Ferning, the things is,great comedians are needfully offensive to those with power. Picking on people who are already marginalized is only going to get laughs from bullies.
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quote:Originally posted by kmbboots: Ferning, the things is,great comedians are needfully offensive to those with power. Picking on people who are already marginalized is only going to get laughs from bullies.
I don't see how satire and, as Tom put it, challenging the audience must require picking on anyone. Granted, when a comedian like Chris Rock takes on 'white people' he's going to be a lot more critical and less tongue in cheek compared to when he mocks tropes in black culture. I remember one bit of his that I found very funny dealing with black culture (I believe) and how there is much overt thanks in the culture towards mothers ("mama") and the father role remains often thankless. It sounds less funny when I say it here but I remember thinking that it's true that fewer public accolades seem to be directed towards men and father in black culture than towards the female roles. This bit is funny because it has to do with cultures roles, and although it is pointing to a real phenomenon Rock's bit wasn't picking on anyone in the 'taking them down' sense. Of course there may have been irony laced into the bit regarding absent fathers or the prison system or whatever else, but overtly at least the bit was about portraying the more powerful role of 'father/man' as getting the short end of the stick in certain cases and that being funny in the same way perhaps as it's funny to consider the cultural norm of the mother running the house in Italian or Jewish families.
So no, the bits don't always have to be about power struggles or about picking on anyone, and I'll agree with you that needlessly harping on an already downtrodden group would be both in poor taste and also not helpful to anyone. Then again comedy has so many tools, and a comedian could certainly do an ironic polemic against a downtrodden group just to show how ridiculous it is to actually take issue with them.
I'm quite sure you can find me some crap comedians that do, indeed, reach for low hanging fruit and aim at the wrong targets, but when we're discussing people like Seinfeld and Rock surely it should be clear that neither one of them is vindictive (although Rock does go a bit far in his categorical comments about white people sometimes). Seinfeld is about as Care Bears as a major comedian can get, and about as rated G to boot. That fact that the schmo wrote the open letter to him of all people really shows how little intellectual currency he had to spend when drafting it.
EDIT: I found the Chris Rock bit I was referring to. The material about "mama vs daddy" starts at around 3:20.
quote:a comedian could certainly do an ironic polemic against a downtrodden group just to show how ridiculous it is to actually take issue with them
Louis C.K., arguably one of the best standups working today, does this pretty often, but he's always very careful to telegraph that this is what he's doing both before and after he does so.
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quote: But the core of "political correctness" has always been and remains the idea that it's just good manners and sensible governance to treat people with respect, in the way they'd ultimately wish to be treated.
It's also important to keep in mind that "politically correct" is a label that was invented to be able to attack people who were advocating for treating others with dignity and respect without having to openly come out against the notion.
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