Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray apologized for using the word "queer" in a derogatory way in tweets when he was 14 and 15, saying "I used a poor choice of word that doesn't reflect who I am or what I believe."
Kevin Hart pulled out of hosting next year's Oscars ceremony after demands that he repent of old tweets and stand-up routines disparaging gays. At first, he refused to apologize, only to give in, grudgingly, after having quit the MC job.
In young Mr. Murray's case, it hardly seems fair to hold him responsible for every irresponsible thing he blurted onto the internets in his teenage years, but it does demonstrate to those still in that age group that yes, Virginia, there is a permanent record. Twitter never forgets.
As someone who fancies himself somewhat of a humorist, I find I have some sympathy for Mr. Hart as well. All humor is transgressive to some degree, and may become moreso over time. For example, in researching 100-year-old cartoons, I find many involving African-Americans and other ethnicities that I wouldn't dare repost today. Some people thought last Saturday's post of old Bush 41 cartoons was out of line; well, you should see the stuff I didn't include.
On the other hand, Mr. Hart's tweets and jokes didn't come from another century. President Barack Obama was ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Ellen DeGeneres had won over two dozen Emmys for her talk show. Same-sex couples could marry in Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia.
Moreover, a leading cause of suicide among LGBTQ youth, and a substantial factor in the higher rate of suicide among LGBTQ youth over their peers, is the fear of rejection by one's parents. Accordingly, the LGBTQ community just doesn't find jokes about how horrible it might be to have a gay son particularly funny.
It is a steep challenge in cartooning to get these song parodies to both scan and rhyme. In audio, one can get away with eliding a couple syllables or fudging a consonant or two; but in print, we cartoonists are at the mercy of how the reader happens to hear the words inside his/her/their head.
Even steeper is the challenge of reducing a five-minute song to thirty seconds, so I apologize for jumping ahead to the end of the song in panel four.