Humour on College Campuses

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A place for serious discussion on any non-religious topic

Humour on College Campuses

Postby Pondero » June 24th, 2015, 4:14 pm

There is a wonderful column by Barbara Kay, in today's National Post, entitled Executing the jester.Young people today are so PC they just want to use the words in criticizing comedians. 'that's racist,' 'that's sexist,' 'that's prejudice,' they scare off the comedians, from college campuses, and they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

" This in turn prompted an open letter to Jerry Seinfeld published in the Huffington Post by San Diego State University student Anthony Berteaux, who lectured. Jerry Seinfeld - Jerry Seinfeld! - on what is and is not "funny."
If Berteaux had had a sense of humour, he would have realized his arrogance was in itself hilarious. Bill Maher was quick off the mark exploiting this comedy gold on his show,Real Time, with a reposte (channeling George Carlin):
"Dear you little sh-t , I'm sure you are busy with your new letter explaining astrophysics to Stephen Hawking and giving jump shot pointers to Steph Curry, but try to get a clue"
The absence of a sense of humour regarding one's sacred cows is a sure sign of illiberalism, in this era of extreme and pervasive campus illiberalism, one needn't be a professional comedian, or even a brazen incorrect conservative like Ann Coulter (is she a polemicist or a standup comedian?) to incur the wrath of ideologues.
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa, The bookmark of Teresa of Ávila, [28]
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Re: Humour on College Campuses

Postby Sprocket » June 24th, 2015, 9:29 pm

I wonder if that's why I haven't seen rasg mags being sold for decades. It's probably more to do with the fact that I don't live in a University town, but I do visit London fairly frequently. Are rag weeks a thing of the past? The jokes in rag mags were certainly by no means all inclusive, so I wonder if they've been closed down by the Dave and Davina Sparts on campuses.
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Re: Humour on College Campuses

Postby GregB » June 26th, 2015, 7:13 am

A new book (June 18th.) has appeared entitled, 'Trigger Warning: Is The Fear Of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?' by journalist Mick Hume which tackles this problem head on. It looks very interesting and here is the description from the Amazon page (italics mine.):

"In this blistering polemic, veteran journalist Mick Hume presents an uncompromising defence of freedom of expression, which he argues is threatened in the West, not by jackbooted censorship but by a creeping culture of conformism and You-Can’t-Say-That.

The cold-blooded murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in January 2015 brought a deadly focus to the issue of free speech. Leaders of the free-thinking world united in condemning the killings, proclaiming ‘Je suis Charlie’. But it wasn’t long before many commentators were arguing that the massacre showed the need to apply limits to free speech and to restrict the right to be offensive.

It has become fashionable not only to declare yourself offended by what somebody else says, but to use the ‘offence card’ to demand that they be prevented from saying it. Social media websites such as Twitter have become the scene of ‘twitch hunts’ where online mobs hunt down trolls and other heretics who express the ‘wrong’ opinion. And Trigger Warnings and other measures to ‘protect’ sensitive students from potentially offensive material have spread from American universities across the Atlantic and the internet.

Hume argues that without freedom of expression, our other liberties would not be possible. Against the background of the historic fight for free speech, Trigger Warning identifies the new threats facing it today and spells out how unfettered freedom of expression, despite the pain and the problems it entails, remains the most important liberty of all."
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Re: Humour on College Campuses

Postby different glory » June 26th, 2015, 8:57 am

It's not an easy question,though. (Leaving aside the colleges - talking about freedom of speech and comedy more generally now.) Words are powerful, and comedy is powerful and it (and they) can be used (including deliberately used) in socially destructive ways - see this masterly evocation of how anti-Jewish "jokes" worked in pre-Hitlerian Germany. In the same way anti-black jokes helped fuel the hate-filled murderousness we saw about a week ago, anti-women jokes... but my time is running short. You see the point I'm making.
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Re: Humour on College Campuses

Postby Pondero » June 26th, 2015, 11:05 am

The video makes me sick.
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa, The bookmark of Teresa of Ávila, [28]
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Re: Humour on College Campuses

Postby GregB » June 27th, 2015, 7:22 am

different glory wrote:It's not an easy question,though. (Leaving aside the colleges - talking about freedom of speech and comedy more generally now.) Words are powerful, and comedy is powerful and it (and they) can be used (including deliberately used) in socially destructive ways - see this masterly evocation of how anti-Jewish "jokes" worked in pre-Hitlerian Germany. In the same way anti-black jokes helped fuel the hate-filled murderousness we saw about a week ago, anti-women jokes... but my time is running short. You see the point I'm making.

Yes, but I'm not sure I agree. I don't believe such jokes provoke people into racial, mysogynistic and other kinds of hate attacks; I think they already feed on such prejudices, perhaps reinforcing them for some, but they already exist and have done since time immemorial. The psychotic youth who murdered those nine blacks recently was surely motivated by long-standing racial hatred and adherence to the white supremacism of Confederate rednecks and I doubt whether he needed a few jokes to induce him to reach for his gun. Put it another way: if all such jokes were prohibited on pain of serious prosecution, I doubt whether that would affect racist and other kinds of hate-induced violence one jot.

Concerning anti-semitism in pre-war Germany, again that was something long ingrained in many (indeed, throughout Europe) and it was fueled by pseudo-scientific Nazi race theory, organised state persecution and murderous paranoia with regard to the 'outsider' figure, always blamed for society's ills. As for the song from 'Cabaret', some see it more as lampooning satire against Nazi racial attitudes. In any event, one can't take a single song in a musical of the 70's as being evidence of anti-Jewish jokes in 30's Germany; a lot more hard evidence would have to adduced for that. I might add that some comedians, such as Lenny Bruce (Jewish), Richard Pryor (black) and others have actually used racial sterotype jokes to defuse their import.

I would still defend freedom of speech even in this dubious area, for all the offence that might be caused, rather than start imposing restrictions which could have open-ended serious consequences for personal liberty. The Muslim communities in our societies, already well versed in victimisation culture, are increasingly ready to seize on any opportunity to restrict any kind of criticism directed towards them (and in a growing number of instances, kill or try to kill those who indulge in it), and must not be allowed to limit or ultimately abolish our freedom of expression, something which is virtually non-existent in most Islamic states anyway. If their version of blasphemy laws ever holds sway in our societies - clearly a part of their programme of stealth jihad - then the descent into darkness is accelerated.

[One prominent Muslim cleric's attitude towards humour through the prism of his religion was expressed thus:
"There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humour in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious." - Ayatollah Khomeini ]
"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."
- Cicero
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