Sitting with Bush wasn't "the gross part" of this week's controversy. "The defense was," says Molly Roberts of Ellen DeGeneres' kindness monologue in response to the backlash of her hanging with Bush at an NFL game. "DeGeneres cries 'kindness' to explain herself because kindness is her brand," says Roberts. "It’s also an awfully clever brand to have. It has the heft of virtue without any of the heaviness that comes with actually being virtuous. What is right, according to this particular code, will almost always align with what is convenient. DeGeneres is 'kind to everyone' because she wants everyone on her show...So-called kindness is an excellent lodestar more generally when your goal is to be popular. The most powerful people have the most capacity to do very bad things on a very big scale — so you’re bound to encounter some real horror shows the moment you start moving in privileged circles. Start insulting them for it, and there goes your invitation. Cancel no one, lest someone cancel you...DeGeneres did something that makes her the same as the rest of us. She succumbed to the allure of self-benefit, when succumbing meant a higher chance of being liked. It might be harder to blame her, if only she hadn’t responded by saying that she’s better than us." ALSO: Ellen still protects working- and middle-class queer people, but now she's also protecting the culturally powerful elite.