On the Constant Hunt for Fresh Outrage. By JONAH GOLDBERG
Excerpt: This will leave everyone bald and bloodied. It’s a perfect mess befitting our imperfect age. The New York Times announced it was hiring Sarah Jeong to join its editorial board. A respected reporter on technology and the Internet, Jeong is Asian American. Nanoseconds later, a number of her objectively racist tweets emerged. “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” reads one. “Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins,” she mused in another. Jeong issued a statement explaining that she was satirically “counter-trolling” at racists who attacked her. She says her comments were not intended for a “general audience.” As someone who’s been subjected to vicious anti-Semitism from trolls, I’m inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, the New York Times issued its own statement saying it would stand by its decision to hire her, but that this “type of rhetoric was not acceptable” at the Times. One reason this episode is difficult to look at in isolation is that it is just one episode in a long-running series, with any number of spin-offs. Roseanne Barr lost her hit TV show for posting something racist on Twitter. One of the people who led, or at least joined in, the virtual mob was Hollywood director James Gunn, who tweeted during that controversy: “Roseanne is allowed to say whatever she wants. It doesn’t mean @ABCNetwork needs to continue funding her show if her words are considered abhorrent.” Two months later, Gunn’s own past offensive tweets were unearthed and he lost his job directing the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.