Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Recently, comedian Tracy Morgan made some statements during his act that were in poor taste and offensive to certain groups.

I don't like it when people say unkind things. About anyone. To anyone. Which is why I don't like a lot of what passes for comedy today.

HOWEVER, the reaction of the community that feels targeted, and all the suckers-up, alarms me. It's very McCarthy-esque, the way they are defining hate speech in this country and dictating, by social media, what is appropriate to speak in public.

The very people who look back in history and decry the accusations made by Sen. Joe McCarthy on his witch hunts for communists (or basically, people who didn't agree with him) are the same people whose very lives are protected by the backlash against McCarthy's excesses.

But if they (or we) start making the rules about what can be said in public, (they)we are no different or better than McCarthy.  It is really sad to see the entertainment community go berserk over this, since their community (Hollywood) was a CHIEF target of McCarthy. They KNOW discrimination, censorship, blacklisting, and persecution.

Comedy has always been humanity's way of easing into talking about things that make us uncomfortable. The "fool" in medieval times was the safety valve for the nobility. He could say things in jest to get them out in the open, and was protected by not only the laws of the realm, but the dispensation of the religious authorities. Fools were SUPPOSED to be the ones to say difficult things, ask difficult questions.

About 10 years ago in this country, the forbidden subject was race. Now it's homosexuality. What will it be tomorrow?

Let me state again, I don't like it when people say unkind things. About anyone. To anyone. Which is why I don't like a lot of what passes for comedy today.

So I don't listen to Tracy Morgan. I won't buy his tickets, I won't go see his show. But I will defend to the death his right to say what he pleases. Because if it's not Tracy Morgan being censored by social approbation, it could be me.

Or you.


Sweet Tea said...

Can you hear me applauding?
Your thoughts are my thoughts.
Very well said!!

The Bug said...

I think what struck me about what he said wasn't that it was a slap at homosexuality, but that that he said he would shoot a child of his who was gay. With all the bullying and violence against all kinds of people who are different it just kind of made my head snap back. It's ok with me if he doesn't like homosexuality - a lot of people don't. It's not ok with me to say that it's ok to shoot people who are gay (or anything else for that matter). But I'm kind of a prude when it comes to music & comedy anyway :)

The Bug said...

Oops - just went back to read what he said & it was stabbing, not shooting. The rest of my comment still stands :)

SouthLakesMom said...

Sweet Tea, thank you.

Dana, I agree that promoting violence is a bad thing. And that it was in bad taste. But at the same time, violence is promoted in our culture every day, whether it's through movies and video games, music and television, and killing unborn babies. It's all wrong. None of it is funny.

BUT, I believe he has the right to make a fool of himself if he pleases.

Robin said...

I was about to say that I had no idea who he was or what he said when I saw The Bug's comment - he said he would stab his own child??? Sorry, that's wayyyyy over the line towards incitement, even said in jest.

While I'm usually in favor of voting with your feet, voice and wallets not institutionalized censorship, inciting to violence against any group of "other" should not be tolerated. It needs to remain beyond the pale even for those who don't put it there themselves. (Still, I'm talking in theoretical terms because I didn't see the clip in question myself so I'm only going off what I see in the comments.)

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SouthLakesMom said...

Robin, having listened (in my youth) to a lot of comedy from the African American community, I thought this was in context with Tracy. There used to be a very funny black comedian who talked about child discipline saying, "Beat your kids." Everyone knew it was in the context of comedy.

But ... I'm not saying what he said was right or tasteful, just that he had the right to say it.

Just because we as a society are horrified by bullying and some of the crimes motivated by hate does not mean we should stifle speech.

quilly said...

I dislike a lot of what passes for comedy, but like you I do my censoring with my remote control and my pocket book. There is no need for hate and violence.