Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The attack on humor

We read:
"Recently, Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli canceled the web-series “Mouthpiece Theater” after its hosts made a joke about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Bowing to pressure from an obscure organization called Action in the Media, the Washington Post reinforced the notion that any potentially offensive humor must result in a swift apology, perhaps even in resignation or firing. But since when is it criminal behavior to tell a joke, let alone offend someone? In a country that cherishes freedom of speech, when did it become a requirement to prescreen jokes to meet the approval of every available demographic?

The notion that the only appropriate jokes are those pre-approved by special interest groups would be laughable if it wasn’t taken so seriously. In this most recent case, Dana Milbank, a columnist, and Chris Cillizza, a White House correspondent and blogger, lost their show after a woman’s group, Action and the Media, complained that one of their jokes was “sexist” and “tasteless.” What did Action and the Media think was so terribly offensive? On the latest webisode of “Mouthpiece Theater,” Milbank and Cillizza visually implied that President Obama would serve “Mad Bitch Beer” to Hillary Clinton during a discussion about Obama’s recent “beer summit.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the purpose of the joke was to be offensive. Most viewers probably groaned—chuckled—and then moved on. Not the ladies at Action and the Media. They took action immediately, making sure that Milbank and Cillizza would be properly punished for daring to associate the secretary of state with a vulgar term for female dogs. They are perfectly within their rights to be as outraged as they want to be, of course, but the Washington Post commentators did nothing to warrant the cancellation of their show and the removal of the particular webisode in question. They should not have apologized.

By apologizing, as so many others have done in similar situations, Milbank and Cillizza strengthened the armies of the humorless and marched us one step into the icy grasp of the thought police.



Anonymous said...

Apparently, it's the easiest thing in the world for some leftist blogger to create an official-sounding "organization", which is then used to whine about some pet peeve, while giving the impression that it's coming from some "legitimate group". This is a wide-spread tactic used by the Left to intimidate anyone they disagree with.

Anonymous said...

seems I remember Hil refering to herself as a bitch not that long ago


Anonymous said...

"It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions makes it impossible to earn a living." - Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970