Easily Offended | Symbols and Systematic Oppression


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?

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Comments

  1. Easily Offended | Symbols and Systematic Oppression
    A lot of people seem to totally miss the point when they talk about these being "offensive" – this is not about hurt feelings.

  2. Really well done. I think you're right that words are actions, and because of that, it makes sense that all actions have a reaction of the same size. If someone says something, they should be anticipating a criticism of what they said. You're freedom to talk well never be taken away from you, thats what the government tries to ensure with free speech. But no one should be surprised when their privilege to monetize their words, or whatever it is that they're doing, could be diminished by the content of their speech. 

  3. Good grief, your videos are SO GOOD. "Comedy's foundation is the subversion of expectation… You have subverted nothing…" SO GOOD! Och, you're brilliant and this was excellent.

  4. "you are too easily offended.".
    —nonsense. You go right ahead and be offended at everything. I don't care. Just be as offended as you want to be. However, I should point out that stress is bad for your immune system (so I hear). But by all means, stress out. Be my guest.

    "don't you know what satire is."
    —OK, it might be a good idea to know what satire is. It's a form of comedy and it might help relieve some of that stress. But if you don't want to know what it is, that's fine. I don't care. You have a right to walk your own path through the garden of knowledge.

    "nothing should be sacred. Everything should be equally open to ridicule.".
    —nonsense. Religious types (and ideologues), y'all go ahead and think whatever you want to be sacred IS sacred. Having said that, freedom of speech is sacred to me so I'm going to go ahead and ridicule your sacred stuff.

    "no one identity should be untouchable"
    —OK, I THINK that means that we should feel free to make fun of anybody no matter what 'minority tag' they happen to wear. And yeah, I totally agree. If you don't, that's fine but 'my body, my choice' means my mouth and my fingers are under my control so… here I am typing and worshiping that freedom of speech I love so much.

    "it's political correctness gone mad"
    —well, that may be but there it is. Whatever. Got my sacred statue of Lenny Bruce, god of free speech and the PC brigade can be as PC as they want. I'll make fun of them to pass the time.

    Already seated. If you're about to try to disprove the above assertions, well, good luck. Have at I guess. We'll see how well you disprove them or how well you prove something else.

    Apparently though, if you ARE arguing against those statements, well, that means you're basically pro-censorship. Might as well be burning books.

    1:29
    And there it is. Look, you can 'criticize' comedians all you want. But when will that 'criticism' turn into censorship? I don't trust liberals and feminists and SJW's (or any religious zealot) to reign themselves in and I don't think YOUR critics do either. Believe it or not, what you're doing now also has social ramifications and is just as powerful, in it's way, as what comedians do. You're not a professional feminist/liberal/SJW but these do exist (Naomi Wolf for example or Anita Sarkeezian or Laci Green or, well, the list goes on) and there are amateur comedians and there are professional comedians. So… here you are in the same boat as the people you're about to rip.

    A bunch of feminist stuff you tie to a bunch of race stuff. Not really sold on any of it. You're welcome to prove all your stuff but I'm not really interested right now. Right now, I'm wondering how you're going to justify criticizing comedians while ignoring that you're doing what they do (only, without the humor).

    OK, you completely failed. You're a feminist/SJW and you don't like humor. Shocking.

  5. How odd. I did a video about humor just two days ago. Weird.

    I get the 'you're too sensitive' all the time. Usually combined with something offensive.

    Do you know who really likes rape jokes? Rapists.

    In America corporations and fetuses have personhood but minorities and women do not.

  6. Word do not equal actions. You could holler hurtful things at someone all day and the only way it even makes a dent is if they allow it. On the other hand, strike someone in the head with a hammer, and no matter how much they wish it weren't so, they are now bleeding from their melon. Words =/= Action. All consequences that result from words are due to the action or inaction of a person or group of people.

    Since I know that my words will – like the above example – fail to make a dent in convincing anyone that their feelings are not as brittle as that of human bone to a hammer, the next stage of this well-meaning negligence becomes a verbal mud wrestling match over who's feelings get to matter. Being a believer in true equality, I regard no person below me*… nor above me. Your feelings do not matter more than someone else' because you perceive that you're part of some exclusive club that you've been convinced has been oppressed longer or more greatly.

    (*Based on things beyond his or her control. I do consider myself above, say, a murderer.)

    The core of equality, fairness, justice is – must be – the belief that we are individuals to be judged for our own actions only. Unless you know every step of a person's life, every pain he or she has suffered, who the hell are you to claim that one person has had a better life over another? It's the pinnacle of egotism.

  7. I appreciate your thoughts and your cool attitude. 😀 That being said, it's nice when people cite their sources. Suggestion. Also, you brought up the topic of what offended means, but you didn't discuss what it means and how people get the definition wrong. I don't care about people or myself being offended. It means that I upset someone. If I am having a political discussion over any topic, why should I care if my opinions offended someone? It is not constructive debate to bring up that you are offended. If I am talking to a friend about trauma they've experienced, I'd sit down, listen, be careful with my words, and see if there's anything I can do to help. But personal issues shouldn't have a place in political arguments. Issues of society, that are backed by good research, sure. So I want to hear about that in political arguments. Not about how I upset you. Though, bringing up personal issues is effective in political debates, it is not constructive in helping any particular cause. It then shows that you have bias. Bias can be a very negative factor when trying to help society. I think you can end up making it personal, rather than for the larger cause when bias is involved. What are your thoughts?

  8. Personally I was agreeing with the whole first half, then once you started introducing statistics that were vague and could be used in a manner that could lead to different conclusions, I started disagreeing quite a bit.  One particular one I needed to comment on was involving aboriginals.  You gave two disjoint concepts.  The "sexy indian" outfit and violence towards aboriginal women.  One important detail you left out that would make or break that point was if it was within that given cultural group or not.  Most violence against aboriginals is by other aboriginals (at least in Canada).  

    While I agree people should be careful with what they say, humour should know no boundaries.  Come on I've been raped, and discriminated against in the workplace in the past for my sex, and none of those kinds of jokes bug me the slightest!  Because X exists doesn't imply somebody shouldn't joke about X.  Though almost every example you provided you're actually giving X then the joke is about Y which is a subset of X, which is somewhat disheartening as you can find almost any example of where this could go wrong.

    Keep making videos though, I enjoyed it for the most part :).

  9. Sharing again because of all the idiots in the comments who seem to think that if they prevaricate about statistics long enough people won't notice they are actually disagreeing with someone saying we should make people feel victimised and excluded less. Ugh.

  10. Interesting, I think it's an interesting take on the issue but the problem is how do you make it happen? Well I guess you can't…since people have to decide from themselves. 😛

  11. Came here to see if this was overly sensitvity was the subject. It was. Facts are people will make jokes. Some tasteful, some not so much. Actions will always speak louder than words. Since comedy is the topic. Please apply your studies of comedians. Try to learn as much as possible about them. Then apply your information to social comical knowledge. You see in jest we laught a serious problems and spread knowledge of its existence. Police kill more whites than blacks for your info.

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