Before special interest groups began dictating the tenor of the news, the 24 hour cable news cycle, cell phones (with instant video to internet upload ability), and social media’s ability to take a story worldwide in milliseconds, things that weren’t politically correct were funny. It’s okay, you can admit that you laughed at the off-color humor of the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s everyone did.
- Whose dad didn’t come home from a night out with the boys with a bad joke or two?
- Who didn’t laugh at the dozens of “Revenge of the Nerds” type movies that filled the theaters?
- “Blazing Saddles” and it’s blatantly racist humor?
- What about the “Cheech and Chong” movies?
- How about the very raunchy stand-up routines of Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Bobcat Goldthwait, Andrew Dice Clay, Richard Pryor and others of the era?
- Who didn’t see (and die laughing at) the VERY R-rated Eddie Murphy “Delirious” and “Raw”?
Today if you admitted to laughing hysterically at any comedy of that type, at minimum, you’d be accused of being (depending which comic you were describing) any one of:
- Discriminatory (Against the disabled or intellectually “challenged”)
- A Pedophile
- Abusive (Spousal or otherwise)
- A Drug Addict (or finding the practice/behavior acceptable)
Envision your 1980’s party-girl bestie, who years ago would have been laughing beside you. Now she’s among the modern-day helicopter parenting, wine drinking /judgment passing disguised as women’s bible study night, soccer-moms who, rather than just ignore jokes or delete things they’ve decided they “can’t” publicly find funny anymore:
- Spread emails publicly shaming a person who shared an off-color joke or meme
- Encourage mutual friends to cut a person from social circles for the same
- No longer allow their children to associate with the person’s children at or after school
- Have contacted Human Resources to report the “inappropriate” behavior at work as harassing, gotten them reprimanded, and even fired
- Have spread the gossip to their places of worship, children’s sports teams and other participatory organizations, making the person and their family feel so unwelcome they leave and even more from their home.
All of this stemming from having the nerve to have a sense of humor and realizing that there is still a First Amendment. How one person’s right to share and enjoy humor has gone from people just deleting the offending or not funny email or just giving the person a courtesy laugh or politely asking not to hear that type of joke/language to the extremes above is everything that our society was never intended to be. Our Constitution and protections of the many rights allowed to us within the Bill of Rights is exactly why we have gone to war. #PeopleNeedToLightenUp
You might wonder what made me go Hmmm about this today. Well, it was seeing another stupid headline about Donald Trump’s Twitter war with the way that he is being characterized on Saturday Night Live. #SatireIsProtectedSpeech
When Saturday Night Live was actually funny (from 1975 through the 1980’s) everyone tuned in to see the double entendres that Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radnor, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, and dozens of others over the ensuing decades tossed out that danced just below the censor line.
Based on the personal offense that the President-Elect is taking to the lampooning Alec Baldwin’s almost weekly Saturday Night Live performances are giving him, he must have forgotten the very nature of the show he admitted to enjoying before he actually won enough electoral college votes to earn the job he was seeking. Saturday Night Live has always made its laughs at the expense of the folly of politicians (including past Presidents), celebrities, sports figures and other notorious media personalities.
For a while (read that, when it served his benefit) Trump was in on the “joke.” Trump appeared as a host on SNL multiple times, largely to take the wind out of SNL’s anti-Trump sails. He refused to poke fun at himself and was only interested, when he hosted in 2015, in an appearance that was widely criticized, in downplaying his inflammatory campaign trail statements about Mexican and Muslim immigrants. Now he seems much more interested in wielding whatever power he retains at NBC by making veiled threats that SNL, which has survived 42 years and 7 Presidents, is on the way out.
This quote from the June 10, 2015 edition of Salon Magazine perfectly sums up my feelings on critical opinions of satire and comedy:
- Know the performer you are watching on TV, listening to or seeing live
- If you’re in the public eye and don’t like what’s being said about you, especially if the truth hurts, #ChangeTheChannel
- If you don’t enjoy raw, politically honest, racial, sexual, vulgar and other taboo topics that might be in a show, DON’T GO SEE THAT COMEDIAN OR ANYTHING THEY ARE IN! #FreedomOfChoice
- If people you know enjoy that type of comedy you don’t have to stop being their friend, but you don’t have any right to pass judgement on their taste in entertainment. They have no right to choose your shoes, your home, your car or your husband/wife – the same logic applies: #ToEachTheirOwn
Lisa Lampanelli, “The edgy comic wrote a piece in the Hollywood Reporter titled “How Political Correctness is Killing Comedy,” writing “Here’s the problem: Comedy, probably more than any other art form, is subjective. What jokes crack up your mom, your little brother, and your gay best friend will be completely different — unless it’s a video of a guy getting hit in the gonads with a piñata stick. That’s funny to everyone….If you like safe, generic comedy, that’s fine. Go on a cruise ship and crack up listening to the comedian point out the hilarious differences between loafers and shoes with laces. But don’t go to one of my shows and be outraged by what you hear. Going to my show and expecting me not to cross the line of good taste and social propriety is like going to a Rolling Stones concert and expecting not to hear ‘Satisfaction.’”
Closing with a return to the theme of #PeopleNeedToLightenUp, if my kid were still small and asked for this toy, I would totally buy it if it was real! As kids we played house in a real playhouse. Mom and dad left for work during the day and went out on dates at night. Well, it’s 2016, dates are now happy hour after work and my girlfriend owns two of the bars I like: that’s real life small business ownership in today’s society people! I couldn’t care less if people agree with my humor or not. #IWouldBuyTheFisherPriceHappyHourPlaySet
Are you on Facebook? If you’re interested in the occasional product that intrigues me or something I’ve bought that’s a waste of time or money, things that make me wonder, piss me off, tickle my fancy, scream like a maniac, giggle, or yell in frustration, you can receive an email each time I’ve got something new to ponder or you can join the more than 2,800 people who find me engaging or amusing at the Facebook page dedicated to this blog: https://www.facebook.com/extremeblondemoments