Humor too far?

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nobspeople
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Humor too far?

Post #1

Post by nobspeople »

In the 1980's, comedians could say SO much more than they can today.
Watch a comedy show from the 1990's and you may find yourself cringing or thinking 'well, they can't say that now!'.
An article I saw today was about Asian discrimination. Someone printed a 'comic' with the stereotypical Asian person saying something to the effect of 'Don't eat my cat!'
In many places, this 'don't eat my car' reference is from the ambiguous appearing and tasting meat at many Chinese restaurants, the 'joke' being 'don't know what that meat is - it must be cat!'

In the USA, there's a special TV channel that plays cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry and Scooby-Doo. These cartoons have been removed from most 'normal' TV channels as they tend to say/speak to things that are currently 'taboo' (Tom & Jerry, for instance, has many cartoons where there's a black housekeeper).

As society changes, things change along with it. What's funny in the 1970's isn't in the 2000's; horror movies from the 1980's that terrified people, when watched today, make people say 'meh' - sometimes even laugh at the absurdity of it all.

For discussion:
With everyone seemingly offended (or capable of being offended) of most everything at any given time, how will humor have to evolve to stay relevant in society?
Or is humor doomed to be a 'behinds the scenes' thing that takes places in the darkness of society?
Or will people continue to laugh at things, but not publicly, for the fear of being 'cancelled'?
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Re: Humor too far?

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Post by Athetotheist »

"There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy."
---George Orwell, "1984"

If humor were to "evolve" to fit the current narrative, humor would indeed become extinct. I strongly believe that the insistence on being offended is being force-fed to us by corporate media as part of a divide-and-conquer campaign to keep lower classes pitted against each other.

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Re: Humor too far?

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Post by Purple Knight »

I think humour should die, eventually. Its function is mostly for the downtrodden to fight back against their oppressors in a way everyone always can: With words. I don't think there's any reason for humour to stick around if we've really gotten rid of all ills.

That's a long way off so perhaps the desire to get rid of humour is premature. Still, I think that when we see what was once funny now condemned, it's a part of the process by which society is chasing that perfection.

However, if it wasn't premature, I don't think there would be people laughing at those same jokes behind closed doors. I think the jokes would just stop being funny, and it would happen for everyone at roughly the same time.

Perhaps premature is the wrong word. Society should be better if it can be. But it's a bumpy road for the majority (including me of course) who just aren't there yet, and it's made even bumpier when those who have evolved are trying to force it on a world that's not ready.

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Re: Humor too far?

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Post by nobspeople »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Apr 15, 2022 7:36 pm I think humour should die, eventually. Its function is mostly for the downtrodden to fight back against their oppressors in a way everyone always can: With words. I don't think there's any reason for humour to stick around if we've really gotten rid of all ills.

That's a long way off so perhaps the desire to get rid of humour is premature. Still, I think that when we see what was once funny now condemned, it's a part of the process by which society is chasing that perfection.

However, if it wasn't premature, I don't think there would be people laughing at those same jokes behind closed doors. I think the jokes would just stop being funny, and it would happen for everyone at roughly the same time.

Perhaps premature is the wrong word. Society should be better if it can be. But it's a bumpy road for the majority (including me of course) who just aren't there yet, and it's made even bumpier when those who have evolved are trying to force it on a world that's not ready.
A humorless would would be a nightmare IMO. There are all sorts of humor in the human species, so 'making fun of' someone due to their [whatever] may not be the best attribute of humor, admittedly.
That said, so long as humans are allowed to remain 'human', humor will never die. And I don't think 'humor' will ever be eliminated.
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Re: Humor too far?

Post #5

Post by Diogenes »

Bill Maher speaks for me:

It's a good thing racist jokes are seldom heard these days and it is a good thing to be sensitive to others and their special situations. When we become close friends we know each other well enough to tease about things we shouldn't, to 'step over the line' because we know each other well enough to take risks for humor, and each knows they are held in high esteem. We tell jokes to our best friends that we would not tell in public.

So, it's good to be sensitive to your audience. And when you attend a public, secular event hosted by a well known comic you should be neither surprised nor outraged that the comic did what comics do, particularly when the comic's barb is directed at one of the privileged.
These are not "micro aggressions." They are jokes.
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Re: Humor too far?

Post #6

Post by nobspeople »

Diogenes wrote: Mon Apr 18, 2022 3:46 pm Bill Maher speaks for me:

It's a good thing racist jokes are seldom heard these days and it is a good thing to be sensitive to others and their special situations. When we become close friends we know each other well enough to tease about things we shouldn't, to 'step over the line' because we know each other well enough to take risks for humor, and each knows they are held in high esteem. We tell jokes to our best friends that we would not tell in public.

So, it's good to be sensitive to your audience. And when you attend a public, secular event hosted by a well known comic you should be neither surprised nor outraged that the comic did what comics do, particularly when the comic's barb is directed at one of the privileged.
These are not "micro aggressions." They are jokes.
The 'know your audience' advice is a good one, both for the audience and the presenter.
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Re: Humor too far?

Post #7

Post by The Barbarian »

Humor is often the weapon of the downtrodden against the oppressor. It's also often the weapon of the oppressor, to stigmatize the downtrodden. There was a black woman housekeeper in "Tom and Jerry" because that was what housekeepers often were. It wasn't intentionally offensive; even the broad accent was just a play on the reality, exaggerated for comic effect. We are rightly offended by such things now, but in the context of the times...

Humor, like any other device, can be used for all sorts of things, including evil. Like intelligence or physical strength, it's a good thing, but one that can be misused.

Humor is how I got though dark periods in my life. It's how I sometimes settled the fears of my children. It's often how I interact with others. And sometimes, it's how I respond to aggressive people. It can be a comforting hug or a sharp stick.

But most of all, it's human. And it's not going away.

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Re: Humor too far?

Post #8

Post by nobspeople »

The Barbarian wrote: Sat Apr 30, 2022 9:47 am Humor is often the weapon of the downtrodden against the oppressor. It's also often the weapon of the oppressor, to stigmatize the downtrodden. There was a black woman housekeeper in "Tom and Jerry" because that was what housekeepers often were. It wasn't intentionally offensive; even the broad accent was just a play on the reality, exaggerated for comic effect. We are rightly offended by such things now, but in the context of the times...

Humor, like any other device, can be used for all sorts of things, including evil. Like intelligence or physical strength, it's a good thing, but one that can be misused.

Humor is how I got though dark periods in my life. It's how I sometimes settled the fears of my children. It's often how I interact with others. And sometimes, it's how I respond to aggressive people. It can be a comforting hug or a sharp stick.

But most of all, it's human. And it's not going away.
I have a very dry, dark sense of humor. It's often seen as me being a {insert whatever negative term you think appropriate}. Make no mistake - I can be that negative thing (and quite well I might add). But that's not my normal MO.
Seems humor, when used on the wrong person, can do the opposite on what it's intended for. Thus humor, as you said, can be a double edge sword.
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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