JOURNALISTS LAUGH AS WE EMBRACE A NEW LEVEL OF DEPRAVITY

“[I]n a routine that swerved from raunchy to downright nasty,” according to The Washington Post, comedian Michelle Wolf crossed new boundary lines on Saturday.[1] Speaking at the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner, Wolf lobbed a salvo of caustic, crass, and hateful comments masquerading as “jokes.” In the course of 19 minutes, Michelle Wolf set a new standard for acceptable depravity during prime-time political discourse.

 

She introduced her routine by saying, “Here we are, the White House Correspondents’ dinner: Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with a Trump, let’s get this over with. Yup, kiddos, this is what you’re getting tonight.”[2] Many of her jokes are too perverse to even summarize. “Fox and Friends” described them as “X-rated.”[3] Nevertheless, the President of the WHCA supported Wolf, saying, “[C]omedy is meant to be provocative.”[4] And Wolf has doubled-down on her comments, saying “I mean, I’m honestly– I wouldn’t change a single word that I said. I’m very happy with what I said. And I’m glad I stuck to my guns.”[5]

 

Most reporters have chosen to focus on her callous commentary of the women associated with President Trump:

We should definitely talk about the women in the Trump administration. There’s Kellyanne Conway. Man, she has the perfect last name for what she does: Conway. … All she does is lie. … It’s like that old saying: If a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree?

… There’s also, of course, Ivanka. … [S]he’s about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. … She’s the Diaper Genie of the administration. On the outside, she looks sleek but the inside — it’s still full of s—.

… And, of course, we have Sarah Huckabee Sanders. … I love you as Aunt Lydia in “The Handmaiden’s Tale.” … [S]he burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies. And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders. … Like, what’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know: Aunt Coulter.[6]

Shameful as these comments may be, they have overshadowed a far more despicable remark:

Mike Pence is also very anti-choice. He thinks abortion is murder, which, first of all, don’t knock it till you try it. And when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you got to get that baby out of there.

And, yes, sure, you can groan all you want. I know a lot of you are very antiabortion. You know, unless it’s the one you got for your secret mistress. It’s fun how values can waver.[7]

 

Deeply troubling is that Michelle Wolf genuinely believes this lack of respect for human life is funny. In an interview with GQ published the day before her monologue, Wolf said, “I think it’s irresponsible of a comedian to get onstage and knowingly say things that are making a point but not making a joke. I am totally fine with people that make a point and a joke, but if you do not have a joke in there, I do not know why you’re saying it onstage.”[8] And she’s not alone; numerous comedians have affirmed her taste. Kathy Griffin tweeted, “She was hilarious and confident,”[9] and Rosie O’Donnell tweeted that “wolf was perfect prepared and poignant.”[10]

 

While many journalists have expressed concern that Wolf went too far in her comments against Sarah Huckabee Sanders, very few have been willing to address the joke about abortion, and many have refused to condemn Wolf’s vitriolic perversity. Instead, after laughing at her jokes, journalists have championed Michelle Wolf’s routine as an example of free speech. However, God warns in Isaiah 5:20“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

 

Many of our nation’s most prominent journalists may find value and humor in it, but God does not share their sense of values and humor:

  • “[God] mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed” (Prov. 3:34)
  • “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:4).
  • “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).
  • “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Prov. 15:2–4).
  • “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse” (Prov. 10:31–32).

 

It is easy to dismiss Saturday’s events as partisan discourse, but Saturday’s performance was more than that. It was a celebration of perverse humor that holds nothing sacred—even the lives of our nation’s most innocent. It was a pivotal moment of affirming a cultural shift within our nation, and we should be outraged and grieved by this shift because God takes note of cultures that are unwilling to blush at such vulgarity (Jer. 8:12). It is shameful that the standard for acceptable discourse has fallen to such depths!

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Timothy Zebell

Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Farhi, Paul. “At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the Buzz was Reduced to a Snore – Until Michelle Wolf Showed Up.” The Washington Post, April 29, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/at-the-white-house-correspondents-dinner-the-buzz-was-reduced-to-a-snore–until-michelle-wolf-showed-up/2018/04/29/854829b4-498f-11e8-8b5a-3b1697adcc2a_story.html?utm_term=.d18bf87e763d.

2. Borchers, Callum. “Michelle Wolf’s Caustic Comedy Routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Annotated.” The Washington Post, April 29, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/04/29/michelle-wolfs-caustic-comedy-routine-at-the-white-house-correspondents-dinner-annotated/?utm_term=.0f1dc1db6aaf.

3. Folley, Aris. “‘Fox & Friends’ Hosts Blast Michelle Wolf: ‘The Whole Things was Really X-Rated.’” The Hill, April 30, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. http://thehill.com/homenews/media/385500-fox-friends-blasts-michelle-wolf-the-whole-thing-was-really-x-rated.

4. CNN. “WHCA President Defends Michelle Wolf’s Jokes.” YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II553BMJ3sI&feature=youtu.be (accessed May 1, 2018). 

5. Morin, Rebecca. “Michelle Wolf: ‘I Wouldn’t Change a Single Word that I Said.” Politico, April 30, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/30/michelle-wolf-correspondents-dinner-560667.

6. Borchers, Callum. “Michelle Wolf’s Caustic Comedy Routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Annotated.”

7. Ibid.

8. Peele, Anna. “Michelle Wolf is Ready to Roast Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” GQ, April 27, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. https://www.gq.com/story/michelle-wolf-white-house-correspondents-dinner-interview.

9. Sanchez, Luis. “Kathy Griffins Defends Michelle Wolf: She Did the Job She was Hired to Do.” The Hill, April 29, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/385421-kathy-griffin-defends-michelle-wolf-she-did-the-job-she-was-hired-to-do.

10. Nordyke, Kimberly and Patrick Shanley. “Comedians Defend Michelle Wolf Amid Criticism Over Sarah Huckabee Sanders Jokes at White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” The Hollywood Reporter, April 29, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/comedians-defend-michelle-wolf-criticism-sarah-huckabee-sanders-jokes-at-white-house-correspondents-1106809.