Patterico's Pontifications

6/8/2021

Well, They Made Ellie Kemper Apologize

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:22 am



I know, I know: nobody can “make” some apologize for a non-offense, and nobody should. But in the society we live in, she probably felt like she had no choice. Surely nobody thinks she is actually sincere when she says she views having been casually labeled “KKK princess” by ugly ideologues “in a positive light”:

Actress Ellie Kemper is apologizing for her involvement in a debutante ball as a teenager that has come under recent criticism for the organization’s controversial history.

. . . .

“When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown,” she began. “The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past. I was not aware of the history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved. I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy,” she continued. “At the same time, I acknowledge that because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards.”

Kemper went on to add, “I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity and inclusiveness. I try to live my life in accordance with these values. If my experience is an indication that organizations and institutions with pasts that fall short of these beliefs should be held to account, then I have to see this experience in a positive light.”

Allahpundit puts her Grave Offense in context:

When she was 19 years old, she participated in something called the “Veiled Prophet Ball,” a debutante soiree in St. Louis. That ball had been started by a former Confederate officer in the 19th century and excluded blacks and Jews for years but was integrated in 1979, a year before Kemper was born. She took part in 1999, making her guilty of nothing more than enjoying an institution that used to be racist but no longer was.

Which virtually every other American is also guilty of. How many institutions in this country that pre-date, say, the 1950s have a spotless record on race? If Kemper has to apologize, shouldn’t everyone who’s golfed at a country club built before the 1980s need to apologize too?

I guess that’s the idea. Today, Kemper, tomorrow, the golfers.

Any institution in which you voluntarily participate, that has any sort of questionable background, now makes you — personally — subject to being labeled a racist. Do you shop at a supermarket? How dare you. Don’t you know that supermarkets have “chased white, suburban customers at the expense of black communities in urban areas”? And there you are, helping them oppress the downtrodden minority. You dirty racist.

I recently wrote a newsletter that attacks the simplistic framework you have been sold that employers typically reject resumes with black names. The argument is subtle, revolving around issues related to socio-economic status, and Nic and I have been discussing it comments to my post about it. One thing that occurred to me this morning, though, is how easily such an argument could be seized upon by Twitter and twisted into something it isn’t (“Patterico says everyone with a distinctively black name is low class!! FIRE HIM!!!1!”).

This sort of thing doesn’t just degrade the discourse, it makes it positively dangerous to discuss or do almost anything. You don’t even have try to be controversial to be a victim of this. For Ellie Kemper, this nontroversy was like a bolt of lightning out of the sky. And if you don’t engage in some apologetic theatrics in response (Allahpundit notes the “struggle session vibe” to Kemper’s remarks) there is a real danger that society will target you for some kind of mass shunning.

I’m not a fan of the term “cancel culture” given its abuse by Trumpist righties. But whatever you call it, there is a very real, twisted phenomenon out there that causes someone like Ellie Kemper to feel she must “apologize” for having done absolutely nothing wrong 22 years ago.

35 Responses to “Well, They Made Ellie Kemper Apologize”

  1. I don’t see how anyone watches the MLB or NFL; all the players who participate are racist.

    Hoi Polloi (093fb9)

  2. “The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past. I was not aware of the history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse.

    Yes it is.

    I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.

    Why should she suspect it?

    And should Stacey Abrams apologize for being a member of the Democratic Party of Georgia, an organization with a violent and racist past that even tolerated lynchings!!

    What about Alabama, where the Democratic Party even had the slogan “white supremacy” as part of its symbol on the ballot?

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/dem-party-logo-white-supremacy/

    Of course a lot depends on how much of that remained in 1997. Those people condemning Ellie Kemper for participating of course, have abolished time. Everything takes place at the same time: yesterday.

    So the question of whether anybody shunned it is not even asked. Were there any African American
    contestants, for instance?

    Most people are very far in distance and in time from that pageant.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  3. That should read:

    Of course a lot depends on how much of that remained in 1997. Most people are very far in distance and in time from that pageant. But those people condemning Ellie Kemper for participating of course, have abolished time. Everything takes place at the same time: yesterday. Etc.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  4. They are mentally ill. They live in the most permissive, privileged society in existence and have no real problems getting their daily sustenance or basic needs met, so they need to create problems to give their lives meaning.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  5. If she did not have the integrity to say what Allahpundit said, why should we care?

    She did not only debase herself. She unjustifiably vilified an organization from which she had received only good. For …?

    nk (1d9030)

  6. I guess the distinction between Georgia’s Democratic Party today and the Masked Prophet ball in 1997 is that the Democrats today are attempting to do something to redress racial inequities through government policy, while the Masked Ball to all accounts simply accepted a few black participants. Probably reluctantly. After a long history of pointedly excluding them in a city with a large Black population.

    Not all golf clubs excluded blacks and Jews. Those that did probably should be ashamed and if they haven’t said anything in apology should continue to be ashamed.

    Victor (9ebafe)

  7. @5 maybe because unlike allahpundit, and you and me, kemper doesn’t hide behind anonymity

    JF (e1156d)

  8. Ellie Kemper, meet Sterling Hayden:

    ‘Hayden’s admiration for the bravery of the Communist partisans during World War II led to a brief membership in the Communist Party from 1946. He was apparently active in supporting an effort by the Communist-controlled motion picture painters union to absorb other film industry unions. As the Red Scare deepened in the U.S., he cooperated with the House Committee on Un-American Activities, confessing his brief Communist ties and “naming names”.

    He later said “the FBI made it very clear to me that, if I became an ‘unfriendly witness’, I could damn well forget the custody of my children. I didn’t want to go to jail, that was the other thing.” Hayden had to testify publicly. He declared that joining the party was “the stupidest and most ignorant thing I have ever done in my life”. He says he had quit the party but been persuaded to return by actress Karen Morley. His wife at that time, Betty de Noon (m 1947), insisted that the names Hayden provided were already in the hands of the committee, which had a copy of the party’s membership list.

    Hayden subsequently repudiated his cooperation with the committee, stating in his autobiography, “I don’t think you have the foggiest notion of the contempt I have had for myself since the day I did that thing.”‘ – source, wikibio.whenleftiesactlikerighties.org

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  9. No! Not Jack D. Ripper! I know, I know! Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy had sapped and impurified all of his precious bodily fluids.

    nk (1d9030)

  10. @5 maybe because unlike allahpundit, and you and me, kemper doesn’t hide behind anonymity

    Gee, I never would have guessed! An actress on network TV and she is not anonymous? People know who she is? Wow! Thanks, JF!

    nk (1d9030)

  11. yeah nk i’ll gladly be your captain obvious whenever you’re oblivious to it

    JF (e1156d)

  12. Thank you! And I’ll gladly be your reading coach*. I did not ask (rhetorically) why Allahpundit could say “the what” and she could not. I asked why she could not say “the what” itself. If it’s the truth.

    *No extra charge for explaining what a rhetorical question is.

    nk (1d9030)

  13. because truth is the coin of the realm in this game she’s found herself in

    that’s sarcasm

    which would be obvious to most

    JF (e1156d)

  14. Better go check that CC&R for your homeowner’s association. Back in the bad old days they had racial and religious covenants in them, and even though they cannot be enforced they are STILL there.

    You dirty racist!

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  15. That theater you like? Did you know they showed Dirty Harry there? You must be a racist!

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  16. Kevin,

    Wouldn’t it be better if the homeowner’s association got rid of those covenants? Do you wonder how they make black or jewish people feel reading them even as they are being reassured, oh no current judges would never enforce them?

    It reminds me of Mississippi voters resisting removing anti-miscegenation provisions from their constitution, even after they were rendered moot by the Supreme Court, and then wondering why people questioned their good faith.

    Victor (9ebafe)

  17. You don’t even have try to be controversial to be a victim of this. For Ellie Kemper, this nontroversy was like a bolt of lightning out of the sky. And if you don’t engage in some apologetic theatrics in response…there is a real danger that society will target you for some kind of mass shunning.

    There has to be some other way for Ellie Kemper to handle this.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  18. @6 kemper was never a kkk princess, but robert byrd was a kkk prince into his 30’s and a revered democrat until his death just a decade ago

    if you drive through wva nearly every public works project is named after him

    JF (e1156d)

  19. Did you know they showed Dirty Harry there? You must be a racist!

    Did you know Frank Sinatra was offered the DH gig; ads were even produced; but he turned it down?

    No racist he; just a crooner.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  20. Between Ellie Kemper and John Cena, I never ever again want to hear Hollywood congratulate itself on its supposed “bravery.” No, holding the fashionable opinions of the faculty lounge and the big-city newspaper editorial board is not “speaking truth to power,” no matter how earnestly your personal assistants and deluded fanbases clap their little hands.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  21. I never ever again want to hear Hollywood congratulate itself on its supposed “bravery.”

    That’s pretty harsh given the ‘Hollywood history’ of the likes of Audie Murphy, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Mel Brooks, Robert Montgomery, John Ford, Chuck Norris, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., James Garner, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Heston… even Ronald Reagan… and so on and so on… it’s a remarkable list of Americans.

    https://www.worldation.com/stories/hollywood-stars-served-military/5/

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  22. What’s the statute of limitations on Hollywood bravery for having served in the Second World War? Do they get a full century or so? I mean, the war ended 75 years ago, so why should Ryan Gossling and Scarlett Johansen get a pass just because Jackie Coogan and Carole Lombard answered the call of duty?

    And you know that a lot of the names you mentioned served before they went to Hollywood, right? Kudos to Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, John Ford, and the others who put their careers on hold to serve their country. Can you think of any contemporary Hollywood actor who has done the same?

    JVW (ee64e4)

  23. I’m a little harsher in my judgment, but I’ll refrain from the analogy prompted by “coin of the realm” that I think is fitting.

    nk (1d9030)

  24. Better go check that CC&R for your homeowner’s association.

    I am subject to neither CC&R nor HOA, and I live in a great neighborhood.

    norcal (21e823)

  25. Tinseltown. Those people have no substance.

    nk (1d9030)

  26. @22. Well, there’s no draft now so putting a career ‘on hold’ adds a fresh caveat as does women in the combat services. Rob Riggle served and there are a few others from more recent conflicts. And ‘bravery’ can be defined in many ways; Hope didn’t serve but had the guts to take along his troupe w/t USO and risk entertaining troops in fire zones through several conflicts until he just physically couldn’t do it anymore. You can look’em up.It is a surprising number of familiar names. For instance, more recently, Oliver Stone, though personally repugnant, served honorably in Vietnam. There are Korean vets, Vietnam and Gulf, Afghan vets… it’s just a matter of defining ‘bravery.’ Keep in mind when it comes to ‘the business’ the ‘brave’ ones in Hollywood got blacklisted in the 50s and many were told by the studios they were contracted with to cork it. The Golden Rule in Hollywood was–and is– those who have the gold— rule.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  27. And you know that a lot of the names you mentioned served before they went to Hollywood, right? Kudos to Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, John Ford, and the others who put their careers on hold to serve their country. Can you think of any contemporary Hollywood actor who has done the same?

    Adam Driver was in the Marines; he ended up getting a medical discharge (for broken ribs, I believe) before his unit deployed, however.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  28. 25.Tinseltown. Those people have no substance.

    Yeah. That Charles Bronson… Steve McQueen– and especially that Marion Morrison; whadda wuss.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  29. @27. Yeah, there’s a list if you’re so inclined to look it up. But sometimes it’s easier to just paint w/t stereotype brush. Like that Reagan fella — who kept the Japanese out of Culver City and escaped the Nazis on the WB backlot with Errol Flynn and Alan Hale. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  30. @25.Tinseltown. Those people have no substance.

    Below is a list of Tinseltown celebs. Some you’ll know [some dead]. Others might surprise you. Either way, “they have ho substance”… they’re “conservatives.’ 😉

    Trace Adkins: Country Music Singer & TV Personality
    Danny Aiello: Film Actor, dead
    Adam Baldwin: TV Actor
    Stephen Baldwin: Actor, Radio Personality
    Michael Bay: Big Budget Director
    Pat Boone: Singer, Songwriter
    Wilfred Brimley: Commercial Actor & Star of Cocoon, dead
    Jerry Bruckheimer: TV & Film Producer
    James Caan: Legendary Film Actor
    Drew Carey: Game Show Host & Former TV Star
    Adam Carolla: Former Host of The Man’s Show
    Tom Clancy: Espionage and Military Science Author
    Jon Cryer: Notable Film & TV Actor
    Robert Davi: TV & Film Actor
    Bo Derek: Model, Film & Television Actress
    Dale Earnhardt Jr.: American Race Car Driver
    Clint Eastwood: Academy Award Winning Film Actor & Director
    John Elway: Hall of Fame Quarterback & Super Bowl MVP with the Denver Broncos
    Sara Evans: Country Music Singer
    Lou Ferrigno: TV Actor (Star of The Incredible Hulk & King of Queens Guest Star)
    Mel Gibson: Film Actor & Academy Award-Winning Director
    Kelsey Grammer: TV & Film Actor, Star of TV’s Long-Running Series, Frasier
    Rick Harrison: TV Host of Pawn Stars
    Angie Harmon: TV & Film Actor, Star of TV’s Law & Order
    Elizabeth Hasslebeck: Former “Survivor” Contestant & Co-Host of The View
    Dennis Hopper: Actor, Director & Two-Time Academy Award Nominee, dead
    Patricia Heaton: TV Actor, Female Lead in TV’s Everybody Loves Raymond
    Naomi Judd: Country Music Singer, Actress & Author
    Lorenzo Lamas: TV Actor
    Heather Locklear: TV & Film Actress
    Susan Lucci: Emmy Award-Winning Actress & Soap Star
    Dennis Miller: Actor, Stand-Up Comedian & Political Commentator
    Chuck Norris: Legendary TV Actor
    Ted Nugent: Legendary Musician, Speaker
    Sarah Palin: Reality TV Star
    Richard Petty: Seven-time NASCAR Champion
    Johnny Ramone (John Cummings), Legendary Musician, Founder of ​The Ramones
    John Ratzenberger: TV Actor, Voice-Over Personality
    Robert James “Kid Rock” Ritchie: Singer, Song Writer & Rapper
    Robertson Family: Duck Dynasty Reality TV Stars
    Adam Sandler: Legendary Stand-Up Comedian, “Saturday Night Live” Alum & Hollywood Film Star
    Pat Sajak: Wheel of Fortune Game Show Host & Political Columnist
    Curt Schilling: World Series Champion & Former Phillies, Diamondbacks & Red Sox Pitcher
    Nick Searcy: TV and Film Actor
    Tom Selleck: TV & Film Actor
    Ron Silver: TV & Film Actor, dead
    Jessica Simpson: Singer, Actress & TV Personality
    Gary Sinise: Academy Award Nominated Film Actor & TV Star
    Sylvester Stallone: Producer, Director, Writer & Legendary Film Actor, Star of Rocky & Rambo Films
    Ben Stein: Film Actor, Game Show Host & Political Commentator
    John Stossel: Investigative Reporter, Speaker
    Janine Turner: Film & TV Actor
    Jon Voight: Academy Award-winning Film Actor and Political Activist
    Bruce Willis: Legendary Film Actor & Two-Time Emmy Award Winner
    Lee Ann Womack: Country Music Singer
    James Woods: Notable Actor
    David Zucker: Director of Airplane & Naked Gun Films

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  31. You left out Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, and Ricochet Rabbit.

    nk (1d9030)

  32. And what you got there? Forty, fifty names? Out of how many thousands?

    This seems to be my day for sticking up for Trump. As crude and as rude as he was in the pu**y-grabbing tape, he spoke the unvarnished truth.

    nk (1d9030)

  33. @31. Walt Disney was a conservative; that covers Mickey Mouse. Feel better now? 😉
    @32. Not everybody wears teir politics on their sleeves. BTW, Trump was on that list– as a conservative ‘reality TeeVee star’ LOL

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  34. As crude and as rude as he was in the pu**y-grabbing tape, he spoke the unvarnished truth.

    Except for when he was lying, which was most of the time.

    Patterico (e349ce)

  35. @34, When it came to factual statements it was usually more correct to use what Trump said as an indicator of what wasn’t accurate.

    Time123 (b87ded)


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