Funny, not funny

Comedy is in the eye of the beholder. This wasn’t funny.

ABC canceled the wildly popular reboot of the “Roseanne” show after its namesake, Roseanne Barr, tweeted out a stunningly tasteless and racist comment about Valerie Jarrett, the former advisor and close friend of former president Barack Obama.

Barr is an unabashed supporter of President Trump and her Twitter history, not to mention her official website, are replete with criticisms, attacks, and conspiracies about anything that counters the right-wing manifesto. She’s even questioned the Boston Marathon bombing as a “false flag” attack. Some say her tweet about Jarrett was predictable but if those people think they are prescient, the MegaMillions jackpot is closing in on $100 million. Go play those numbers in your head.

That ABC took swift, firm, and final action is itself stunning, given the success of the revival and the money the network was set to make from a full season next year. Only dyed in the wool Roseanne fans and InfoWars aficionados are making the claim that she is a victim here.

The one predictable piece of this is those who claim there’s a First Amendment issue going on that ABC is stomping all over, with many overlooking the fact that it applies to government, not private entities. Many of these same people, though, are applauding the NFL for forcing players to stand and respect the national anthem. In a whose-ox-is-being-gored moment, they also overlook the time Barr performed (sang would be too generous a term) the national anthem before a San Diego Padres game, then finished by grabbing her crotch and spitting, not a general sign of respect.

Some are also claiming that ABC’s actions are unprecedented in canceling a money-making show in the middle of a successful run over a political maelstrom. Unprecedented? Hello? 1969? CBS and Smother Brothers?

Besides Barr, who said she was leaving Twitter but appears to have remained, a couple other people are having bad days over this. The makers of the sleep aid drug Ambien are likely cringing over her claim that she was “Ambien tweeting.” The drug is getting bad name as more and more people are using it as a defense for maladroit behavior. Sanofi, the manufacturer, said “racism is not a known side effect” of taking the drug.

Red Sox chairman and co-owner Tom Werner is also being covered with the mud here. Werner is the executive producer of the show and made a fortune on the first iteration, prompting him to bring it back for the reboot. Werner issued a statement that he agreed with the ABC decision and hoped that Barr “seeks the help she so clearly needs.” Apparently, this is a new revelation to Werner. He also was the executive producer of “The Cosby Show” at the time that Bill Cosby was being quietly sued and settling cases for sexual assault. Again, Werner said he never knew.

Predictable or not, the bottom line is the old saw about sleeping with dogs. Get out the flea powder.

JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

An editorial that appeared in several North Shore newspapers calls on the Baker administration to step up and take a leadership role in addressing the recycling crisis facing Massachusetts in the wake of China’s decision to demand less contamination in recycled materials it accepts for processing. CommonWealth reported on the problem in January, and the New York Times  weighed in Tuesday.

Rep. John Velis of Westfield received notice that he will be deploying to Afghanistan for six to seven months starting mid-June. (MassLive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Uxbridge selectmen gave Town Manager Angeline Ellison an unsatisfactory 90-day performance review, prompting Ellison to claim she was “sandbagged” and set up to fail. (Telegram & Gazette)

Brockton city leaders are frustrated and “disgusted” after the recent fatal shooting of a 31-year-old man in a condo complex, saying the spate of violence and homicides are casting the city in a negative light. (The Enterprise)

The Rockland town administrator has been placed on paid leave while officials investigate external allegations of harassment. (Patriot Ledger)

Marlborough city councilors are at odds over a proposal to zoning change that would allow developers to build a 114-unit retirement village where the state’s oldest commercial airport currently operates. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump last year ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal in the Russia election meddling investigation, which Sessions refused, triggering Trump’s social media attacks on him. (New York Times)

US Rep. Trey Gowdy, usually a big Trump supporter, said the FBI’s use of an informant to pry information from campaign officials was justified. (Washington Post)

A study conducted by researchers at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health says Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico last year, may be responsible for as many as 4,600 deaths on the island, a far cry from the official government count of 64 fatalities. (New York Times)

Rhode Island House Speaker Nick Mattiello is pushing a tweaked financing proposal for keeping the Red Sox farm team in Pawtucket. (Go Local Providence) Mattiello’s support is key to passage of legislation in Rhode Island, but Worcester officials who are courting the Pawsox say there’s a long way to go yet. (Telegram & Gazette)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens resigned amid a lingering sex scandal and an investigation into misuse of his charity for political purposes. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS

Candidates seeking the endorsement of a Massachusetts abortion rights political action committee will be asked whether they have ever been formally accused of sexual harassment. (Boston Globe)

Scot Lehigh tries, with mixed success, to extract some answers on gun policy from the four candidates running for US Senate. The two women candidates, Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Warren and Republican Beth Lindstrom are the most forthright, with Republicans Geoff Diehl and John Kingston doing lots of dodging and weaving. (Boston Globe)

The two Democrats running for governor slammed Gov. Charlie Baker following reports that his 2014 campaign manager was a paid consultant for two companies that recently won big clean energy contracts. (Boston Globe)

Backers of ranked-choice voting seek to put a measure on the ballot in 2020. (MassLive) For more on why ranked-choice voting is picking up support, check out this feature on how our current voting system is often un-democratic. (CommonWealth)

The then-wife of gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie obtained a temporary court order forcing him out of their Somerville home in 1995 while they were in the midst of a contentious divorce — but there was no allegation of violence or threats of violence in the incident. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Starbucks closed its stores Tuesday afternoon so workers could take racial bias training, and some customers at a location in Lynn weren’t happy about it. (Daily Item)

Teamsters Local 25 president Sean O’Brien said he’ll challenge the president of the union’s international, James Hoffa, in the next election in 2021. (Boston Herald)

Jonathan Bush, the CEO of Watertown-based athenahealth, which is the focus of a hedge fund takeover bid, physically attacked his then-wife in incidents of domestic violence in 2005. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

Getting into UMass Amherst is easier if you’re from out of state because officials say they need the higher tuitions of out-of-state students. (CommonWealth)

Howie Carr seems to start out by laying the groundwork to say something about UMass Amherst’s controversial purchase of the Mount Ida College campus in Newton, but then just goes to a boilerplate screed about all the hacks feeding at the trough of the UMass system. (Boston Herald)

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that student test scores drop as temperatures rise and investment in infrastructure such as air conditioning can help mitigate the problem. (U.S. News & World Report)

RELIGION

Parishioners at four Fall River Catholic churches are planning to meet to discuss the future of their parishes and ways to save them after the diocese announced the closure of one of the churches because of flagging attendance and funding deficits. (Herald News)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A new study suggests incremental shore-based initiatives are more practical and cost-effective in addressing sea level rise in Boston than the construction of harbor-wide dikes or barriers. The study was funded by the Barr Foundation. (CommonWealth)

The Baker administration has awarded $2 million in grants to 82 cities and town to assess climate change vulnerability and help with preparedness. (Patriot Ledger)

CASINOS/GAMBLING/MARIJUANA

The Board of Selectmen in Charlton is backtracking on its verbal approval of a massive greenhouse for growing marijuana in the face of strong community opposition. (MassLive)

A Globe editorial says it’s time to consider paying college athletes to avoid the temptation to fix games that could come with legalization of sports betting.

PASSINGS

Jim Madigan, a long-time fixture on public television in western Massachusetts, died. (MassLive)