standup

Making Comedy Safe for the World

Don’t let the system fool you/All it wants to do is rule you[.]”

Bruce Cockburn

Many American colleges are insular freak shows resembling the Duggar family – except the incest is intellectual. And their Duggar-like offspring, political lobotomees untroubled by self-doubt, want to save the world. Justice is their business, and business is good.

And so we have San Diego State University’s Anthony Berteaux, catechizing the uninstructed Jerry Seinfeld for complaining that college students are too politically correct:

We need to talk about the role that provocative comedy holds today in a progressive world.

It isn’t so much that college students are too politically correct (whatever your definition of that concept is), it’s that comedy in our progressive society today can no longer afford to be crass, or provocative for the sake of being offensive. Sexist humor and racist humor can no longer exist in comedy because these concepts are based on archaic ideals that have perpetrated injustice against minorities in the past….

So, yes, Mr. Seinfeld, we college students are politically correct. We will call out sexism and racism if we hear it. But if you’re going to come to my college and perform in front of me, be prepared to write up a set that doesn’t just offend me, but has something to say.

borg queenOh, would that Political Correctness could Borg the world, submitting everyone to a frictionless, unified consciousness while actualizing our individuated diversities.  As Arthur Allen Leff observes, “[w]hat we want, Heaven help us, is simultaneously to be perfectly ruled and perfectly free, that is, at the same time to discover the right and the good and to create it.”  Until that deliverance, we must ensure the progress thus far made. Doing so requires domesticating comedy, proscribing jokes that “can no longer exist” because they reprise the hateful past. Moreover, comedy can’t simply amuse; like propaganda, it must improve us (Read Nick Gillespie’s excellent take-down of such “[d]idactic [a]rt.”)

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