I believe that it’s time we asked Trevor Noah for a copy of his birth certificate. The world demands to know if he was really born in South Africa and not in Kenya as some have suggested. And while we are at it I believe that it’s equally as important to know if he did inhale and if he indeed had a sexual relationship with that woman? Because truthfully I suspect he might have. I also think we need to understand if beneath that smiling veneer lies a radicalized Muslim extremist with evil plans to take over the world. One joke at a time.
Given the storm in the outrageously small teacup over a some “found” tweets that are clearly meant to be funny (even if they aren’t) over a 7 year period, one has to wonder if we have lost our politically corrects minds? At least I do. He is a comedian for Pete’s sake! And comedians play off stereotypes and laugh at perceptions and draw attention to them. And sometimes we shift uncomfortably in our seats and we say “Whoa that was too far. That was too close. That was too soon”. But that’s what makes them funny. Or not.
Trevor Noah is not an anti-Semite. Well until yesterday that is. He went to a high school in the Jewish area of Johannesburg attended by many Jewish kids, had multiple Jewish friends (yeah, yeah – “some of my best friends”) performed repeatedly at Jewish functions in South Africa and was never, never known to be anti-Semitic. I am all for naming and shaming. I am all for pointing out and calling out. But this time I am embarrassed by our collective reaction.
Yeah. I don’t like the tweets. Especially the one where he indicates that Israel is not peace loving. But primarily I don’t like them because they are not funny. And I would be much happier if he didn’t tweet them. But has to keep in mind that Noah is functioning as a comedian within a society that is inherently biased towards Israel, whose press is vehemently one sided on all things Israel and who at the time of his tweet about Israel had just reported on the Turkey flotilla incident in a manner that could not be interpreted any other way but negatively toward Israel. That is the social context. Should Noah, at that time a young twenty something year old, not yet that successful stand up comic have scoured the Israeli press in order to determine the other side? It’s a lot to ask in my view.
Unless of course our reaction is not towards Trevor Noah at all. And that maybe it’s a reaction to our disappointment in the guy that now resides in the White House. He too, at the time of his appointment, was a young Black guy, full of hope and potential and who has turned to be no friend of Israel. And who disappointed us and let us down. And had we only, at the time of his election, been more vigilant and more careful then maybe we would not be saddled with him today. But here’s the thing. Obama is not meant to be funny. He is not a comedian. He is the subject of one. And although celebrity status is a akin to political status, they are actually not the same thing. And I suspect that we are getting this all mixed up.
We need to be careful to not look for anti-Semites under every rock. We need to not convict some the past crimes of others and we need to make sure that we aren’t our own worst enemy. Mostly, we need to watch some of Trevor Noah’s shows, because he is really, really funny.