Now, cards on the table: In my opinion, Park was initially in the wrong. Her heart may have been in the right place, and her frustration at seeing what she (erroneously or not) perceived as yet another slighting of Asian-Americans for comic effect is entirely understandable and even sympathetic. But there's a point where ubiquity has to come into play with these things. Sure, the nesting-doll nature of the actual joke is (as I described) somewhat dense, but given that trend-awareness is such a huge part of social-media anything, shouldn't an activist of that field know at the very least that The Colbert Report exists to make fun of the sort of casual media-bigotry she's decrying? And if not, wouldn't a simple quick Google search for "who is this person?" be prudent before calling for his head? I'm not as down on Tumblr-style activism as some are. In my experience, every movement looking to make headway needs a good supply of eager, angry, enthusiastic Berserkers charged up and willing to throw themselves into the fight, but too often, the digital/social-media version serves as a reminder of why the flesh-and-blood version has leaders to point them at the proper targets.

The whole fallout was doubly problematic immediately. First, it undermined the original aim of the joke itself: Calling out the Redskins management for their intractability regarding the creepy and insensitive team name. Ironically, this is a goal one might safely assume Park would support, given her feelings on cultural representation and appropriation. Second, fair or not, the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" effect is very real in media circles, and mistaking/misrepresenting Colbert's parody of bigotry for the real thing will almost certainly make many hesitant to support similar grievances of sturdier stock in the future.

But the real ugliness came in the aftermath. The original "Ching-Chong" sketch resonated because hack comedians trotting out old-school racist caricatures (see: Dunham, Jeff) in the guise of defying Political Correctness ("Don't censor meeeeeeeee!!!!!") are a real continuing issue for the comedy scene. As are the legions of White Guy Defense Force types who leap to their aid in the name of their Self-Evident Constitutional Right... to be an entitled douchebag. And in the ultimate sad irony (in a situation already drowning in it) of the day, this particular horde of miscreants quickly wound up overwhelming and co-opting the "defense" of Colbert, hijacking the conversation in order to make Park the latest subject of The Internet's favorite pastime: Beating Up Girls For Having Opinions.


#CancelColbert will, in the end, wind up being just another tragic farce in the history of pop-culture footnotes: Annoying many, hurting a few and having almost zero impact otherwise. The Colbert Report will likely address and hope to diffuse the situation later this very evening, something else will come along to get everybody's dander up, and we'll all go on having learned almost nothing amid all the shouting. The only impact so far is negative and disheartening. The (in my estimation, at least) more important issue of the Redskins quandary has been overshadowed, the anti-PC paranoia-brigade has a shiny new example of "SJW overreaction" they can point to for undermining other legitimate complaints and the next dozen or so "How come they can say the N-word but I can't" chuckle-hut hacks will make hay dragging Stephen Colbert's name through the mud as justification for their sundry scumbaggery.

The lesson ought to be "think before you type," whether it's into Twitter or a TV teleprompter, but how can such a lesson take when the whole of popular culture demands that we do the opposite? Communication at the speed of light is a powerful tool for change and progress - but there's a reason why moving mountains usually takes more than 140 characters.

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