Funny and Offensive | Rant Control | Salt Lake City Weekly

Funny and Offensive 

Pin It
Meta-bigotry, in which mockery is ironically targeted toward bigotry itself and not the apparent target of the offensive speech, can become truly offensive if the joke falls flat.

Online reader Jonsi, in a comment posted on Randy Harward’s music review of Travis Whitelaw’s new album Sexarcana, referred to that gamble as a “PC tightrope.”

“It seems like this writer is trying to walk a PC tightrope here (he might run afoul of powers that be at this lefty rag). He wants us to know that [Sexarcana] is real offensive but at the same time it’s ‘okay’ with him because there is supposedly real social commentary going on.”

Rant Control’s take: Otherwise offensive humor can be resurrected with a special dash of genuine social commentary. That style dates, at least, to Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. When a humorist ironically states offensive things, but makes his or her irony sufficiently apparent, taboo discussions become less so, and real conversations about important topics can begin more comfortably.

But, since Harward doesn’t conclude that Whitelaw is being ironic in his misogyny, is it still OK to laugh? Yes, because not every “tee-hee” contributes to a more bigoted world. But it’s probably not OK to laugh at offensive jokes around children—or genuine bigots—who may not understand that you are laughing at bigots and bigotry itself, not the victims of it.

Pin It

About The Author

Jesse Fruhwirth

Jesse Fruhwirth: Twitter | Facebook | News Blog

More by Jesse Fruhwirth

  • Johnny's Rotten

    Johnny Bangerter wants to move forward as an activist but just can't shake his racist punk past
    • Apr 10, 2013
  • Right of Way

    Eviction of Occupy SLC is a loss for community
    • Nov 23, 2011
  • The Limbo Party

    Redistricting: How low can Utah Dems go?
    • May 19, 2011
  • More »

Latest in Rant Control

  • A Hard Decision

    D.P. Sorensen’s May 26 satire column “Putting Circumcision to a Vote” examined the recent controversy over a San Francisco ballot measure that would ban the circumcision of males under age 18.
    • Jun 8, 2011
  • Communication Clash

    Gustavo Arellano’s syndicated Ask A Mexican column took on the issue of “proper” Spanish on May 26, with a court-interpreter reader bemoaning ...
    • Jun 1, 2011
  • Facing the Music

    Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday was May 24, and City Weekly music blog contributor ...
    • May 25, 2011
  • More »

© 2024 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation