A Fag, a Nigger and a Spic walk into a trap…

An ‘offensive‘ joke that references race, religion, sexuality or any other ‘sensitive’ subject matter is like a fragrant, impossible-to-resist hunk of cheese that attracts identity fetishists; brings them out into the light and then SMACK!!! traps ’em. Now we can all gawk at ’em; see just who among us is ADDICTED to their superficial identities; see who is fighting tooth-an’-nail to keep their heads above the surface; the ones afraid to dip below to that unifying regardless-of-‘who’-you-THINK-you-are-love-is-love-and-fear-is-fear place. That ‘bloody truth’ that comedians trade in.

The great thing about a (good) ‘offensive’ joke (not talkin’ about that hacky “look at me saying ‘nigger’ without any context just for a cheap, unfunny thrill” shit; there’s nothing ‘edgey’ about doing jokes about rape or other so-called taboo subjects when you are far removed from the source of the joke) is how it exposes the diversity of our fakeness. Some comics avoid mining this territory for fear that the butt of their jokes may publically object, and—given the vociferousness/notoriety/level of ‘victimhood’ of the objector—could result in the comic being labeled (read: ceremoniously ‘branded’) a Racist™, Sexist™, Homophobe™, etc.

But you know what?

I must warn you, for what I am about to say I have no ground to stand on as I’m just a blowhard-bum who has NEVER paced a stage, but what if the comic—who refrains out of fear—is being just as boring as the ‘trapped’ ones? I’m not saying all comics need to push the envelope. That might not be their thing. But if you pocket a joke that you LEGITIMATELY think is funny—just to avoid ‘offending’ someone—you may be more of a Racist™, Sexist™, Homophobe™, etc. than the comic who doesn’t. Yeah, you might think you’re doing some ‘noble’ thing, but really, you’re reducing the group you’re so-called ‘protecting’ to a monolith. You’re not willing to make the joke and see if you can connect with the kindred spirits you INEVITABLY have in ALL groups. But then again, you may just be trying to preserve your relationships with friends, but if they were TRULY your friends wouldn’t they ‘understand’ you? PROTECT you? Wouldn’t they know your heart?


Maybe this should-I-or-shouldn’t-I nightmare is precisely WHY you should spit the joke. Just let it go and deal with the aftermath later. After all, YOU know your heart is in the right place (right?). But then again, there’s that nagging you’re-never-gonna-work-in-this-town-again thing or the even worse: the you’ll-never-work-in-this-town-to-begin-with thing. But is it about ‘working’ or ‘being funny/thought-provoking’ by-any-means-necessary style? Does it even matter if ‘people’ find your material offensive? Maybe you have a complex relationship with it; one you want to work out with YOUR audience; an audience who trusts you and relies on your confident command of the volatile material to help them deal with their confusing emotions regarding it. Hell, over time it may even ‘evolve’ out of your act. You may ‘grow,’ right along with your leaning-on-your-every-word audience. But you’ll never know what ‘could be’ if you don’t at least tr—

To hell with this shit. Like I said, I have no ground to stand on. I’m just talkin’ outta my ass. I’ll let Patrice close us out, but before I do that, this:

    We don’t ‘really’ hate the people we claim we do; it’s actually more complex than that, as in: we harbor ‘complex,’ bipolar (I can’t stand you/I wanna fuck you) relationships with them, and it is this wishy-washyness that creates the confusing angst that ‘manifests’ as hate.

    But what the hell is it about ‘us’ that drives us to reduce this messy psychic entanglement to such a negative emotion? Perhaps what we ‘really’ hate is how this cognitive dissonance fucks with our desire to definitively quantify things, and instead of addressing this internally, we take our frustration out on the external source of our confusion.

All right, enough of my bullshittin,’ as promised, here’s Mr.
Patrice doesn’t-get-enough-credit-for-being-a-postmodern-thinker O’Neal…

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