In Defense Of Tasteless Jokes

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In making it, Jack Shafer offers an observation about offense in the age of social media:

Gottfried's "mistake," if you want to call it that, was to tell his vile and timely jokes in a venue that he thought was as safe as a dinner party with a friend. Before posting, Gottfried must have thought, Who but a lover of daring comedy would follow me on Twitter? But he was wrong. The new rules have made everybodyincluding edgy comediansaccountable in the public sphere for the things they says "privately" in social media spaces. (See also the school teacher who gets fired because somebody finds a Facebook page of her chugging from a bottle of vodka.) Would Michael Richards have suffered the same universal shaming if his off-the-wheels racist attack on a heckler at an L.A. comedy club hadn't been videotaped and posted to the Web?

We're all public figures now, whether we like it or not.