There’s nothing funnier than laughing at a woman trying to stay true to her beliefs.
That appears to be the understanding of Emmy host Andy Samberg, who, during his opening monologue, decided to single out Kim Davis, the Democrat Kentucky clerk who was jailed for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
(Warning: The quote below may offend some readers.)
“Paula Deen is on this season of ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ but I’ve got to say, if I wanted to see an intolerant lady dance I would have gone to one of Kim Davis’ four weddings,” Samberg cracked.
“It’s so ironic,” he added, “that she came out of jail to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ when you consider how many dudes have boned each other to that song.”
(So much for an Emmys show that parents could comfortably watch with their children—which might be one reason why ratings were down 20 percent this year, according to Variety.)
It’s no secret that Hollywood is pro-same-sex marriage.
But why pick on Davis?
Yes, she was married four times—before she converted to Christianity. (According to The Guardian, Davis married for the fourth time in 2009, while her legal counsel told U.S. News and World Report she converted to Christianity around four years ago.) As The Federalist’s witty headline, “Kentucky Clerk Didn’t Follow Christianity Before Converting to It,” expresses it, the media is missing the fact that Davis personally changed. Or, to adopt our president’s terms, evolved.
But it’s also baffling because no one should understand better than Hollywood the moral drive Davis has. After all, long before gay marriage was legal, the entertainment industry has worked to make gay characters and gay marriage a sympathetic cause.
In 2001, three years before any states had legal same-sex marriage, “Kissing Jessica Stein,” a movie about a lesbian romance, earned rave reviews from critics. Four years later, when same-sex marriage was only legal in Massachusetts, “Brokeback Mountain,” which chronicled the love affair of two men, won three Oscars and was nominated for Best Picture.
And let’s not forget “Will and Grace,” the TV show, which ran from 1998 to 2006, and focused on the friendship between a gay man and a straight woman. When Vice President Joe Biden did his famous interview on “Meet the Press” in 2012, announcing his support for gay marriage, he cited “Will and Grace.”
“When things really began to change is when the social culture changes,” Biden said. “I think ‘Will and Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anybody’s ever done so far.”
“Will and Grace” star Debra Messing tweeted at the time:
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) May 6, 2012
In other words, Hollywood’s dedication to what many clearly viewed as the moral cause of “marriage equality” helped bring about the change in American culture.
Yet where is the empathy for Davis, who shares Hollywood’s passion for being true to one’s beliefs, but has a different belief than most stars on gay marriage?
Sure, no one’s expecting the Emmys to celebrate Davis. But does she deserve mockery?
Entertainment, at its best, can serve as a way to encourage people to follow their conscience, to dare defiance of societal norms that are wrong. In another world, if Davis had been a clerk jailed because she was defying the law and issuing gay marriage licenses, she could have been the heroine who inspired a biopic who was played by Meryl Streep.
This wasn’t the only time empathy was in short supply at the Emmys. Also in the opening monologue, Samberg opted to make fun of both a Republican and a Democrat. He mocked the Democrat as “always look[ing] like his flight is delayed … Guy’s a mess.”
The Republican? Well, Samberg mocked him as “seem[ing] racist.”
Yup, that’s definitely picking on both sides equally.
For a culture that claims to embrace tolerance, Hollywood sure doesn’t show much to conservatives.