On Sunday, based at least in part on my criticism that he had appointed himself — or that the media had appointed him — moral arbiter on hot button political issues, ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel moved to tamp down such speculation. “I’m not,” Kimmel insisted, “I agree with him. I’m nobody’s moral arbiter. You don’t have to watch the show. You don’t have to listen to what I say.”
This is questionable at best: Kimmel stated on national television that “gun nuts” knew “in their hearts” that they bore responsibility for the Las Vegas massacre, and attributed Republican legislative support for gun rights to supposed payoffs from the National Rifle Association. For him to back off the moral indignation now is disingenuous.
But he’s right nonetheless — he’s no moral arbiter, and he’s no political expert.
Then Kimmel was asked about losing viewers. He called that effect “not ideal,” said it wasn’t “good riddance” but “riddance,” and added, “I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Kimmel concluded, “I want everyone with a television to watch the show, but if they’re so turned off by my opinion on health care and gun violence, then…I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.”
It’s that point that should demonstrate the echo chamber in which Kimmel lives. I have spent virtually all of my life as a political minority in the areas in which I live — Los Angeles and Cambridge, Massachusetts. I seek out conversations with people with whom I disagree. After all, my goal is to convince those who disagree that they ought to consider a different point of view. I’d love to have conversations with Kimmel’s audience, even if they disagreed — hell, particularly if they disagreed. Kimmel has every right to speak on issues he sees fit, but if he doesn’t understand that his tenor and tone are insulting to those he supposedly seeks to convert, then what’s the purpose of making those comments? If he derides those who disagree as ignoramuses who should just tune out, why make the point?
The only point is to vent spleen, or to virtue signal to those who disagree. Which means that all the paeans to Kimmel’s supposed bravery in speaking truth to power mean nothing: they’re merely huzzahs from the in-crowd. So much for Jimmy Kimmel as the moral conscience of the nation — more like Jimmy Kimmel, a man celebrated by fellow Left-thinkers as a moral conscience for repeating the opinions they love while dismissing everyone else with a shrug.