David Simon, Patron Saint of ~Woke~ White Dudes Who Think Recapping The Wire at Other People Is Good Conversation, did something dumb on Twitter last night.
Yesterday, news surfaced that Donald Trump would be visiting another black church tomorrow to once again attempt to win over black voters (after that church visit in Flint, Michigan went so well), but this time, the event would be a town hall. Televised on FOX News. Hosted by his devotee Sean Hannity. Plenty of folks responded on Twitter with a mix of all-caps “AHAHAHAHA” and eye-rolling incredulity, but also a general lack of surprise. The optics of having a white man host a discussion on black issues is bad enough, but the fact that the guy they got straight-up refuses to acknowledge Trump’s very apparent racism is just another bit in the SNL sketch we call life.
David Simon, the man behind NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street and The Corner, but best known for creating
Omar the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire, decided to add his two cents. Boy, it did not go well!
The tweet is not bad except for the part where HE’S A WHITE GUY USING THE N-WORD. I get that David Simon is a great and committed reporter and phenomenal storyteller who has been able to explore systematic racism and the aftermath of the War on Drugs with compelling characters and plotlines featuring talented black actors. I don’t care if he’s written brilliant dialogue where black characters do use the N-word. He doesn’t get to use the N-word, not seriously, not as a joke. The End.
After being called out for his tweet, Simon committed the cardinal sin of bad jokes: explaining the bad joke.
Basically, he’s saying: “Guys, I wrote it with an -a not an -er, but it’s a joke anyway because, that’s what racist white people would say! The logic stands, and therefore, the joke works.”
Translation: “But the joke is, it’s wrong to say the N-word, which by the way, I used with an -A, so it’s not even the bad kind.”
As much as I want to write this off as a horrifying glimpse into the absurdist Upside Down of Trump’s potential presidency, white liberal ironic racism is not a new thing, and certainly not any more acceptable just because the big ol’ orange racist is setting the curve. Simon’s tweets are still up, by the way. It’s tough to watch your talented heroes miss the point and then use that missed point as a soapbox to discuss the politics of grammar within humor. I just have one very drawn out single-syllable word for this whole situation.