Was Michelle Wolf Rude?

Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Calling for a tax hike on the rich of a trillion or two dollars just isn’t enough to get people’s attention these days. I guess that’s because my Twitter feed is still obsessed with various forms of outrage over Michelle Wolf’s comedy routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday. I didn’t watch it, and the usual conservative complaints that she “wasn’t funny” don’t interest me. They say the same thing every year. Besides, the real outrage is over Wolf’s treatment of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was sitting at the head table right next to her. Here is Wolf’s entire bit:

We are graced with Sarah’s presence tonight. I have to say I’m a little star-struck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale. Mike Pence, if you haven’t seen it, you would love it.

Every time Sarah steps up to the podium I get excited, because I’m not really sure what we’re going to get — you know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. “It’s shirts and skins, and this time don’t be such a little bitch, Jim Acosta!”

I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. She burns facts, and then she uses that 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, you know? Is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? Like, what’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know. Aunt Coulter.

I’ll skip over whether this was funny. It depends on your taste in comics, I suppose. And Wolf is right: Sanders really does lie a lot. A lot. So I can’t say that I personally care if she was offended. Plenty of people, however, thought Wolf’s bit was really rude, and the liberal response has generally been: Have you heard what Donald Trump says??? That’s a thousand times worse!

This is what gets me about my fellow lefties sometimes. Are we really this clueless about how most human beings react to stuff like this? Namely that normal human beings draw a big distinction between saying mean things generally at a rally and saying mean things aimed at a specific person in that person’s presence.

That’s not so hard, is it? Why do we pretend not to know it? We do this an awful lot, too. Maybe we need to get out more.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate