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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Politically incorrect humour

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I am usually not fan of excess political correctness when used against faceless audience. I don’t, of course, want to hurt anybody’s feelings because of his belief or membership. Hence I am considerate to not mention things which can be considered offensive by my listeners when I am addressing them directly. Even then, things that one can take offense to are limitless and I cannot suppress my speech to sound sugary to everyone all the time without seriously handicapping my ability to convey my meaning. As much as is the responsibility of speaker to not to hurt his audiences’ feelings, so is the onus on not getting offended without perspective on audience too. Communication is after all two way process. My relaxation of political correctness drops even further when I am addressing a faceless audience such as on blog or article. While basic political correctness is desired to maintain harmony and to avoid unwanted instigation of ill-will, too much political correctness robs message of all its possible meaning, because one can always take umbrage at practically anything.

In this context, it’s not surprising that I find some of the politically incorrect movies and serials quite funny. In world where aversion to offending others has made all conversations banalities without meaning, these attempts are quite tongue-in-cheek hilarious. I should also mention that my being able to enjoy these doesn’t mean that I support them but that I can forget about being uptight and enjoy fun. Fun, yes, racist, sexist, crass, stereotyped fun. Hence I quite liked the movies Borat and President is Coming and regularly enjoy TV serials such as Simpsons and Family Guy. Fake news source Onion is also my favourite website. While this post gives the impression that political correctness is sweeping the speech everywhere, as long as we have freedom of speech there are many who will hold the light of truth. And I’ll keep on getting my quality fun uninhibited by need to mollycoddle beliefs of all and sundry.

Primary purpose of this post, though, is to explore my this taste. Firstly, does it make me appear as bad person if I enjoy politically incorrect humour? I know that laughing at sexist jokes doesn’t make me woman-hater. I think that it’s possible to separate both parts of brain that such contradictions coexist. I can have fun at seeing someone slip (on screen) and yet be there first to help if it so happens in real life. Can I have fun seeing someone slip in real life? Can I laugh at racist joke in real life? Well, that depends on the company. As I’ve mentioned in the beginning I differentiate when I am capable of hurting known people than when I inadvertently hurt unknown people. If my company or person who is laughed at finds these offensive then it’s my duty to avoid such sense of humour. I know that such things don’t make me bad person — but does my audience know that too? Would you feel contempt towards me if you found out this fact, as you did just now? At some level, I cannot blame you if you do so, because you will form opinion based on what you see and not based on what you think what I think. Yet, it also depends on how easy you can comprehend the presence of such contradiction in my mind.

Secondly, do I really enjoy all politically incorrect humour equally? Can I laugh at myself when stereotyped? I think I can, most of the time. Sometimes I can’t but I don’t know if that’s because episode is inherently unfunny to me or because I get offended. Is it subconscious sign of something? If yes then does that make me bad person? Do you enjoy politically incorrect humour? What if directed at yourself?