Dave Chappelle and Canceling Context

Before you allow yourself to develop too much of an opinion of the Dave Chappelle and Netflix kerfuffle, consider that all things people do have a purpose. No, Chappelle was not merely trying to be funny. No, he was not only making a boatload of cash. No, he was not simply offensive, foul, and generally inappropriate. The comedian was making a deeply felt emotional argument.

If one notes the full content of the special and not merely the sound bites, one will learn that Chappelle had previously befriended a trans comedian. This comic had defended Dave on Twitter after the trans community came after Chappelle for what he said in a previous special. The trans community on Twitter then attacked Chappelle’s trans comic friend for days on social media. According to his words in his special, Chappelle’s friend then committed suicide.

Chappelle mocked every group he could manage to mock in his Netflix special in order to point out the ridiculousness and evil of cancel culture. Chappelle insulted white people, black people, people from Detroit, people from Ohio, racists, hippies, Christians, Jews, and, yes, the trans community. And, you know what, anybody who watched that special knew exactly what they would see in Chappelle’s comedy. After all, his humor has not changed. He has always made his money with this same sort of content and style.

As a Christian and a pastor, I surely do not recommend you watch Chappelle or endorse his humor. Neither do I recommend that you develop any of your understanding of morality from Netflix, be it from comedy or documentary. But as a thinking human being, I do not recommend that you condemn Chappelle for doing harm to the trans community without first knowing what he said in its context and not from sound bites alone. Neither do I believe that we do society any good when we attempt to destroy any person’s reputation or livelihood simply because they say things that hurt our feelings.

No, I’m not recommending you watch the special. No, I do not think Chappelle needs my help. No, I do not fear for Netflix. No, my stance on sexuality and gender has not ever departed from that of Scripture. But it is a bit ridiculous that the entire point this foul-mouthed comic was making was to point out the folly and harm of the cancel culture in the life of a trans friend of his, and that , to my knowledge, none in the media have mentioned it. Chappelle tells a sad story of a person who was beaten down by their own community on social media perhaps resulting in that person’s suicide, and the result is that the left ignores that point to stir up another tempest in a virtual teapot. Ironic, isn’t it?

Friends, when Big Brother runs the news, you will only hear what the Ministry of Truth wants you to hear.