Why Won’t Kimmel Apologize Some More?


Our culture is surreally obsessed with taking offense

Rich Lowry writes:  Jimmy Kimmel used to be a professional comedian. His new job is apologizing.

A few weeks ago, the host of ABC’s late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live aired a bit where a six-year-old boy recommends killing everyone in China. Kimmel and the network have been apologizing ever since. Over the weekend, protesters besieged ABC studios around the country. They want Kimmel fired or, failing that, more apologies.

[See our coverage of the Jimmy Kimmel ‘Kill Everyone in China’ Controversy]

The bit was part of a routine called “Kids Table,” where Kimmel talks to cute five- and six-year-olds, and hilarity ensues. In the offending episode, Kimmel asked the kids what to do about our debt to China, and one boy chirps, “Kill everyone in China.” Kimmel laughs and jokingly calls it “an interesting idea,” before returning to it later when, with mock seriousness, he asks the kids whether the Chinese should be allowed to live.

It doesn’t take a well-honed sense of humor to realize that “Kids Table” is a forum for kids to say laughably and harmlessly absurd things, not for the discussion of serious foreign-policy initiatives. If the boy’s proposal for a genocidal war against China as a solution to our national debt were getting a respectable hearing, he would have been invited to debate it on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS with deadly earnest foreign-policy panjandrums like Richard Haass and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Nonetheless, the grim gears of offense-taking began to grind. Previously, Jimmy Kimmel’s main offense against humanity had been encouraging parents to get a rise out of their kids by telling them that they had eaten all their Halloween candy. Now, he was guilty of incitement to mass murder.

The anti-Kimmel protesters sported signs festooned with swastikas and pictures of the comedian with a Hitler mustache, accusing him of “manipulating children” and “promoting racial genocide.” Needless to say, if Adolf Hitler’s crime had been joking around with kids who innocently talked of killing people for laughs, he wouldn’t be known as one of world history’s greatest monsters.

The protesters still managed to extract an apology from ABC and from Kimmel on air, who said he thought “it was obvious that I didn’t agree with that statement.” Obviousness, though, isn’t a defense. Kimmel had to apologize in public to protesters outside his Hollywood studio in a scene that bore a distant resemblance to a “struggle session” in the Cultural Revolution wherein accused enemies of the people were humiliated and engaged in coerced self-criticism.

Kimmel said he was “very, very sorry” and bowed to the protesters, who still demanded every imaginable kind of other apology from him. No matter how sorry he said he was, they wanted him to be sorrier still. With protests demanding Kimmel’s ouster continuing to roll on, ABC has apologized yet again and emphasized its promise to tighten its Standards and Practices.

The Chinese foreign ministry is now in on the act, calling on ABC to “face its mistakes head on.” The Chinese government’s entry into the debate might seem opportunistic, but in fairness to Beijing, no other entity in the world has proven itself as adept at killing Chinese people en masse. The Kimmel controversy is of inherent concern since it involves its core competency.

The Kimmel kerfuffle is worthy of a Monty Python skit, but also typical of the surreal theater of offense-taking in contemporary America. Are we, in such matters, a ridiculous country? One that encourages a sense of victimhood and grievance? One that lacks any sense of proportion? Yes, yes, and yes.

It would have been an invigorating blow for the culture of free speech if ABC and Kimmel had issued the following serial apologies to their tormentors: We’re sorry that you are so humorless. We’re sorry you don’t have anything better to do with your time. We’re sorry that you are cheapening every genocide in history. We’re sorry, in short, that you are whiny bullies. If you’re so offended, please go watch Leno or Letterman.

— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email:comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. © 2013 King Features Syndicate

National Review Online

2 Comments on “Why Won’t Kimmel Apologize Some More?”

  1. What Pundit Lowry didn’t want tell people is that 20-30 million people died in China during WWII when international community didn’t even condemn the Nanking Massacre in 1939. The total death of China in the war was 1/3 of the casualties in the world and 6-7 times more than all Jews. So he considered protesting “killing everyone in China” by kids “unscripted” cheapened genocides. He also didn’t want to tell people that four generations of Chinese Immigrants were segregated and excluded in the free world of USA. Some of them were massacred in LA, where Jimmy Kimmel makes his show and “sincere apologies” that blamed the day, the six-year olds and anyone but himself. He also neglect that ABC had 1st “apology” blame on the viewer for being offended then doctored the dates on the 2nd apology and secretly slip into this world to prove that they apologized “sincerely”. Give us a break.

    Also there were mentioning of Jimmy Kimmel’s written apology that cannot be find any where… Did he ever apologize at all?

    • The Butcher says:

      You’re absolutely right. Clearly, Kimmel’s staff coached the children, they rehearsed in order to make their carefully scripted comments “appear” unscripted. Those children were dutiful, skillful, talented little performers, weren’t they? Wasn’t that impressive? How well they performed the script?

      Now that Kimmel has been exposed as a cruel, evil, anti-Chinese bigot, he should apologize again and again, to any Chinese person who feels that their national pride has been wounded by this very important TV man, Jimmy Kimmel. He should be horsewhipped, in public, by Chinese children, until his skin bleeds and he weeps for China. He should be taught a lesson. And he should be taught to sing Chinese communist propaganda songs, and worship at the feet of his superior Chinese tormentors, until this great injustice is finally witnessed by the whole world, and Chinese pride is restored.

      Then, Kimmel should be sent off to Chinese labor camps, to toil for the rest of his life, to atone for his sins. Don’t you agree? Those children on his show should be sent to labor camps, too. They should be taken from their parents, and punished, for eternity. I’m sure you agree.

      I admire your sense of history, perspective, humor, and especially your keen eye for detail, in recognizing that those children weren’t unscripted, but in fact, performing a staged, carefully-crafted anti-Chinese propaganda piece. Not many are observant enough to realize that. Thanks so much for your comments!

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