Senate Humour, satire and "taboo" subjects

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Katana_Geldar, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    I've often wondered about this, whether there are subjects that are somehow beyond humour and that we don't want to make jokes about for fear of offence to people of groups.

    I'm not talking about bad jokes, or intentionally inflammatory jokes, but light hearted fun meant to show something doesn't have to be taken so seriously.

    And as an Australian, I feel it's my right to "take the piss" to lighten situations. A little humour can help stop arguments. Also, if we can't laugh at ourselves then I think we're a rather sorry lot as humans. Laughter and humour is a way of connecting us in a universal way.

    Do you think that there are some things that cannot be made fun of? Why or why not?

    I have heard jokes, or satire, about Muslims, the KKK, Nazis and Jews, all in a completely non-derogatory way. (If anyone would care to hear them, I'll oblige). I'm understand that such things can be taken to far, but in not he right context and words, I think you could laugh at almost anything.
    Sarge likes this.
  2. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    It's a tough situation, sometimes. When 911 happened I was in the backwoods of Alberta, Canada (practically out of touch, and its a long story about how I heard about it, etc.) and most of the folks I was with "resorted" to black humor. One person in our group was kind of offended that we could "joke" about the plane crashing into the field, but it was our way of dealing with something so horrific.

    I think, as you said, it's the intent behind the humor - if the goal is to inflame or anger others - then it crosses a line, yet, none of us always know when someone will be offended by something we didn't mean offense by.
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  3. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Nothing in sacred, everything should be subject to ridicule and mockery. Everything.
  4. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    You should never have to tiptoe around others' sensitivities. If someone gets offended by something you do or say, then they have the problem, not you.

    In other words, just because someone is overly sensitive doesn't mean they get to dictate how others conduct their behavior.
  5. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    If so, then why can I not say ****, ****, suck my ****, and while we're at it, Britney Spears has something that rhymes with the word bunt, on this board? Are you saying you have a philosophical objection to the TOS?
  6. themetresgained Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    star 4
    That's nonsense. I don't advocate laws restricting speech (even hate speech) but if you think that you can go around saying whatever inane, inflammatory crap you like and then hold your hands up when someone gets angry with you and be like "Oh, I'm not the one with the problem! YOU'RE the one with the problem for being offended at my comparing homosexuality and paedophilia!" EDITED OUT
    Last edited by SuperWatto, Nov 6, 2013
  7. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I think you missed his point.
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  8. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Ah yes, because all those laws preventing adults from having sex with children should be subject to ridicule and mockery. Popular view in some sections of the Catholic Church, from what I've heard.

    Or here's a nice thought exercise for us all: if, say, a paedophile jokes with his mates down the pub about the relative merits of raping blonde children as opposed to red headed children, in earshot of folks who don't have any predilection for hearing toddlers scream as they're held down and violated with human appendages or indeed objects, are you guys honestly saying the latter has no right to be offended by those jokes? And for clarity, please don't straw man about criminal offences. The paedophile has not committed any at the point where you hear their conversation.
    Sarge likes this.
  9. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    themetresgained, please respect the Senate rules and your fellow posters.
  10. themetresgained Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    star 4
    What point did I miss? What I heard is that if you're offended at something, it's your fault. Nobody is 'dictating' behaviour here. It is not 'dictating behaviour' to go up to someone and tell them what a colossal [expletive] they are being by saying something offensive and hurtful. There's no virtue in being so lacking in empathy that you think being hurtful is something that should protect you from the censure of others.
    Last edited by themetresgained, Nov 6, 2013
  11. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Saintheart, firstly I appreciate your attempts to make a variation on the "A Catholic priest walks into a bar" jokes. I would commend your effort and offer the feedback that you should perhaps consider the delivery, as a concise and less bleak set-up is more likely to tickle the audience's funny-bone.

    Now. You saw what I did there, right?

    Anyway, if we take the extreme examples out, and try for something moderate, we might progress to a rational centre. Watch this. It's very NSFW and is full of lewd, offensive jokesabout purposefully "taboo" topics



    How many times did you laugh? Did you watch all the episodes in that series?

    Here's another NSFW, satire of taboo topic links: http://www.theonion.com/articles/no-one-murdered-because-of-this-image,29553/

    Violence ensued when cartoons of the prophet Mohammed were published. Death threats were made. See how the above deals with it?

    Cough cough ooops did this fall out of my pocket? http://psychcentral.com/lib/humor-as-weapon-shield-and-psychological-salve/0005629

    Saintheart, if you extract that stick up your bottom, besides the label "Property of the Catholic Church" you'll find you can laugh at anything and so long as you don't, you know, go around killing people or excluding them from society, it's probably ok.

    This entire post should be construed as an illustrative attempt at highlighting my first response to the OP's question and given you know my abject disdain for Catholicism the fact I've made two flippant, jokey remarks about them here should be proof positive i mean what I say. Life is too short, as Oscar Wilde said, to be taken seriously.
    Katana_Geldar likes this.
  12. themetresgained Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    star 4
    Saying "if... then you're an idiot" is disrespectful? I thought I was obviously playing the ball, not the man, but ok... I am new to this forum after all.
  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    If I was to say, "Jesus, when he died, had a twelve foot rubber penis in his rectum" - and you were to be offended by that, I'd ask why the hell you're so uptight about what's clearly intended as a remark not suggesting an alternative history, but designed to provoke you.

    Because let's look at the track record here, and I don't mean the people who called the film Dogma offensive without having seen it. I mean the people who were so offended that Mohammed was illustrated in a Danish publication that they threatened someone's life with it. I mean people who were so angry at a stupid American film called "Innocence of Muslims" that they violently cascaded through the streets of Sydney. I mean people who are offended children are being taught evolution and demand instead that they be taught a capricious hypocrite designed it all from the get go. I mean, you want to talk offensive, the assault on intellect to deny children proper education in favour of indoctrination is offensive, but I don't want people to stop because I'm offended.
  14. themetresgained Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    star 4
    Come on. That 'riot' was not a riot at all. But I think I see what you're saying.

    Perhaps it's useful to distinguish between:
    1. those who are offended simply by being contradicted (in which case they're not terribly bright)
    2. those who are offended due to misinterpreting someone's intentions and the offender in question wasn't actually trying to be provocative (in most of these cases a little communication fixes it all)
    3. those who are offended because somebody is saying things that are awful and hurtful, in which case they have every right to voice their offence

    I also think there's probably a lot of grey area between #2 and #3, which is where, I hazard, most of the controversy lies.

    (To put my initial response into context, usually whenever I hear someone telling others to 'stop being offended' it's some white dude thinking sexism and racism is totally hilarious and whinging about 'PC gone mad' which is an approach I have zero sympathy for because it's pretty obvious type #3)
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  15. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Why do you think I didn't give you any warning points? :p
    I agree it's not so bad, but we're walking a thin line here with this subject and I think it would be constructive if we'd all stay away from insulting even hypothetical people.
    themetresgained likes this.
  16. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    If we're talking whether particular subjects in humour should be capable of giving offence, that's one thing. We can have a meaningful discussion about that. On that score, institutionalised religion deserves a good hard crack at it. Hell, The Name of the Rose is sometimes said to be a two hundred thousand word joke on the subject of humour in Christianity generally.

    My objection was to the absolutist remark that everything should be subject to ridicule or mockery as if some sort of pseudo-Voltaire principle linking arms with the right to free speech. I don't believe it is. Ridiculing paedophiles is one thing. Ridiculing children who've had their orifices literally torn open by an adult is another. On the other hand, if you're saying that remark was rather more for hyperbolic effect than a practical statement, so be it and I'll leave it at that.
    themetresgained likes this.
  17. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Whereas the context of this thread was someone being offended by the idea of 'Allo 'Allo party where some of us were playing Nazis, including myself.

    As for pedophile jokes...there were quite a few made about Michael Jackson when he died.
    Last edited by Katana_Geldar, Nov 6, 2013
  18. themetresgained Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    star 4
    I don't appreciate rape jokes at all because I think they trivialise the idea of rape in a society that already doesn't take it seriously. Rape culture jokes, on the other hand, are a good use of humour and satire. Like this piece from The Onion.
    Mia Mesharad and V-2 like this.
  19. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Erm, it was a riot. I live in Sydney. It was.

    1) Or, if not contradicted, the act of using satire to highlight illogical, inconsistent or otherwise silly positions in a worldview means people resort to offense as a way of not addressing the underlying criticism.
    2) Agreed
    3) But do they? I mean, are we that weak as a species that we can be offended by someone's words? It says a lot about the person who gets offended, none of it good, that a controversial remark can upset you. Probably speaks to some of my points under 1) too.
  20. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Nor do I; but have you looked at the video I linked? Are Jimmy Carr's jokes making fun of rape; or shocking people into realising how that attitude is probably a caricature of attitudes held by real people?
  21. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    So,strikes it's not about being offended, it's about having something you love and respect being taken to a level you're not comfortable with.

    Star Wars example: Obi-Wan is my favourite SW character and a large part of it has to do with Alec Guinness. I didn't like it, and still don't, when family guy made him into a pedophile.

    That's not to say I can't handle Star Wars or Obi-Wan being parodied, but there is such a the as a step too far...
  22. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Wait, you're bothered by Herbert in Family Guy?
  23. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Not by Herbert, the fact the he was playing Obi-Wan, quintessential good guy. It was more a personal thing, like seeing someone you know abc admire do something very embarrassing.

    But then, I'm not much a fan of Family Guy and I own the SW DVDs.
    Last edited by Katana_Geldar, Nov 6, 2013
  24. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    I never advocated making inflammatory statements. That's you putting words in my mouth. This topic has to do with things that are humorous to some, but offensive to others. Just because YOU find something to be offensive doesn't mean others can't or shouldn't be amused by it. When you whine about something offending you, you're putting your own wants and sensitivities ahead of others.

    It is unreasonable to sacrifice freedom of expression for fear of offending someone. If you believe that someone should not be allowed to act a certain way because it offends you, then you are arrogantly assuming that you have the authority to decide what is right and wrong, and that you have the authority to impose your values on others.

    Stephen Fry said it best. I'm paraphrasing here, but he said something like "I hate it when people say they're offended, as if that gives them certain rights. If what I say offends you, so ****ing what?"

    The best solution is to simply stop letting things offend you.
    Last edited by timmoishere, Nov 6, 2013
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  25. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    If we banned every joke that offended somebody, there would be no humor left.

    So yeah, I'd say the responsibility is on the offended party, to either lighten up or leave the situation.
    timmoishere likes this.