Note: In response to the news that disgraced stand-up Louis C.K. has booked six shows this week in Florida, Lifestyle presents the February Editor’s Letter by Kevin Kaminski, part of our special issue—Stories from Parkland: One Year Later.
When it comes to someone being their own worst enemy, it shouldn’t shock us that a man who struggles to keep his pants zipped also would have trouble buttoning his mouth. Still, after spending a year in the Indecent Proposal wing of the #MeToo Hall of Shame for his admitted sexual misconduct, you’d think that “comedian” Louis C.K. might want to avoid controversy instead of courting it.
But, apparently, the C in Louis C.K. stands for more than just “creepy.” Maybe it doubles as “clueless.” Or “callous.” How else to explain a December stand-up routine that included material meant to ridicule the student activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School?
“You’re not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot,” he quipped during a set in Long Island. “Why does that mean I have to listen to you? How does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way. Now I gotta listen to you talking?”
The good news for C.K. is that he’s not alone. He’s now an honorary member in a second Hall of Shame, this one for people who feel compelled to mock Parkland students and families in the aftermath of the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history.
People like Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host who taunted David Hogg on social media last year for being rejected by some of the colleges to which he applied. Ingraham’s show ended up losing 27 sponsors over that comment. Hogg is attending Harvard University this fall.
Don’t forget Leslie Gibson, the candidate for Maine House of Representatives District 57, who called Emma González a “skinhead lesbian” in a tweet. Gibson ended up dropping out of the race. González is part of a movement that literally is changing the way America approaches gun violence prevention. According to a Dec. 14 story in the New York Times, state legislators passed a combined 69 gun controls measures last year after Parkland—and rejected 90 percent of state-level bills backed by the National Rifle Association.
News like that won’t deter some of the nation’s feckless and faceless cyberbullies, who must be thrilled to have a true professional like C.K. joining their extended family. Giants of the message board, like Darren M, who suggests on the CBS News YouTube page showing Jaclyn Corin’s 2018 speech at March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., that the now-senior at MSD should “do all of us a favor and continue to text and drive.” Or Brian, who comments that Corin has a “Jan Brady fetal alcohol syndrome quality.”
While spineless Brian screams for meatloaf from the confines of his mother’s basement, the diminutive and dynamic Corin (pictured above), who’s been accepted to Harvard, has been the behind-the-scenes backbone of the March For Our Lives movement and its summer barnstorming adventure, Road to Change. The two-month tour of red states and blue states not only found common ground regarding gun violence issues—none of which involved taking guns or revoking the Second Amendment—but it also inspired a record-number of youth voters to make their voices heard in the midterm elections. Corin, by the way, is 18.
Hers is one of several fascinating journeys in this first year after the shooting to emerge from the tears and the pain and the anger connected to Feb. 14, 2018. These are the stories we wanted to share in this special issue of Lifestyle and online at lmgfl.com, each one following a different avenue of expression to make a big-picture difference—whether original music by MSD students, works of art by a grieving parent, or the relentless activism of Corin and March For Our Lives.
Parkland is not alone in its grief. The Gun Violence Archive detailed 340 mass shootings in 2018 (incidents in which four or more people were shot and/or killed during a single event in the United States, not including the shooter)—nearly one per day. In 48 of those shootings, three or more people were killed.
But one year later, it’s clear to the entire country that Parkland isn’t wallowing in its grief. The community continues to find ways to honor its 17 fallen while fighting for a better future.
Louis C.K. also is fighting for a future. Any future. Mocking the student activists at MSD may have seemed hilarious to him in the moment. But my guess is that the kids will have the last laugh.