I have written previously on the mob mentality, and have each time lamented how peoples’ errors should not mean that their livelihood is attacked. It is a sentiment that I stand by, but probably warrants clarification in the wake of Roseanne Barr’s bafflingly idiotic joke at Valerie Jarrett’s expense.
After looking up who exactly Valerie Jarrett is, it revealed the shockingly poor taste of said joke, and it is something that cannot simply be defended. It was something which ABC, Barr’s employer, needed to immediately address considering Barr’s profile and the apparent success of her show’s reappearance.
The cancellation of her show was clearly something that Barr’s employer felt was too hot to deal with, and ABC was within their right to distance themselves from her and her “joke”. I feel in this case, it was an employer acting quickly, rather than it being a result of a widespread campaign on the internet to pressure employers to let Barr go.
Therein lies the difference between my stance on online twitter mobs and the Roseanne case.
Barr, it seems, doesn’t seem to be taking the dismissal lying down, after her odd excuses fell flat and did nothing to redeem herself in the eyes of the audience. However, there are a couple things I do find strange, and it may require a couple posts to address the many issues.
Firstly, let’s look at Roseanne’s tweet:
In this tweet, Barr claims to have been an activist for fairness in the US. Okay, fair enough. A claim warrants investigation. However, let’s look at internet search results for “Roseanne Barr activism” to see if we can get any information on her claims. This is what I got:
It would seem that the only information that immediately comes to hand is news covering the recent events, and “Celebrities, activists and co-stars react to ‘Roseanne’ news”. There’s a bizarre repeating of the same headline here. Looking on, I began to search the second page of search results:
Holy cow, there’s a remarkable lot of parallel thinking along these myriad websites. How very, very odd that everyone seems to be repeating the same headline, over and over.
I don’t profess to understand why and how this kind of thing happens, but the result of what I am seeing is what goes beyond oddity and into Orwellian territory.
When news comes out that smears someone, particularly someone who has been saying things that align with “the bad side” or played a character on television who aligned with “the bad side”, then that news is posted again and again, so that all the possible noise you can find reinforces what story that someone, somewhere wants the people to know.
I don’t know whether all these outlets follow the same headlines because that’s what the SEO algorithm uses to garner clicks, or whether there’s a concerted effort to ensure only one story is told, but the result, to me, is as scary as glowing shit.
For now, it seems, we are at war with Roseanne, and we have always been at war with her.