1. Can’t take a joke
In November, 1983, Hustler Magazine ran a mock advertisement featuring Jerry Falwell as an incestuous drunk. Falwell was so furious that he sued its publisher, Larry Flynt, seeking damages including intentional infliction of emotional distress. The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where Flynt prevailed.
Comedy—especially edgy comedy that questions the powers that be—has always been an agent for change. It was especially an agent for change among liberals over the past 50 years, taking aim at the status quo and the powers that be, making people uncomfortable. Ethnic comedians, who often made fun of their stereotypes, were especially effective at creating bridges among different groups, laughing at, but also humanizing themselves. Through comedy we fought the battle of the sexes, laughing about our mutual misperceptions. Comedy was a way to explore explosive issues without anger.
Well guess what—we’re not supposed to do that anymore.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of things we’re not supposed to joke about anymore (a list in a list, as it were).
- Drunk Sex
- Sexual Innuendo
- Sexual preference
- Gender Identity
- Being too fat
- Being too thin
- Anybody who is a member of an ethnic, racial or religious minority
We might as well just destroy all evidence of the last 50 years of comedy.
So who can we laugh at? Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman getting raped, and basically anyone who is a member of a group that even remotely resembles the people who supported The Moral Majority, mainly white Christian men. This is dire, because—trust me—they’re just not that funny.
(Did I just make fun of Christian white guys? Oops!)