Samantha Bee flashback: Some things will be off limits 'if we're going to find the humanity on the other side'

Last January, about two weeks before Trump’s inauguration, Samantha Bee was featured in a New York Times interview along with news anchor Jane Pauley. During the interview Bee was asked if she ever worried her anti-Trump material might turn off viewers. “When you call him a ‘trash-can fire,’ you’re not worried about half the nation changing the channel?” Philip Galanes asked. Here’s Bee’s measured response:


I don’t, but maybe I should. You won’t believe this, but we don’t hear much about how people receive the show. I’m sure TBS knows. But we’re doing this for ourselves. It’s as pastoral as kids putting on a show in the barn for their parents. We’re just trying to make the tightest 21 minutes of artful satire we can…

But I hear you, Philip: We’re facing a new reality after the election. These next four years are going to require a broad coalition of straight-up decency. And we’re going to need to be able to talk to people who would normally feel alienated by my show. I’m trying to think how those conversations can take place. I’m starting to imagine America as a giant Thanksgiving table where we may need some ground rules before we break bread. Maybe some things will have to be off limits if we’re going to find the humanity on the other side of the aisle — some contact points.

What the hell happened to that Samantha Bee?

How did she get from “straight-up decency” to calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t” in 18 months? Allahpundit’s explanation, which features a Forrest Gump reference, seems like a good one (‘It’s just this stupid war…’). As is so often the case, left-wing misbehavior is always caused by right-wing provocation. In this case, a photo of Ivanka holding her baby and looking happy, was just too much for Bee’s decency to withstand.


But there’s another possible explanation which goes beyond Bee as an individual. As Erik Wemple notes at the Washington Post, Bee’s remarks seemed to delight her audience:

Anyone wondering how Bee could have been so dumb need only track down the video. (As of now, it has been removed from Facebook and YouTube.) When she levels the profanity, cheers go up from the audience, from people who would flip out if any cable host deployed the same word against a Democrat. “Full Frontal” is a must-view program for the resistance to President Trump — and Bee appears to know how to please her fans. There’s a similar dynamic on view on Twitter on Thursday afternoon: Note how many people are doubling down on Bee’s initial use of “c—“, clearly disappointed by her apology. It’s like watching the country lose its decency in real time.

So, yes, Bee seems to have abandoned her decency, but not before her audience which was cheering her on. The resistance loved it and they’re not apologizing. Here’s just one example. According to this author at The Cut, anyone working for “the patriarchy” deserves what they get:

Bee was not reinforcing or replicating the crude harm that “c**t” has been used to inflict historically: the patriarchal diminishment and vilification of women. In fact, Bee was using it to criticize a woman precisely because that woman is acting on behalf of that patriarchy, one that systematically diminishes women, destroys families, and hurts children.


And she’s not alone. Michael Moore praised Bee as a “truth-teller.”

Kathy Griffin also said Bee shouldn’t apologize.

Samantha Bee isn’t really the core of the problem here, she’s just a symptom. Her vile language is giving voice to lots of angry members of the resistance whose only regret is that she backed down. If Bee went from common decency to vile nut in 18 months it’s probably because she’s chasing her audience.

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