The other day I told my friend Sam (of SamWatson.US) that there was probably nothing that he could say that would offend me. I said this because, like a few other friends I have, he likes to say things that are provocative or controversial as a comedy bit. That being the case I don’t think he believes in what he’s saying when he’s “performing” his bit. That makes me think of a few things…
DOES he mean it?!
While I used Sam as an example to begin this post, there are in fact more than a few friends who like to perform this bit – so when I say “He” at any point in the rest of this post I am not just talking about or referring to Sam…but if that who you picture then so be it.
Usually, the shtick involves commentary on race, religion, sex, and/or a combination of any of those subjects…you know…the things that people are most particular about. It’s a common comedic principle to go for the absurd to be the most effective. Being absurd SHOULD imply that whatever you’re saying is not what you mean or feel. In fact, there may be the implication that you mean the exact opposite of what you say. I believe this is what most of my friends are going for when they “offend”. The shock of what they say brings nervous laughter from those within earshot that do not know them – and usually no reaction from me…that’s my “bit”.
Does he go too far?
In today’s “cancel culture”, going too far isn’t that long of a road to travel. In fact, “cancel culture” is why I probably will not give any examples of things said in this post. That being said, I don’t believe I’ve ever asked anyone to stop when they’ve decided to continue the roll they are on. Perhaps this can be attributed to my sense of humor and that I am not easily offended. Perhaps someone else would ask them to stop or at least be internally antagonized. Maybe my skin is thicker than most…maybe I’m less cranky as I get older…who knows?
Do I have a line to be crossed?
I think when it comes to anything misogynistic I can be provoked. That is to say, there have been instances in the past when a friend has made a comment about a woman, particularly a younger woman, that I have pushed back on. I think this is both because I find myself to be a defender of being right on this rather than allowing anything for a laugh. Having daughters definitely has something to do with this as well. Rape and sexual abuse are not joking matters for me. My grandson once had a dispute with a girl at school. She was bullying him and had struck him. To my grandson’s credit, he did not retaliate. However, he did comment that it wasn’t fair that she could hit him and if he had done the same he would have faced possibly being kicked out of school while she did not. My response to him was that it was in fact not fair but that it didn’t matter – there was no acceptable reason outside of defending his own life for striking a female.
I do believe that people are too easily offended today, but I imagine every generation can say that about the one that comes after. I hope I didn’t offend anyone who read this post…but this might…