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Senate Humour, satire and "taboo" subjects

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

  1. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    A positive interpretation makes the sign witty, but I think if you try to look at it completely neutral... it encourages sexual harrassment. Mostly because of the use of the semicolon, which makes the second statement trump the first. If it had said "Sexual harassment will not be tolerated. It will be graded", that would have made both sentences equal, and it would have been clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Now it's not. Now it reads "we don't just tolerate sexual harassment, we grade it".
    :-B
     
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  2. wannasee

    wannasee Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Punctuation has a number of uses, but marking which statement is more important is not one of them. We usually use bolded, italicized, or underlined words for that.

    You are ascribing powers to the semicolon that it just does not have.

    If memory serves me, semicolons can be replaced with "and" without changing the meaning.

    So, "sexual harassment will not be tolerated AND it will be graded," is how the sign should be understood.

    :cool:
     
  3. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2003
    That reminds me of a sign I saw in a bike shop years ago, that said "Shoplifters will be shot, then prosecuted" and there was a gun underneath, I think. Maybe an air gun.

    Now honestly, who was going to shoot shoplifters in a bike shop? (Don't answer that if you're American ;)) but it was not meant to be taken seriously at all. Just to get your attention in a satirical way.

    And semicolons do not necessarily replace "and"; it connects two statements and otherwise assists with lists to keep warring commas in check.
     
  4. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    I'm not convinced there's actually a link here anyway. I'm quite strongly opposed to rape and I hate the rape culture in, say, gaming and online. I've commented in the JC sexism thread on how disturbingly, rape is used as a "rite of passage" for strong female characters in media (novels, TV, film) and how, since rape is about dominance, it's a way of keeping women subjugated. I could go on but the point is clear; I am not a fan of that kind of behavior.

    Yet, in the video on page one, I laughed at Jimmy Carr's joke; "90% of women kiss with their eyes closed. Which is why it's often so hard to identify a rapist".

    Is Carr advocating rape? Is he softening a previously harsh stance on the matter? Am I now tacitly endorsing the unpardonable crime? So my previously held views wash away?

    Of course not. If anything, that joke reinforces my view that society is far too permissive towards rape, and therein lies the brilliance of Carr's satire - he wants to shock you into saying "that's awful" and turning on that culture. Not to say "lol i liek raep".
     
  5. Heavy Isotope

    Heavy Isotope Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2013
    To add to that I think a lot of the people who get offended about things are the ones who set out choosing what they find offensive. Obviously a life experience can make something not funny to you, but no one should have to kowtow to your personal taste. The simple answer is if you don't like it don't listen to it. For example I don't find some of George Carlin's jokes to be funny, so I listen to the bits he does that I do like and don't make a big deal about the ones I don't.
     
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  6. wannasee

    wannasee Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 24, 2007
    1) You should use a period there, not a semicolon: "Semicolons do not [only] replace "and". [They can also] connect two statements and otherwise assist with lists to keep warring commas in check."

    2) connecting two statements is exactly the function of "and".

    3) semicolons in a list also mean "and".
     
  7. Saintheart

    Saintheart Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2000
    I am offended by the sudden penetration of Strunk and White into this thread. Yes, I know it is a Senate thread. :D
     
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  8. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    We don't approve of grammar nazism; we grade it.

    Okay, maybe a semicolon is not more than 'AND'. I still think it's a pretty lousy joke, and I can see how women would take offense at it. I just don't think it ranks much higher than a playmate in a bike repair shop.

    Can I trot out my Zwarte Piet already?
     
  9. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    The Dutch have no association with racism, ever. It's outrageous to suggest that of little ol' Zwarte Piet.
     
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  10. timmoishere

    timmoishere Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2007
    If something is offensive to one person but funny to another, well, that means the person who finds it funny has a happier outlook on life.
     
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  11. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    [​IMG]

    It appears that a lot of people think that something can't be racist if it isn't meant to offend.
     
  12. darth-calvin

    darth-calvin Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 10, 2002
    To be clear, besides the blatant tone of the message, the sign was clearly intended to be a joke. It was a meme. He bought it at a novelty store called Spencers, which had many similar signs with different sayings along the same lines - specifically targeting taboo subjects with a funny spin, like Katana's example. (Surely I can't be the only one here old enough to remember these, can I?.) The ladies did know this - they just didn't think it was a subject that should be made light of.
     
  13. V-2

    V-2 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 10, 2012
    When female-dominated bike repair shops have posters of naked men pinned up on the wall, maybe playmate posters in male-dominated bike shops won't seem so misogynistic.
     
  14. Violent Violet Menace

    Violent Violet Menace Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 11, 2004
  15. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Ender Sai, the problem with your position is that the there is little evidence the things you are calling satire actually qualify as such. Some contrasts will help illuminate my concern.

    You earlier mentioned the example of Louis CK's discussion of white privilege. I would put that besides something like Dave Chappelle's "blind KKK member" skit. Both of those easily qualify as effective satire. They point out the illogical nature of the position ostensibly held, and the humor lies in deconstructing the social norms that undergird racism. CK starts by explicitly pointing out "if I could choose" while admitting it is not a choice, and thereby highlighting the injustice of making so much of someone's life outcomes determinate on something they don't have any choice in. Chappelle does so doubly, as it's unclear why people who've learned to love one black person couldn't learn to put away the hate they have against all the rest, or how a black advocate of racial inferiority that equals--if not surpasses--his white counterparts doesn't blow up the whole notion he purports to defend. Without bringing anything of their own to the respective routines, viewers are smacked in the face with the social critiques.

    Now consider your rape and sexual harassment joke. What about Carr's joke criticizes rape, or highlights something about the attitudes that support it? Nothing. The only thing you describe was your personal reaction, which you had only by merit of having come into the joke so strongly opposed to rape. Similarly, think about the sign at the restaurant. What about the "joke" of that sign in and of itself suggested disapproval of sexual harassment? Nothing. You just described a reaction that you had because you already think the view expressed is transgressive. In both case, offensive things are being said simply because they are offensive. That's not satire. It's just shock jock humor. There's nothing particularly enlightening or useful about it, and I don't think it deserves any special defense at all.

    Your mistake is that you are reversing the judgments about the jokes into personal validations of your own beliefs. They aren't. Thoughtful, important jokes are that way because of what their authors put into them, not what you bring to the table.

    Finally, let me comment on the sign. The grammar doesn't really matter. The whole statement does. That statement, taken as a whole, is condoning of sexual harassment. The whole "joke" is that it reverses the expectation created by the first independent clause. Otherwise, it's just an extended announcement of the sexual harassment policy played entirely straight. The existence of humor literally depends on subverting the usual censure against sexual harassment. But it's specific text is no help, either. Something that is not tolerated would be curtailed immediately once noticed. Something that is graded, by contrast, is most always allowed to be seen through to completion. Similarly, to speak of "grading" something at all suggest it is viewed in at least a neutral light. It implies there are positive qualities to be measured and applauded. While one might technically grade the severity/badness of something, that doesn't make sense here, as those graded mildest more or less would be "tolerated" and on the other hand even the most Draconian and medieval justice systems have gradations of punishment, so there would be no point in making this remark. The "joke" of the sign is that the sign owner doesn't take sexual harassment to be as bad as the rest of society does.
     
  16. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Five Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Couldn't have said it better than that.
     
  17. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Vivec, good post. I'll concede the point/s.
     
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  18. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    Not all important jokes are thoughtful, though.

    I remember reading a column by Mr. Theo Van Gogh a little over ten years ago. I knew this guy, he'd made a name for himself in the carefree nineties by being shockingly honest and confrontational - but always with a smile, and people took his sniping in stride because he was fun to hang out with. Always good for a laugh. Anyway, in this column, he was slagging the muslims - as was the thing of the day - and calling them... ya know... men who bed goats. And I remember thinking "Careful, you fool! You don't know who you're messing with".

    He was killed in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded street, by a radical muslim with a butcher's knife. Witnesses said that, as the knife was twisted in his gut, his last words were "It was only a joke".

    That's just a waste. Getting killed for lame jokes.

    And the cartoon of Muhammed with the bomb in his turban? Was that funny? I didn't think so. The guy got an axe-wielder for Christmas. Was that really worth it?

    I'm all for freedom of speech, but sometimes it's better for people if they shut up.
     
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  19. timmoishere

    timmoishere Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2007
    You shouldn't have to censor yourself out of fear of reprisal. Acceding to radical Muslims who will use violence to defend their beliefs will never work. That's why my avatar is what it is, to show that I'm not afraid, and to show I shouldn't have to be afraid.
     
  20. Violent Violet Menace

    Violent Violet Menace Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 11, 2004
    While you have little reason to be afraid on an anonymous internet message board, I agree with your sentiment.
     
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  21. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    No, you shouldn't, but that doesn't make it any less of a reality.
     
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  22. wannasee

    wannasee Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 24, 2007
    To a certain extent i agree with you, but obviously your rule cannot be applied universally.

    If you are expressing your views with all due courtesy, you should be able to say what you want without any fear.

    However, if you are flagrantly disrespecting another person (eg "your mother is a whore") or their culture (eg your society is based on a lie and you are all idiots), you should expect to be (and deserve to be) physically assaulted. come on brah

    more parentheses here )_()_()))((())()()()()():D
     
  23. timmoishere

    timmoishere Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2007
    You lost me at "deserve to be physically assaulted."
     
  24. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Me too.

    Parody and satire also play a rather vital function in freedom of speech: in pointing out inadequacies and mistakes in the current system. Sort of like the court jester.

    I saw The Chasers War on Everything doing a similar function for Australia. You could say the same thing about The Colbert Report.
     
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  25. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001

    How does Holland cope with that? I mean, I've always understood it to be a fairly liberal and open society but when someone like van Gogh is killed for expressing an idea... it has to be confronting to the society, right?

    Though Dutch tolerance has it limits - was it the Dam or the Nationaal Monument where off-duty marines went and removed hippies of their own accord?