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Monday, May 11, 2009

If It's Not Worth Discussing.....

Ed Morrissey from Hot Air says of the Wanda Sykes roast of Rush Limbaugh:

If we’re still talking about it tomorrow, the only person that benefits is Sykes.

Apparently, Ed doesn't realize the nature of the controversial joke.

By default, most of comedy is controversial in nature, as many topics are seen as taboo in everyday conversation. We have all laughed at joke about fat people, people with drug problems, racism, bigotry, ignorance, and mental disorders - of which Limbaugh covers all those bases. This doesn't necessarily make us bad people, but we ( meaning those of use with a fully functioning brainsteam ) tend to look back at what we laughed at and wonder what made it so funny.

Morrissey is more concerned with making his readership believe that he holds some sort of moral high-ground, like he wouldn't laugh at a joke that some of his friends considered "in poor taste". But rather than delve into Ed's "if this had been said about someone that I agree with" meme - which ultimately does nothing but muddy the discussion - it's interesting to look at what Ed says about what we shouldn't say.

It's well into "the day after discussion" that Morrissey thinks should have ended. But why? For what greater purpose should Wanda Sykes' comments not be addressed?

In a rather quick diary on DialyKos, I talked about 4 things that proved, to me, why Limbaugh wouldn't have been the 20th hijackers on 9/11. There wasn't much discussion to follow, but it allowed me to get some thoughts out as to why Sykes' joke was not just funny in a ridiulous sort of way, but ultimately wrong.

And for those that are relying more on Morrissey's retort to Wanda offending his delicate sensibilities, if they had seen Sykes lay down her verbal assault, they would have heard a healthy dose of people voicing their distaste for her and her words. Sure, some laughed, but is this indicative of these people being downright evil and hating their country? No, but Ed would have you think so.

Controversial comedy, when done right, makes people think about the world around them. Lenny Bruce and George Carlin were masters of it. People have tried since them, but end up coming off like rank amateurs and are roundly criticized for their ineptitude. Is Sykes in the same catagory as a Carlin, Bruce, or Bill Hicks? No, but she's not entirely a slouch either. For me, she's hit or miss on most days. Her performance at the White House Corespondance Dinner didn't come close to Colbert's skewering of Bush and his administration. It was just ok. The Limbaugh joke was the peak of the night. I almost wish her entire bit been in that vein.

What would the day-after discussion been if that were the case?

By and large, this isn't about 9/11 as much as it is about Limbaugh, Sykes, as well as Morrissey ( and those that agree with him ) being on the losing end of an election. His camp has used the memories of the dead in order to excuse their ignorance and love of an administration that virtually destroyed large cross-sections of America over the last 8 years. So, his complaints that Sykes is maligning the dead are moot.

The difference between Sykes' comedy routine at the WHCD and Limbaugh is that it's a fairly safe assumption to say that Sykes isn't being serious, Limbaugh is.

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