Humour can often get a message over more readily than any amount of serious work. Though sensibilities change. Things that were jokes in the 1970s are viewed with disbelief for their sheer political incorrectness today. Conversely, some people look at the horrors of an Hieronymus Bosch with a wry smile so we should not be put off from using humour.
Political correctness, while a valuable tool for homogenising civic society, is utterly deadening to deep and meaningful discourse. If one is constantly censoring how one says what one says, meaning can stray, and no matter how politically correct the statements are today, tomorrow they may also be pushed in the basket of the unacceptable. Honesty itself, is always politically incorrect.
Words hurt. Not just abusive words, but also words put together to reveal a truth as the writer sees it. To have meaningful discussion one has to have the words that are used, see the psychology, the thinking, the power of those words for them, and then take them on directly or modify their arguments or even agree. That is discussion. But to attack anyone by saying ‘you cannot say that’ is to shut down the discussion before it begins by telling the parties they are offensive.
This gives these words the purest form of power for those who want to offend. Because by using them they realise, the debate ends in the predictable, emotional response. Then the politically incorrect call for freedom of speech and the two sides publicly argue only about that – not about the bastardisation of ideas.
When a word is used without intent, but in context, why is it still unacceptable?
These words are always used in private, where they continue to do harm from adult to child without cease. If they are no longer traded in open discussion where critical counter-argument can do some good, nothing really changes. PR has not eradicated European of American Fascism.
So to appease those who are offended by any criticism – and there are many who are – we have resorted to some humour to get our message across by staging a satirical piece of theatre here in Cornwall. We have been very lucky to find Maxine, Pep, Dhyano, Ken, Justin and others who have helped us organise an evening which will be filmed and available on YouTube. The humour is pointed at the heart of academia, at stifling and meaningless PR, at corrupted sensibilities that shut down debate and at the art world in its entirety for how it has brought society to a pastiche of thinking, drunk on moving images and self-regard. You’ll laugh though.
Volume 32 no 3 Jan/Feb 2018 p 2