Monday, February 7, 2011

Politically correct racism in "The Big Brown Comedy Hour"

If a bunch of white comedians all got together and performed a show called "The Giant Caucasian Yuck-Fest", that would be undeniably (and probably criminally) racist. Without a doubt pretty much anyone across the political spectrum who considers himself to be reasonably civilized and compassionate would condemn it outright.

So why is there no outrage over "The Big Brown Comedy Hour", an event in which the performers are chosen primarily because of their skin colour. Surely that's racist, too, isn't it?

Clearly it is. But it's politically correct racism. It's apartheid with the left's stamp of approval. So that makes it okay. Although everybody knows deep down that it comes from the same ugly separatist mindset that produces the KKK, we're all supposed to get with the program and say isn't it wonderful and empowering, and a great event that will ultimately ... help stamp out racism!

Of course the organizers have good intentions. As the CNN piece says, the comics performing on the bill suffered discrimination; they were marginalized. But then why perform it in a context that perpetuates the marginalization. How could that possibly be empowering?

The idea that it is empowering is not just a lie, it's a joke. Talk about the elephant in the comedy room.

I wonder if any of the performers dared do a routine on that particular pachyderm? Somehow, I doubt it.

The thing I find so depressing about entertainments like this is that comedy is supposed to be rebellious and anarchic; to poke fun at authority. But here, it's conforming to a very strict and censorious ideology.

And speaking of censorious ideologies: I wonder how many of the comics on the night did any jokes mocking climate change catastrophism? Somehow, I doubt that, too.

Unless things are radically different in America the vast majority of comedians there aren't lampooning the (already) hilarious claims by the like of Al Gore and Tim Flannery. They're dutifully deriding the skeptics instead.

How funny is that? (Er, not very.)

It's like every Australian "comedy" show you'll ever see these days is "The Bob Brown Comedy Hour". And as we all know, the guy's a complete cut-up.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone has an audience and this brown comedy is getting some airplay. It's ok and it's funny to some audiences. Your charge of well, let's say it, reverse racism critiques are a little facile if we consider the entirety of Australian comedy's history and the mantra of diversity or "balance" as reverberates from conservatives today.

    You mention Rodney Rude and from my limited recollection I can only think of Lenny Bruce famously getting arrested by the Vice Squad in, Melbourne, in the 60s. I'm sure there's plenty of others. Everyone's got an audience.

    To point at the prevalence of political correctness as a "turgid" phenomenon is fair enough. But it has its audience much like you'd have. I'm a pluralist at heart and the litany of political correctness can be repetitious but hey I arrived in Australia in 1970 and being witness to cultural repetition of whitebreadism also happened - God bless weetbix, the milkybar kid and three duck formica wholesomeness for chrissakes.

    Fashionability is par for the course. It sucks to be a dag and hey, it sucks to be an outsider - and that is not bound by any lines of left or right thinking. PC criticisms...PC is a clique sure but it's really postmodernity, and it's opacity that creates this exclusivity.

    Politically - it could be said the reverse racist critic would like to be extended the same cache and affirmations as the vaunted minority under the cultural umbrella of PC - "what about me?" as the lovely pop song violin weeped, and weeped twice.

    So - as you say comedy goes against authority and brown comedy now goes against the arch grammatology of the bugbear racist (perhaps misframed), the levellers of reverse racism criticism and neocons. No stoned unturned. Reverse racist critique is really quite baroque under cultural and logical examination.It's culturally inept, daggy or let's say very distant from urbanity and fashionability. I understand but hey that's fashion and culture. "Why are people so unkind?" I hear again but it ain't Kamahl saying it ;)

    Comedy ideally is meant to be shared vulgarity. We've all heard endlessly the echoing wisdom of "don't take yourself too seriously" - I'd proffer that to the reverse racism critics as well, and I mean that too seriously ;)

    If you're going to cry foul on "I am not allowed to tell a racist joke" instead of blaming PC culture do your research. Find your own private Idaho or your Poughkeepsie where that material will play. It's definitely out there and hey it's not that bad, first world problems mate...really.

    I really wish that you went for this issue in a more wholehearted or savage way but you did get sidetracked by Flannery, Gore, Bob Brown and climate catastrophism - which is the bugbear here and it detracted from the focus in the title.

    Anyway, I hope you've found success in your chosen art and passion.