Tuesday, April 17, 2007

that whole don imus thing

So why is it that South Park is funny, but Don Imus isn't? I'm as willing as the next guy to laugh at jokes made about groups I identify with (which is to say, not if I'm cranky or it's not funny), so what's different here? My first reaction to the news report I read about his remark was "wow, that's a dumb thing to say in front of a hot mic, but whatever" but after I heard an audio clip of it, my perspective changed. Cause you know how sometimes when someone's telling a joke, there's an edge in their voice to show they're not really kidding? That's what the clip sounded like: a guy who thought that the women of the Rutgers team maybe didn't deserve the success they'd had that season, a guy savoring his own alliterative cleverness in causally dismissing their accomplishments. If he'd said something similar about a group of white male NBA players, it might have been funny. Or at least less ... serious.

I guess I'm willing to laugh at a offensive joke that's about my group as long as I think the room is laughing with me, not at me. Because if they're laughing at me, then it's pretty stupid of me to play along - it'll entrench the underlying stereotype. Which is why South Park is funny: the writers don't take anything seriously, and the offensiveness is equal-opportunity. If everybody's a target, nobody's a target, in some sense.

No comments: