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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.

Daniel Nanavati

Volume 32 no 3 Jan/Feb 2018 p 2

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Miklos Legrady

I agree Daniel, sometimes humour is the great diplomat… and sometimes I look on my own writing with humour, at other times with horror! Such is life!

Karl Conard

Great piece! I completely agree with you when you say “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.

Taking from the cover of the magazine: The last words of neo-liberalism, we’ve never been right, so how wrong could we be? Could you please expound on this?

Mirko

What is New Art Examiner’s position on sexual harassment in the art world? Please read the following article, which I invite you all to respond to:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/feb/20/see-change-the-ongoing-battle-against-sexual-harassment-in-the-art-world

Mirko

Kathy Perego

Hi Mirko, The article refers to the art world, but you could substitute art for any field, from medicine to education to industry. It is a universal problem, which has always occurred, but is finally being talked about openly. Regarding the art world, I think a good start in the right direction is what Rodriguez Meyer suggests in The Guardian’s article: “The structure of leadership in art institutions needs to change, too. “The directors of institutions can hire more diverse and non-traditional staff and assistant curators of major institutions can do more studio visits with artists working outside the Ivy… Read more »

Simon Evans

Is the satire referred to in the article now available in YouTube?

Samuel Donsfield

How true when you say: “Humour can often get a message over more readily than any amount of serious work.” If only humor was more readily used and in vogue than seriousness, we might have a more workable world (and obviously, happier), but sadly it isn’t. The stuffed shirts of academia need to get off their pedestals and start looking at themselves and the work that they do, or rather don’t do. What was the feedback on the satire held in Cornwall from the powers that be? The use of satire can be a very powerful tool and should be… Read more »

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