Outside of the context of the extremely high profile of the event and its attendees, I might’ve found Michelle Wolf’s roasts hilarious. But I think they’re troublesome for this reason: We need a more reasonable discourse. Being cruel to the “other side” accomplishes substantially nothing besides producing additional rancor and further entrenching both sides against each other.
Many of the arguments I’ve seen today defending Ms. Wolf are examples of the “whataboutism” that Trump’s detractors accuse his supporters of using in their arguments. “But they called Obama [this], why can’t Ms. Wolf say [that]? But they called Hillary [that], why can’t Ms. Wolf say [this]?” Its usage plagues both sides.
As citizens, we need to be better than this. There are better ways to oppose Trump’s administration than to compete in a proverbial race to the bottom.
Given the setting, I think her humor crossed a line into being cruel. Challenging the Trump administration’s attempts at subterfuge is important; however, the means Ms. Wolf employed seem to have had a deleterious effect. The discussion today is more about whether or not she made fun of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ appearance than discussing how her comedy broached the fact that Ms. Sanders lies to the American public on a regular basis.
The Trump administration will now become more guarded and defensive because of Ms. Wolf’s words. Effective use of humor should lower adversaries’ defenses, not make them more acute. Ms. Wolf’s humor was ineffective, at best, and cruel, at worst.