Jen Spyra, a writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is facing a public backlash for reacting to the news of the passing of Barbara Bush with a joke about the former first lady’s looks.
“RIP Barbara Bush, the only woman who was 92 for 30 years,” Spyra tweeted.
RIP Barbara Bush, the only woman who was 92 for 30 years.
— Jen Spyra (@jenspyra) April 18, 2018
While some praised and defended the humor, most of the replies were negative and critical.
Many of the replies pointed out the double standard leftists like Spyra frequently travel in when it comes to mocking age and looks.
wow i thought leftists didnt body shame???
— Bradley Schultz (@schultz_racing) April 18, 2018
Way to be progressive. Wonder why Trump won, because of people like you.
— Luke Kicklighter (@lkicklighter) April 18, 2018
I'm a huge @colbertlateshow fan, so you've likely written stuff that I've found really funny, but ageist shit like this perpetuates the idea that women aren't allowed to grow old naturally.
— Mary K. Bingler (@MaryKBingler) April 18, 2018
So it’s okay to make fun of a woman’s appearance? Or is that only towards recently deceased or just women you don’t agree with in general? It’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing rules.
— Pete Athens (@athynz1) April 18, 2018
Now make a joke about how Michelle Obama looks, & decide how you'd react if you heard it.
— Laurence Watkins (@thelarrywatkins) April 18, 2018
Others pointed out why Mrs. Bush’s hair grayed prematurely and why she refused to dye it.
She had cancer treatments and her hair grayed; she did not dye it in tribute to her daughter she lost to leukemia. I hope this makes you feel smaller…
— Melissa spindler (@melissaspin08) April 18, 2018
So when someone goes prematurely grey because they lost a 3 yr old daughter from cancer, it's time to make a weak joke for attention..got it! Oh, hopefully karma will show big for making me speak up for any of the Bush Clan.
— Mephibosheth (@Az61Ronin) April 18, 2018
The New York Times adds, “Barbara Bush’s brown hair began to gray in the 1950s while her 3-year-old daughter, Pauline, known to her family as Robin, underwent treatment for leukemia. She died in October 1953. Barbara Bush eschewed dying her hair, which ultimately turned white. She later said that dyed hair didn’t look good on her and credited the color to the public’s perception of her as “everybody’s grandmother.”
Some of Spyra’s critics kept it simple:
— Paul Viojo (@PabloViojo) April 18, 2018
Mrs. Bush was very comfortable in her own skin and with her looks.
She is quoted as saying: “People who worry about their hair all the time, frankly, are boring.”
On aging, she said: “Never ask anyone over 70 how they feel. They’ll tell you.”
On her petty critics: “Why be afraid of what people will say? Those who care about you will say, Good luck! and those who care only about themselves will never say anything worth listening to anyway.”