Some Love For Tina Fey From Charlottesville

by Siva Vaidhyanathan

So many people are holding Tina Fey to task as if she were a political activist/strategist/theorist.

Here is where I am coming from. I live in a city of 50,000 people surrounded by a county of 100,000 people — none of whom have laughed in a week. Last night Tina Fey wore a UVA sweatshirt, showed us that she is still one of us, and shared a maelstrom of rants against inhumanity and cruelty. She gave us a way to channel our rage and sorrow toward laughter. Today I found universal applause from every person in Charlottesville with whom I spoke (a small sample, to be sure) and it bonded us. It lifted us. Then I found a series of Tweets and hot takes intended to deny us the pleasure of pleasure. And I resented it. I saw people who share disgust over racism and hatred with me and with Tina Fey proclaim their moral superiority when — as Cathy Davidson writes, “We have vicious hateful real enemies.” So, if you can’t make me laugh right now, I understand. Almost nobody can. I miss laughing. But don’t begrudge me for laughing, begrudge Fey for trying to make me laugh in solidarity with a recognition of brutal absurdity, or deny me one of the few pleasures available to us right now. We needed her. I’m sorry if those far from Charlottesville can’t understand that. Please cut me and her some slack.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is Director of Center for Media and Citizenship at University of Virginia. He is writing a book about Facebook

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