Michelle Wolf delivered the best White House Press Corps monologue since Colbert's amazing 2006 performance, and it has made the right (as well as establishment handwringers) really angry!
The routine (wildly NSFW, but you can fire up a VPN and read the transcript if you're worried about your boss) was a canonical example of "punching up" — tearing into the press, Fox News, the President, the Vice President, Roy Moore, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and a host of well-fed, well-insulated, physically safe and secure public figures.
The resulting tooth-gnashing from the right has been a perfect example of "political correctness," the idea that "you just can't say anything anymore."
As Nathan J Robinson writes, it's an illuminating example of what opponents of "political correctness" are actually upset about: not idea that we are unwilling to be offended, but rather being enraged because we "can't make jokes at the expense of the powerless and marginalized, that there's less tolerance for humor that rests on cruel stereotypes about people of color, women, disabled people, queer people, and fat people."
The people who rage against "PC" don't want the right to "offend people" — they want the right to "offend people who can't fight back."
I think Nice Lady is a brilliant TV special, and I could not stop laughing at a bit about how it's easier to make a human being than to make a croissant. (And how much better it would be if sex could accidentally produce croissants instead of accidentally producing babies.) But even if you don't actually like Wolf's style or humor, she very clearly demonstrates that there's nothing about liberal feminism that means you can't be offensive or boundary-pushing. People who insist that "political correctness" means a stifling of the right to "be offensive" are being imprecise. In fact, they are upset that they can't make jokes at the expense of the powerless and marginalized, that there's less tolerance for humor that rests on cruel stereotypes about people of color, women, disabled people, queer people, and fat people. (Though Wolf did make a fat joke about Chris Christie, which is arguably more acceptable since it's at the expense of a powerful person. I am sure this can be debated.)
It was fun watching people like Maggie Haberman and Mika Brzezinski publicly announce how appalled they were after Wolf told some jokes about their industry, and her routine was obviously the best White House Correspondents' Dinner since Stephen Colbert's infamous appearance. It's a gross event, and it's only ever good when the attendees get mercilessly roasted. But there is an even more important conclusion to draw from Michelle Wolf's comedy. It helps us see through the lie about political correctness, this idea that feminists are trying to kill humor. They're not trying to kill it. They're trying to turn it against the people who deserve to be its targets: the Trumps and Weinsteins and Cosbys and Moores of the world. And those people aren't upset because they value edgy humor, but because they want humor that bullies the powerless rather than exposing the grotesque immorality of the powerful. The cult of "civility" is the real "political correctness," the stifling consensus that prevents us from telling the truth about the people in charge.
What Being "Politically Incorrect" Actually Looks Like [Nathan J Robinson/Current Affairs]