You are too easily offended. Don’t you know
what satire is? Nothing should be sacred. Everything should be equally open to ridicule.
No one identity should be untouchable. It’s political correctness gone mad. Take a seat. There can be a lot of misconception about
what it means to be offended or to find something offensive There are a lot of complicated power dynamics
in our world. Comedy has always been a powerful social force.
If you look as far back as ancient Greece and Rome you see that people, especially the
social elite, were at once fascinated and threatened by Comedy because it subverts expectations,
societal norms and the “proper” order of society. And so they push comedy down, to be seen as unintellectual, lesser, insignificant and a lot of those attitudes remain today.
People instinctively fear the power of comedy a bit, think about if you hear someone laughing
near you and you don’t know what they’re laughing at it can make you feel a little
uneasy. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t
hold comedians and satirists up as important and significant and worthy of protection while
at the same time dismissing their huge influence on shaping cultural ideas and denying the right to criticise possible misuse of that power. Criticism will never be the same thing as
censorship and jokes that actively contribute systematic oppression are never just jokes. You might think joking about African-Americans
being violent gang-members is okay because you know it’s not true, right? But every
28 hours an African-American is killed by a police officer or a vigilante. Recent studies
show that most Americans see black children as older and more of a threat than white children
of the same age. And rape jokes, they don’t mean you would
ever actually rape someone, right? But women between the ages of 15 and 44 are more at
risk from rape and domestic violence than they are from war, car accidents, cancer or
malaria. Native American head-dresses and those “sexy
Indian” costumes, I mean why should one identity get to ban everyone else from wearing their traditional dress? And while you might think the turning someone else’s cultural heritage
into a sexy accessory is okay, did you know that Native American women are twice as likely
to be sexually assaulted and First Nation women of Canada are five times more likely
to die as a result of violence? In terms of disability, there’s a lot of
ableist jokes and language that falls into our everyday speech, but is it really a big
deal? You’re not actually discriminating against anyone. But every time you tell your
friend who makes a mistake that they should “be riding in the special bus” you’re
contributing to a society which actively excludes and discriminates against disabled people.
Disabled people are worldwide seen as having less value, of being less human. In Europe, Australia and North America, over half of disabled women will experience physical abuse. There’s no way to legislated against tastelessness.
We can’t legally force people not to be callous and thoughtless with other people’s
personhood. You can only hope that people will learn to be better. We like to pretend that words aren’t the
same as actions. But that’s not true. Our words are actions that contribute to the world
in tangible ways we like to ignore. Just like an image can take on significance and become
a symbol for a religion or a people, a parody or insult towards that can be a symbol for
the oppression of those people. Comedy’s foundation block is the subversion of expectation.
But people who don’t fit into the western false default white, cis, straight, expect
your disrespect. You have subverted nothing. Have you considered the possibility that you’re just not very funny?