laughing

Wokeness Is No Laughing Matter

3 min

I remember once hearing someone who dealt with such things point out that there was one particular trait characterizing all cult religions: the lack of a sense of humor, not only with regard to others, but in relation to themselves as well. Cult religions, after all, are usually obsessed with one doctrine, to which all others are subordinate, leaving room for little else.

This characteristic, G. K. Chesterton observed, is one common to insane people. The madman, he said, "is in the clean and well-lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point. He is without healthy hesitation and healthy complexity."

The new Cult of Wokeness shares this peculiarity. It is obsessed with race and gender. All other things are to be set aside as irrelevant. The grim schoolmarms of the “woke” left, armed with denunciations and practicing censorship, approach every issue decidedly lacking in the sense of humor department.

So lacking are they in levity that they apparently don't understand irony (the root of almost all humor) at all, for The New York Times reports that the censors at Facebook are having trouble dealing with satire. Facebook, using only the austere logic of “wokeness,” identifies and eliminates posts that explicitly take positions it finds unacceptable. But, when it comes to the satirical humor of sites like the Babylon Bee, the censors are like the apes in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Confronted with the black obelisk, they are left confused and angry at the strange object.

Even those of a more progressive persuasion understand this problem, as evidenced by the left-leaning cartoonist featured in the NYT article on satire, Matt Bors, proprietor of The Nib. “If social media companies are going to take on the responsibility of finally regulating incitement, conspiracies and hate speech," Bors said, "then they are going to have to develop some literacy around satire."

In other words, over at Facebook—and, by extension, Twitter—where you apparently have to have permission to laugh, they are in dire need of remedial humor training.

No joke.

When everyone else becomes afraid to say what he thinks, the comedian is the last one standing to publicly defy oppression. This is a truth which the humorless proponents of political correctness are now having to deal with.

But perhaps there is hope. Already comedians like Dave Chapelle and Bill Burr have launched a comedic assault on “woke” platitudes, saying things that few of the rest of us could get away with, and doing it on mainstream media outlets. Chapelle's routines puncturing the PC balloon have been carried by Netflix, and Burr was given a spot on this year's Grammy Awards show (coming onstage right after Cardy B's “WAP” performance).

"One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms,” said H. L. Mencken, “It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.”

This is why it will be ridicule, rather than argument, that will ultimately bring political correctness down.

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Image Credit: 

Pixabay

Martin Cothran

Martin Cothran

Martin Cothran is the editor of Classical Teacher magazine, published by Memoria Press, and the director of the Classical Latin School Association.

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Tionico
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Only humans have anything approaching a sense of humour or the ability to truly laugh. All the other animals do some strange and amuisng things. play games, trick each other, roughhouse, stalk and "attack", shun, mimick, and such. We humans are made in the image and likeness of the God who sits in the heavens and laughs, who holds His enemies in deep derision, can scoff, scorn, lambaste..... And I will go further and declare that a member of the class "human" who is devoid of the sense of humour is sub0human at best, and beast at worst. God is also a God of justice, and HE will surely mete out reward in kind for those who use power to belittle, diminish, '"cancel" (in effect, killing....) others. There are two immutable things about God's "economy". First, when one sows he gets an increase. Second, that increase will ALWAYS be of a kind with what was sowed. Sow hatred, ridicule, social murder, guess what? You WILL, guaranteed, reap in increase, and it well be of the same kind as what you sowed. Only fitting, eh?
 
 

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The Un-Tacitus
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Lord Chesterfield observed in 1750 that "the essence of humor is surprise" There is no surprise when dealing with a wokenaut. One anticipates binary hatred/rapture and that conversations will be insufferable.
 
 

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CuriousGeorge
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I'm a comedian at heart and consider any topic fair game, but I'm also acutely aware of giving offense, which is where I draw the line. That's my personal choice. Free speech is bound to clash with people's sensibilities and, like a runner in baseball, speech should get the edge when all is fair. But behind sensibility often lies deep conviction and real circumstance, which are sometimes not taken seriously or worse denied. In these cases, I can understand why someone would rid themselves of humorous pretenses and sharpen their teeth. Some so-called "warriors" do jump the gun and take this as their starting point. They ought to know they can lighten up without abandoning their principles. Nor is this symptomatic of the Left only. Cue the abortion jokes...
 
 

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The Un-Tacitus
"But behind sensibility often lies deep conviction and real circumstance, which are sometimes not taken seriously or worse denied." It is also important that we are intellectually honest enough to look at actual statistics when forming those convictions. Too often, especially among the 'woke', statistics are ignored in favor of emotions - what Colbert (back when he was funny) used to call 'truthiness'.
rferris@sdrs.biz
I do not think there are very many abortion jokes, and those there are would be from the left, as the right sees nothing funny about abortions!!
anika21
I completely concur and love how you put it. I would add to that, jokes are funny when everyone can understand the irony or the sarcasm with its kernel of truths...unfortunately when it comes to race and gender the "joke" becomes facts, and that is when we have a problem. Usually the only people that don't understand this are not people that have had "jokes" that become some kind of policy/law that has effected their lives.
CuriousGeorge
It's one thing to disagree, it's an entirely different thing to misunderstand. The former is okay, the latter is problematic. We should always seek to understand one another, knowing that we all experience life in our own way.
CuriousGeorge
That is exactly my point: if you want to dish it, you have to be willing to take it. The Right doesn't find abortion funny and they would not countenance humor targeted at it. But the Left is "obsessed with race and gender" and the Right makes light of this. If you can't show respect for what other people value, you've lost the right to demand respect from them. Is that the outcome we should settle for, mutual disrespect? I hope not! (Abortion jokes aren't hard to find, FYI)
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