August 4, 2018

ALL COMEDY IS CONSERVATIVE:

On the Constant Hunt for Fresh Outrage (JONAH GOLDBERG, August 3, 2018, National Review)

We live in a time when partisan affiliation and ideological worldviews serve as substitute religions. And if we've learned anything from the last few years, the capacity for outrage on the left and right is near infinite. There's nothing wrong with forcefully expressing disagreement, but the constant hunt for scalps will leave everyone bald and bloodied.

Newspapers, magazines, and other businesses have every right to hire and fire whomever they want, but if they do hire someone, they should stand by their decision until the new employee does something worthy of firing while employed by them, not because a mob chooses to weaponize something they said in the past. And even then, they should make the decision on the merits, not simply to appease jackals. Obviously this can't be an inflexible law, but it should be the rule of thumb.

At the same time, people shouldn't tweet -- or say -- indefensibly stupid, racist, or dumb things on the assumption that only "their people" will see it, hear it, or process it in precisely the way the author intended. The Internet has made it impossible for such "narrowcasting" to stay narrow. As Jeong has learned, we all live in one "general audience" now. Again, it can't be law: People shouldn't hold themselves hostage to the most excitable and humorless among us. But it's a worthy principle.

And so is this: We should all save our outrage for when it's really needed.

Everything offensive is not comedy, but all comedy is offensive. And ideologues are, necessarily, offended by every challenge.

Posted by at August 4, 2018 7:44 AM

  

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