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LONG BLOG

In Defence of laughter

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Edit : Have Edited the videos into being links, for some reason Videos being umbedded seem to be breaking for me lol.

You may have noticed I've been quite quiet here on Dtoid recently. I have been writing stuff, I've just not but putting it up. You see this one blog has been sitting like an itch. I didn't comment on the Destructoid drama a while ago, I avoided most of it. So consider this me (possibly stupidly) turning round and running head on back into it.

 Ok so I've seen a lot of talk recently about "trivialising things" and about how some jokes are unacceptable to make etc. The talk about politically correct things is getting so bad that US Comedian Jerry Sienfeld said he now refused to perform at Colleges due to the level of "PC" some students display such that any joke perceived as "punching down" in any way can cause huge amounts of protest etc for Comedians. Oh and just for the record, I've tried to watch Sienfeld the series, it did nothing, hell it tried to run here in the UK and had no traction so it may be more of a US thing. Now to demonstrate the power of comedy I will warn you, some people will no doubt be offended by the language used as it is quite racist in this clip from a BBC show from many, many years ago.

 So hopefully no-one has already run to the comments section to yell about how dare I show that clip and it's clearly a racist comedy. However the entire point of that sketch was actually anti-racism. For a time in the 80s (when that series was made and shown) there were a lot of allegations against the UK police (and I'd argue allegations on pretty solid grounds) that there was inherent racism in the police force, much like in the US such allegations are happening today. The entire purpose of the sketch was to mock the police for this perceived attitude  portraying the police officer as inherently racist and making him the inevitable butt of the joke. Films such as The Lie of Brian and Monty Python's the meaning of life regularly mocked puritanical people and religious idiots. The idea of comedy as a force for change is something still going on today such as this song supporting gay weddings by Mitch Benn

 The entire song being designed to mock the stupid opposition arguments presented against it. The idea that comedy can make a difference is a long standing one . With more on the nose approaches also existing such as DLC quest in video games mocking video gaming culture at least surrounding indie games and major publishers with exploitative DLC.

 The next way comedy can be used it to laugh at one-self at least via proxy. To view the world through another lens and see how ourselves can be found funny. A good example of this is a show many people here really seem to hate. The Big Bang Theory. I love that show because I can see elements of myself in some of the characters and elements of people I know. I know the guy so nerdy the first thing he did having bought a PS3 was to buy the Box set of the Spiderman Cartoon and watch that. I know an guy who did an engineering degree who dismantled something and ended up with a load of pieces left after putting it back together. I know someone who a while ago was as close to a sex pest as Howard. I'm as bad as Raj in relationships (except the no speaking part) and my relationship history is comparable to that of Leonard's. What at least Joyce Kim defected to North Korean all I got was a text saying "I don't love you anymore what do you think about that ?". Being able to laugh at the more absurd parts of our cultures and subcultures is an easy way to share it with the world. There's a saying "Until a person can learn to laugh at themselves then what right to they have to laugh at anyone else ?" It's true

 

The final main use of comedy is in helping people cope. There's a constant perception put out recently that comedy or even entertainment shows diminish the seriousness of subjects that should be taken series. To that I say M.A.S.H. yes M.A.S.H. a comedy show all about the horrors of war and the doctors in it just struggling to survive and deal with it. By having the comedy moments it can make the sombre moments all the more impactful. I will say later on that the series did seem to flip between full on comedy and full on tragedy a lot. However it's a show all about the horrors of war done as a comedy. The Doctors in it often use comedy as a coping mechanism and a way to discuss serious issues without the issues themselves becoming heavy going subjects. Humour is a way for people to address difficult topics without feeling like it's some grand lecture. Some of the lines in M.A.S.H. show the callus disregard for seriousness and that's the point. Yet many jokes talk about underlying serious issues related to war.

Well it's our job to patch these kids up and ship them out so that they can die at a time that's more convenient for Uncle Sam.

 

I don't know if I should patch this kid up or just sell him to a scrap metal merchant

 

General: Any requests you have ?

Hawkeye: Call the war a draw and leave the score at as many bodies as we have already instead of adding more.

 

*While defusing a bomb*

Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce: Are those the right instructions, Henry? 
Lt. Col. Henry Blake: I hope so. 
Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce: I hope so, too. Otherwise I'm coming back in the next life as a squirrel and run right up your pants leg. 

Humour is a way for some people to cope and come to terms with difficult situations and events and to not have to deal with the seriousness of them.

 I'm writing this because I keep seeing people either claim comedy and jokes about serious things cheapens the issues. I've seen people imply that other's need to be lectures upon how things should be and that it's somehow for peoples own good. The idea that you can have a discussion about serious issues without it needing to be heavy going all the time is a huge positive of comedy as it means people can be involved in those debates and they can include people who generally wish to avoid such depressing discussions. The idea of everything being super serious just isn't how the world works.

 I've seen some people using humour essentially as a way to claim superiority. For examples I've seen people essentially just calling people bigots, racists, Xenophobic and when they try to counter the claim then the accusers essentially laugh in their face claiming it's some kind of proof they're right because they're clearly superior to the person they essentially verbally attacked.  It seems like no wonder so many in what could be called the social justice community are against comedy when they see throwing outright accusations at people and making them have to defend themselves as funny. It's almost like an insane deranged from of trolling, yet the moment anyone says anything critical back or shock horror mocks them it's a vile attack on them. It's quite clear some of them just can't laugh at themselves. It's part of the reason Parody characters like Godfrey Elfwick are ending up being taken seriously. When organisations can't tell the difference between an actual "Social Justice Warrior" and a guy spouting actual bonkers stuff you know people are becoming a parody of themselves.

Even games themselves have forgotten comedy mostly. Duke Nukem Forever was mostly kind of crap and other than DLC quest and the slightly more recent Eat Lead the Return of Matt Hazard comedy in gaming has died. There's so much call seemingly to make games seem mature and gritty that companies and people have stopped adding comedy in so much.

I wrote this a while ago and with recent changes and outrage on Destructoid I'm putting it out here now because oddly it seems like the right time. So to Neiro will you be playing the fiddle as Dtoid burns? Should I be here expecting my C-blog eviction notice some-time soon as more things become wrong to make jokes about? This is Dtoid, the place that infamously had the warped and weird world of Podtoid. While it's only a tiny change so far I have to say I'm concerned. Concerned that what Destructoid is turning into is just another highly sanitised gaming site. I'm here for the time being but I'm going to be honest with you I'm keeping my suitcase bags packed as even if I don't walk away from here, I can see myself being slung out for one reason or another. That idea is something I've never feared here before. If rumours I've been hearing about are true and this is a clean up attempt to make it more appealing before selling Dtoid off this may just be the start of things. I don't go and take part at Polygon because when you voice an opinion even slightly  against the prevalent views there this happens.

 And that was from me pointing out to someone in the comments that they were in fact wrong journalistic ethics are in fact taught in higher education courses so no feminist theory was not in fact far more a legitimate intellectual thing than journalistic ethics.

 

Anyway, I've drivelled on long enough. Thank you those who made it this far.

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About Dwarvenhobbleone of us since 8:33 AM on 06.19.2012

A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
Xbox LIVE:hobblejp
Steam ID:dwavenhobble


 

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