Dear Jimmy Fallon: Oppression is in the Eye of the Beholder
Dear Jimmy Fallon,
It’s time we had a talk. Although we don’t know each other, I’m aware that you’re very good at talking. You wouldn’t be the host of The Tonight Show if you weren’t.
I’m an especially big fan of your “Musical Genre Challenge,” in which you and a revolution of celebrity guests sing a mash up of songs in the style of random genres and personas. Hilarious.
But my bone to pick with you has nothing to do with your vocal cadence, though questionable at times. This is about your politics.
You’ve recently come under fire for a statement you made defending the absence of political discussion on your show,
“I don’t really even care that much about politics. I gotta be honest. I love pop culture more than I love politics. I’m just not that brain.”
And when prompted further,
“It’s just not what I do. I think it’d be weird for me to start doing it now,” you said.
You were extraordinarily honest with America, and have shown your true colors — that you are apathetic to the institutional violence perpetuated by the Trump regime. And further, you are a part of the privileged, white male demographic that is able to shrug off urgent human rights issues as merely “politics.” You have the luxury to stay silent, and instead fixate on pop culture, rather than speak out against injustice.
Of all the times to start talking about Trump, Jimmy, now would be the least ‘weird’ time to do it.
I’m sure you’re aware of the numerous allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinsten, and the recent surge in dialogue about the omnipresence of sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood specifically. The #MeToo campaign currently trending on social media will give you just a small glimpse into the pervasiveness of the problem, and you would benefit from hearing the stories of thousands of survivors.
You consider yourself a family man, yes? Well, what message does it send your wife and two daughters that our nation’s President has a growing number of sexual assault allegations against him? Or what about his candid, disturbingly misogynistic and now infamous leaked conversation?
By choosing to say nothing, you are inadvertently telling every mother and daughter that this is normal. And worse, you’re telling sons and fathers that this is okay.
Newsflash: this is not okay and you need to stop pretending like it is. Take a note form Jimmy Kimmel’s book; he has repeatedly used his platform to take a stand on issues like gun control and healthcare reform. You are failing your family, fans, employees, and celebrity guests who are non-male, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ or the unemployed/uninsured.
Silence is an act of violence, and I consider your behavior to be as detrimental as that of Trump and Weinstein. Your failure to take a stand on matters of human rights matters of utmost important — sexual assault, gun violence, and climate change — provides an echo chamber for the actions of the despicable.
I urge you to embrace the discomfort of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes: someone less fortunate than you. Someone less rich, less white, less male, and less famous. Someone who has no choice but to ‘talk about politics’—people who have to live with the consequences.
But there is some good news. Starting now, you can take a stand and use your voice to advocate for all the minorities in your life. The powerful non-white, non-male people who would benefit from your support.
Lastly, Jimmy, I want you to see the glimmer of an end in sight. Hustler’s Larry Flynt recently advertised a full page ad in the Washington Post for a $10 million reward in return for evidence leading to the impeachment of President Trump. This is laughable to me, because what more information do we need? Incriminating information showing Trump to be unfit for office existed prior to his election, and the volume grows by the day.
We don’t need any more evidence. What we need is a resounding verdict from the jury. Unfortunately, the jury is made up of people who look just like you and me.
So please, Jimmy, use your voice for more than just musical karaoke.