The word “snowflake” as a pejorative has an interesting history. It is generally credited to Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 book Fight Club (and the 1999 David Fincher film adaptation), which had a memorable speech including the phrase “you are not special, you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” It has been weaponized on all sides of the political spectrum but is particularly known as an epithet used by conservatives towards any individuals perceived as overly sensitive and unable to withstand any form of criticism. So, anyway, on Tuesday evening, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel told a joke during his monologue that implied that embattled film star Will Smith should slap United States Representative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. This star of the Trump-led conservative movement has apparently filed a report with the Capitol Police about Jimmy Kimmel’s joke, perceiving it to be a legitimate threat of physical violence toward her. Snowflake, indeed.
Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically Tweeted about it, tagging the official handles of Jimmy Kimmel, the Capitol Police, and the ABC network. Here’s what she said:
Here is Jimmy Kimmel’s response:
It goes without saying that the political divide in the United States may be as wide as it has ever been. In such times, the use of humor as a tool of political and social commentary is well known and is rarely considered an overt and imminent threat of violence that would merit police intervention. Considering the fact that Jimmy Kimmel was referencing the now-infamous incident in which Will Smith walked on stage at the 94th Academy Awards to slap comedian Chris Rock after the latter made a joke at the expense of his spouse, Jada Pinkett-Smith, the basic incongruity and unlikeliness of the event taking place is a key element of a joke. On the other hand, in a different matter concerning the Capitol Police, Marjorie Taylor Greene has fiercely and consistently defended and mischaracterized the attempted overthrow of the American democratic process on January 6, 2021, which resulted in the death of five Capitol Police officers and the injury to 140 more.
Jimmy Kimmel is known as a particularly left-leaning comic voice, especially considering late-night talk show hosts historically tend to be somewhat apolitical. Particularly given his semi-shock-jock roots, it is generally considered that he has become increasingly vocal in his stances. In contrast, Marjorie Taylor Greene is relatively new to national politics, representing Georgia’s 14th District for the first time. She has become a popular figure in far-right circles for embracing extremist conspiracy theories, harassing other representatives of the government, publically mocking survivors of mass shootings, and promoting Russian propaganda during that nation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. She was removed from Congressional committee roles in early 2021 due to her inflammatory public comments and liking social media comments which called for violence against members of the Democratic Party. She also has posted pictures of herself displaying guns with images of other elected officials and just recently appeared to suggest in an interview using physical violence against trans people. However, these did not take place during a Jimmy Kimmel monologue and presumably were not filed with any police agencies.