Posts Tagged ‘satire’

It was a Joke!

August 17, 2011

Jokes about racism or sexism or homophobia are funny. Racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes are not.

The distinction is pretty simple. Humorous messages use social axioms and shared knowledge as tools to tell stories, violate expectations, and make people laugh. They convey attitudes, both through the assumptions they make about this shared knowledge and through the information they make explicit in the telling. It is possible – although not always easy – to parse some of the attitudes included in a package of jokes, and therefore it is possible to point out when those attitudes are bigoted. Some jokes reinforce stereotypes, some parody them. Some jokes endorse discrimination, some make fun of it. Some jokes use prejudice as a foundational axiom, some point out the absurdity of prejudice itself. The simple fact that a message is supposed to be funny does not change the need to criticize it if it endorses harmful attitudes, so it makes sense to be attentive to the difference between reinforcing, endorsing, or utilizing group bias on the one hand, and parodying, making fun of, or exposing¬†group bias on the other. (more…)


Houston, We Have a Platform

June 23, 2010

The Grand Old Party of the Lone Star State has released its 2010 platform, and the masses are in awe of its ability to pack so much timeless wisdom into absurd little aphorisms. It is sort of like Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass, except that it’s substantially shorter and less entertaining and its production probably involved higher concentrations of hallucinogenic substances. A leading party official described it as “a lot of fun to write — sort of like when you work really hard to dislodge a giant ball of phlegm from your throat. At first you wonder if all the drama is unnecessary, but then you’re glad to get it out.” He then added, “but I don’t meant to imply that this copy of the document has any phlegm on it.”

One Genuine Conservative Republican (GCR) also said of the document, “it’s even more fun to read with a little help from Mary Jane.”

The platform contains most of the standard talking points of modern American conservatism, but it also includes some super special bonus content, guaranteed to raise your Genuine Conservative Republican Rating by at least 37 points. To save you the time of perusing the document yourself, I will outline that bonus content here, using direct quotations from the platform. The preamble reminds us that “Throughout the world people dare to dream of freedom.” You, the reader, can be one of those dreamers. You can seek the “embodiment of the Conservative Dream in America.” Where will you find it? In Texas. Our Texas. Your Texas. (more…)