Three years ago, before his ritual public shaming, [Aziz] Ansari was writing pieces like “Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family” for the New York Times, foreseeing an outbreak of Islamophobia. As it turns out, the abuse heaped on Ansari in the Trump era came from another direction entirely. He doesn’t mention Trump in the new set, except to make fun of how the president gets blamed every time someone gets triggered. He has a bit about one of those social-media flare-ups, this one involving a pepperoni pizza: Were the pepperonis arranged in the form of a swastika? Was it an accident? Except Ansari made up the story to see if he could get people to opine on a fictitious controversy, to express their mindlessness in the form of applause. This sounds like an excerpt from Kevin Williamson’s new book:
Every night, people clap. First, the first group claps. “Yeah, it’s a swastika. That’s what the country is. Trump probably put those pepperonis on there himself!” Then, the other crew claps. “No way. The country’s way too sensitive. PC police. Snowflakes!” And what these people don’t realize is despite believing completely different things, they’re actually the same person. ’Cause they don’t really care about learning, and exploring, and discussing, they just want to chime in with their little programmed reactions.
The standing ovation Ansari gets at the beginning of his show, and the hearty reaction to his anti-woke new material, are heartening. Ansari was placed in the public stocks and pelted with rotten fruit for a while, and he’s just fine. No, he’s even better. Now let’s hear what Louis C.K. has to say.
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(Classical reference in headline.)