After discussing physical humor in the previous post, I wanted to briefly touch on the hatred disguised as comedy which pervades our culture.
There is a massive difference between good-natured ribbing and hateful personal attacks.
Even though it’s days of relevance (and perhaps it’s funniness as well) are long past, Saturday Night Live provides the perfect example of the difference.
Note the way they portray Barack Obama:
They tease his mannerisms and provide a caricature of his speaking. But they really never make fun of him in a spiteful way. This is almost good-natured ribbing (I say almost because they really aren’t even doing very much “ribbing”. It’s like they’re afraid to make fun of the guy or something…but I suppose that’s an entirely different discussion).
Now, in contrast, note their portrayal of Sarah Palin:
There’s nothing good natured about this. It’s stone-cold spite.
One may say that public figures are fair game. This kind of ridicule is fine to heap on people who are in the spotlight.
The problem is this lack of basic human respect and common decency isn’t reserved for public figures only. It has spilled into our everyday lives and now we see vile scorn being directed upon each other. The mental leap from being hateful towards Sarah Palin to being hateful towards our neighbor has shrunk until it is almost imperceptible.
If someone disagrees with us, we attack them personally, instead of discussing the differences in a civilized manner. And yes, calling someone’s position stupid is a personal attack.
Going over example after example would turn this note more political than I want it to be…but, let me just say that though we see this from all sides… it seems to especially be a province of those who lean Left politically.
I believe the art of civil discourse is lost. Now, I am not romanticizing some mythical time in which heated topics were discussed both passionately and politely. Perhaps there never was such a time. But, I see no reason why things can’t be that way…or at least no reason why we, as a society cannot strive towards this.
The next post will provide a Conclusion to this thread.
Until then… let’s be civil 😉