It seems like only yesterday that Robin Williams, comedy icon of the 90s, passed from living legend to cherished memory. And for a while, it looked as if the whole world had become more downcast. Eulogies trickled into the news and social media, in an outpouring of sorrow and gratitude.
Perhaps it was just too much to bear. Perhaps if Robin Williams wasn’t such a saint after all, we could collectively shrug our shoulders and get over it. Perhaps if some terrible fault of character were to emerge, he could be sacrificed for the sake of our emotional salvation. What if he had really been a racist?
That brings us to Monday night. A tribute at the Emmys. A montage of Robin Williams’ best moments. But before it ended, a single clip brought an awful realisation to journalists and celebrities alike:
Robin Williams once stood up on stage, wore something that looked like a hijab, and said “I would like to welcome you to Iran. Help me!”
The Independent, its journalism as impeccable as any “proudly liberal” outlet, pointed to Tweets nobody ever read, and duly reported a Twitter phenomenon of shock and outrage. Perhaps they were hoping it would become a real outrage if the fake one became popular enough.
If that doesn’t stick, it won’t make anyone feel any less glum about Williams’ departure, and so someone is going to keep looking. And then they’ll find some other material where the PC line is crossed. I know they’ll find it, because I’ve seen it. It’s pretty good, actually.
And that’ll be enough for the liberal Gestapo to cleanse the mourning from their souls. The only price to pay will be the defamation of a dead man. Bargain.