If you’re going to be funny, you’re going to offend someone. It’s as simple as that, especially for those of us trying hard to be funny consistently day in and day out. I take it as an article of faith that, sooner or later, I’m going to piss off a large segment of my audience. I’m just hoping that, when that day comes, I can handle it with a little more class and grace than this:
Edit: Since Kimberly deleted her Twitter account, the above-linked Tweet text doesn’t appear here. It originally read, “Freedom of Speech includes the freedom to offend others. You aren’t granted a right to not be offended in this life #getoverit #ROC “
Kimberly has been a friendly voice on social for quite a while, so I’m disappointed in having to write any of this. But whether or not someone is offended is not about rights or about your legal position to hold a specific job. She acknowledges that she’s offended people in the worst possible way, by shoving it right back in their faces and telling them to go to hell. A little contrition would have been nice.
To back up a pace, the City of Rochester just announced that, going forward, their health care plan will cover medical procedures and drugs related to transgender people’s transition to an opposite gender. This move has been largely applauded by LGBT activists, but apparently on the Kimberly and Beck show, there is a colossal, Medieval disconnect between the reality of transgender existence and the hosts’ personal gripes. You can listen to the whole 12-minute laugh-a-thon here, but to summarize:
“So, if you’re a guy and you wanna..”
“You want a va-jay…”
“The city will pay for it.”
Over and over again, through out the segment, Kimberly and Beck both refer to transgender as a choice. Over and over again, they say “if you want.” Transgender is not a choice and efforts to either change sex or otherwise find a healthy way to live with the dichotomy are neither entitled hand-outs nor whims. They are valid medical treatments for a very real situation.
All of this might have been fine – even when they cracked that people who are transgender must be “nut jobs” – had not a listener chosen to call in and try to patiently explain to them that they were offending a lot of people. This, Kimberly and Beck took as an excuse to lay into it harder, ultimately choosing to pick on the example of a local transgender boy who is playing softball on a girls team.
In this, Kimberly is quick to point out that she never mentioned where the kid goes to school. One of many CYA statements she makes through the whole thing, proof enough that she knows she’s over the line:
CALLER: “This girl – she’s a girl, she chose to be a girl, you keep referring to her as a boy and that’s incredibly disrespectful..”
KIMBERLY: “Wasn’t she born a boy?”
CALLER: “Um. Biologically.”
KIMBERLY: “You’re talking about the varsity player on the girl’s softball team, right? Here in the area – we didn’t mention what school.”
It takes about eleven out of the twelve minutes of this segment for Kimberly to get around to “there’s not enough love in this world,” and other platitudes. One imagines someone in the booth vigorously flapping their arms for them to STFU, already, but maybe not.
What starts as a pretty work-a-day bit of selfish Conservative whining – “everybody’s getting something for my tax dollars but me” – ends up as an ugly demonstration of brutish shaming. Is that a fire-able offence? I don’t know and I’m just as happy not to have to decide. Lons got fired for comparable offenses, albeit with a grown-up and a politician. But rightly or wrongly, that ship has sailed. We’ll just have to wait to see what happens next.
UPDATE (pre-publish, can you believe it?): Facebook and Twitter profiles are starting to disappear. James Battaglia reports that Kimberly’s Twitter account is gone. I now see that Beck’s Facebook profile is down. Well, that doesn’t look good.