Emmy Griffin / March 13, 2023

Chris Rock Rocks Woke Culture and Victimhood

The comedian attacks wokeness with wit and humor.

Chris Rock, iconic stand-up comedian and entertainer, has filmed a live Netflix special called “Selective Outrage.” In this sketch, the comedian took on abortion, victimhood, the 2022 Oscars slap, and cancel culture. He and other comedians like Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan have been pushing back against woke culture and victimhood.

On Abortion

Abortion is an issue that will divide people. Some, like our team here, are ardently pro-life; some are pro-choice, as in they wouldn’t want an abortion themselves but believe a women should have the right to choose; and others are pro-abortion. Chris Rock tackles this head on in such a way that if an audience member weren’t reading between the lines, he or she would miss his actual meaning. He said:

So there’s a part of me that’s pro-life, but since I love my daughters unconditionally, I love them not just as little girls but as grown women. I want my daughters to live in a world where they have complete control of their bodies… Okay?

You can hear the audience give a little, “Woo.” But he’s not finished.

That’s right, because of that I’m pro-choice. I’m absolutely pro-choice. I believe that women should have the right to kill babies. That’s right! I’m on your side. I believe that you should have the right to kill as many babies as you want. Kill ‘em all. … But, let’s not get it twisted. It is killing a baby.

Rock goes on to compare paying for an abortion to being like a mafia hit. Most of the audience catches his drift and their laughter significantly dwindles. Rock is calling them out on abortion.

This is not the first time he has let his sentiments on the subject be known. In fact, back in 2005, Slate writer John Swansburg called him “The William F—ing Buckley of stand-up.” He spoke truth to the crowd while seemingly being on their side.

On Victimhood

Victimhood is a staple for people who adhere to the woke ideology. It is their pecking order. The more people you can claim have victimized you or your ancestors, the higher your social capital. Rock had several things to say. First, he attacked our social media addiction:

They say we’re addicted to opioids, but opioids are not the biggest addiction in America. No, not even close. The biggest addiction in America is attention. We are addicted to attention. Can’t get enough attention. We used to want love; now we just want “likes.” Posting up pathetic pictures. Just feeling for attention. Addicted to attention.

And the [best] way to get attention is to be a victim. … Right now we live in a world where the emergency room is filled up with motherf***ers with paper cuts. Everybody trying to be a victim.

He then named a specific case: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. He mocked Markle for complaining about the royal family. “They’re so racist.” Said Rock in an imitation of Markle: “Some of that sh*t you went through was not racism. It was Just some in-law sh*t.” Rock continues on in an imitation of Markle, saying in a whiney voice, “Oprah, they’re so racist they wanted to know how brown the baby was going to be.” Rock gives his audience a confused look before concluding, “That’s not racist because even black people want to know how brown the baby [is] going to be.”

Rock then points out: “A black girl trying to be accepted by her white in-laws. Oh, it’s hard. But it ain’t as hard as a white girl, trying to be accepted by her black in-laws. You bring a white girl home for Thanksgiving, your mama gonna say something. Your mama like, 'Why is there a social worker at the dinner table?’”

Rock has a history of critiquing black people for racism. In his 1996 sketch called “Bring the Pain,” he begins by saying: “Who’s more racist, black people or white people? Black people. You know why? ‘Cause we hate black people too. Everything white people hate about black people, black people really hate about black people.”

Not everyone finds this seeming self-abasement sincere. Armond White of National Review didn’t mince words in his critique of the comedian, particularly on Rock’s racism schtick. White pointed out: “Several articles cited Rock’s jokes about Meghan Markle, but I couldn’t find any that transcribed his blasphemous condemnation of the Kardashian sisters’ sex lives. Rock carefully chooses targets that already receive corporate disdain — from O.J. Simpson to Michael Jackson and R. Kelly. Wokeness exemplified.” In other words, conservative analysts are guilty of being selective in their praise.

The Slap

Chris Rock acknowledges that he knew deep down the Oscars slap wasn’t really about him but about Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s rocky marriage. Rock coined “the slap” as an example of “selective outrage” (warning: expletives). After calling out how the Smiths are dealing with their marital problems and calling them both weak and messed up, he ends his monologue by explaining why he didn’t fight back against Smith’s slap. Rock said: “People asked, how come you didn’t do nothing back that night? … Because I got parents, that’s why. ‘Cause I was raised. Okay? I got parents, and you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”

This was Rock’s mic drop moment. It was interesting because of his intimation that black men fighting perpetuates a negative stereotype about them (one that he has railed against for a long time in his comedy sketches).

Cancel Culture

Rock starts his show talking about how he was going to try his best not to offend anyone before proceeding to attack the too-sensitive woke people who are easily triggered because, after all, words are violence — at least according to them.

“You know when people say 'words hurt.’ That’s what they say. Gotta watch what you say. Because ‘words hurt.’ You know, anybody that says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face. ‘Words hurt’ when you write it on a brick, okay?”

Rock then comments on how restrictive and oppressive cancel culture is, saying: “If you are of a certain age, and you go to work, everybody’s f***ing scared. In the old days if somebody wanted your job they just worked harder than you. Now, if somebody wants your job they just wait for you to say some dumb sh*t. Try to get you with one of them ‘woke traps.’”

Wokeness combined with cancel culture is so bad that it has everyone scared. That is Rock’s point, and he is also trying to show in a clever way just how antithetical this is to the message of tolerance that these wokesters preach.

Differing Opinions

Armond White calls the comedy special a farce covering for the mainstream. He ends his piece with this sentiment: “Selective Outrage is merely the humor of a political court jester serving as a mouthpiece for the media’s status quo. This cowardly racism is still fighting in front of white people.”

Our colleague Anthony Brian Logan perceives the special as a proper use of the medium: using the foolish to shame the wise. As ABL aptly put it, “Comedy is under attack because it is probably the last bastion of truly free speech.”

The Blaze’s Jason Whitlock takes the stance that even though Rock isn’t a conservative, in many ways his anger resembled a righteous one, and his jokes seemed to have a consistent biblical framework to them.

Chris Rock is an interesting character and, like many comedians, seems to be steering his jokes in a more conservative direction … or he is at least brave enough to actually make fun of the radical Left and its preposterous political correctness.

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