum. As Ed noted this morning, he didn’t interact much with the guy in blackface (it was Frey who did most of the egging on) but he didn’t object either so he gets dinged on guilt by association, a perennially useful political tool for both sides. And then further down the spectrum is Maher, who spouts plenty of nastiness himself and gets a pass for it because, unlike Limbaugh, he carries water for the left. He’s the most egregious offender of the three because the hypocrisy in covering for him is the most glaring. That’s why he’s been taking heat for two weeks while Hanks and DeNiro will be forgotten tomorrow. Anyway, outrage metrics are fun.