On the Cancellation of "Roseanne"
Five quick takes on the cancellation of "Roseanne":
1. Spare a thought for the crew members of the show and the other behind-the-scenes staff who are suffering because of Roseanne Barr's behavior. Yes, most of the cast members will probably be just fine and will find other gigs -- but there are lots of people whose names we never know who depend on a show's success, and to them, a show cancellation can be a lot like a factory closing.
2. Good for ABC for taking swift and decisive action, but shame on them for putting her on a pedestal in the first place. The tweets that got Roseanne fired are hardly out of character -- she's been reckless and thoughtless on Twitter (and in real life) for a long time, including well before her show's revival. (Remember her shameful rendition of the National Anthem? That was 28 years ago!)
3. If we're lucky, this moment will serve to put other marquee artists on notice that their behavior matters, on and off the set. We've been talking recently about the "genius bias" that has granted a sort of cover for bad behavior by "genius" performers because we're so eager to get whatever it is that they create. That genius bias needs to crumble: Artists of all types (and genders) need to know that they owe it to others to be decent people, no matter how much we applaud their performances.
4. Twitter sure offers a strange and unexpected window into the minds of a lot of prominent people. When used well, social media tools can help spread good ideas and open doors of access to people who might have felt unreachable before. But sometimes we find that transparency merely exposes crackpottery where before we never would have seen it.
5. It would be nice if someone would create a show that depicted America's working class with some much-deserved dignity. Shows like "Roseanne" and "Two Broke Girls" seem to depend upon their characters wearing crassness and hostility like porcupine quills as a defense against the world. Yet the real working class in America is full of people who keep their yards tidy, who go to PTA and Cub Scout meetings, and who go camping and attend church on weekends. Maybe it's hard to tell that story -- but someone should try.