Roseanne Barr at the NBC/Universal’s 2014 Summer Press Day held at the Langham Hotel on April 8 in Pasadena, California.Photo: Joe Seer / Shutterstock
I believe the media we consume not only entertains us, it sometimes doubles as a political and cultural statement.
When I was young, and forbidden from watching secular television and movies because the Pentecostal cult my family and I attended forbade it, I craftily found ways to watch some of my favorite programs (without the internet!), and these programs reminded me there was a wonderful secular world around me.
I found comfort in characters I admired, and I’d emulate those characters’ qualities. Cultural icons, along with the books I read, provided a roadmap that showed me a way out.
Roseanne was among the people I admired most. There’s a chance my hindsight is skewed by my then-naivety and lack of a broader perspective, but I loved her. Roseanne was a comedic trailblazer, a strong, smart woman who offered America a family with relatable financial troubles and believable gay and overweight characters who weren’t punchlines.
Her voice remained central throughout her show’s run, during a time when not many shows featured complicated female characters, let alone complicated female bosses. It is important to honor her contributions to changing television, and along with it, cultural norms and preconceptions about all the things I just mentioned.
Over the years, I haven’t paid much attention to Roseanne’s politics. I know she sort of ran for president once–and she chose the Green Party, which I thought was good, I suppose. However, with her show’s reboot imminent, a closer look at her current politics is warranted.
Consider for a moment her Breitbart– and InfoWars-littered Twitter feed. Consider her declaration before the election, “we should be so lucky Trump won, because then it wouldn’t be Hillary.” (Trump thanked her publicly.)
Roseanne has retweeted InfoWars stories about “5.7 illegals” voting in the 2017 election. She’s shared transphobic comments and tirades against “violent Muslim Migrants” saying, and I quote, “Americans don’t want these savages in our towns.” Don’t take my word for it, peruse her Twitter yourself.
Maybe she just wanted to “shake things up!” Surely now that we’re enduring the flaming dumpster fire that is the current administration, she sees her disdain for HRC blinded her. Last month she restated her support for DJT, proudly declaring, “I am a radical and I voted for Trump to shake up the status quo and staid establishment.”
She added, “he is draining the swamp of thieves who steal public money and put it into private pockets.”
Anyone who’s been awake the last year knows the opposite is true.
I believe our country’s situation is dire, and I don’t believe in giving people a pass for supporting Trump. It might not make much of a difference if I plan on skipping Roseanne’s revival; it probably won’t. But for me, I can’t separate her disgusting beliefs and the vile messages she spouts from the art she makes. And maybe if enough of us skip the revival, a message will be heard, loud and clear.
Author Daniel Borgen is a former LGBT newspaper editor and columnist living in Portland, OR. He’d like to get Trump’s finger off the nuclear button.