The Corner

The Mystery that Is Sarah Silverman?

An e-mail:

My girlfriend and I go back and forth a lot on how to interpret Sarah Silverman.  She thinks that she’s offensive for the sake of being offensive, a la Howard Stern or Lisa Lampanelli.  In that case, right-thinking people should have abandoned her for her 9/11 jokes a long time ago and should not have even noticed the premiere of the second season of her show, to which you referred today on the Corner.

I think she’s using irony, as opposed to leaden sarcasm or blatant propagandizing as so may comics do these days.  When she says she was *really* upset about 9/11 because that was the day she discovered her favorite Starbucks drink was high in calories, I believe she is highlighting how little many Americans really took the challenges of 9/11 to heart.  And in the offending episode, when her character has happy flashbacks of her various abortions through the years (giddily bounding into the “Abortion Room” in various period outfits from the 80′s on), I believe she’s trying to make the point that the women who undergo these procedures are not happy about them, carry the scars with them forever, and look back on them with pain. 

I could easily be wrong, of course.  But I think Silverman is SO over-the-top that it is impossible not to read some kind of ironic subtext into her performances.


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