I planned, and started, a deep dive into this subject with intentions of giving the essay its own page on the website. After further thought, I thought, what a giant waste of my fucking time.
That said, my friends and I have had lengthy discussion of these modern times, and this new modern censorship. We grew up during an era of fierce opposition to censorship. Progressive culture used to be the force that fought not to be labeled and railed against censorship in art. Thus, many progressives of my age demographic are taken aback by this new modern progressiveness that insists we all fit neatly into some demographic box (cis, trans, abled, toe-headed, left footed, wall-eyed, etc. etc.), and refuses to accept the difference between actual hate speech and artistic exploration.
Okay, that was a little snarky. Perhaps unnecessarily, but the crux of this writing is my gut reaction to "Cancel Culture" and stand-up comedy. Dear young progressives, please know that I support your efforts for a better world. The issue is, we can have empathy, and loving hearts, and be a part of the movement, and still laugh at unsavory humor. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at pain. Many people prefer to laugh at the things that hurt them, myself included. That's just our natural reaction. We can watch a comedian tell crass jokes and understand that they are just jokes, while the real world problems still exist and have to be dealt with.
I've lost people to cancer and still laugh at cancer jokes.
I've lost people to drugs. Still laugh at dope jokes.
Lost people to old age. Still make fun of old people.
Lost people to car accidents. Still make fun of trucks. Wait...
I have trans friends and still understand there are trans things that can be poked fun of. I've had homosexual people in my life my entire life. Helped raise me and I love them, and in general the community with all my heart, and I still jokingly say things are gay, etc. I've had friends from minority communities my entire life, and understand that all of us have unfortunate stereotypes associated with our communities that deserve to be poked fun of. White people can't dance. Black folk talk during movies. Etc. Etc. I sure as fuck make fun of myself and my fellow cockasians on a regular basis. Yes, that's a dick joke race joke combo, and I'm not exactly sure what it means either.
What's at issue here is intent. Is the person operating with a hateful heart? Is the person trying to make an honest point, or a disingenuous one? Is the person simply teasing, because everyone deserves a little teasing. Please remember that art is an outlet for emotions. Haven't you ever wanted to, and successfully yelled, at someone you love? Perhaps even in public?
One more thought before my grand finale, just in case someone reads this drivel. The progressive community in the United States needs to recognize there is a ton of amplification of discourse aimed at simply keeping the argument going. The forces of evil in this world are genuinely trying to keep America divided. We know this for a fact. Much of the "Cancel Culture" discourse is being amplified on the internet by trolls (and their bots) with no other desire than to see the world burn.
In summary, what I'm calling for here is a little more understanding. Try to understand how your fellow progressive doesn't agree with you when you want a comedian banished for eternity because they tell a joke you find hurtful. I promise, I will try to encourage others to act with patience and understanding for your argument as well, even if I disagree. We are living through an era of righteous indignation, rightfully brought on by the grand exposure of a nasty underbelly in our culture. It's understandable that people are so amped up. There are powerful forces at play intent on keeping us that way. We've got to keep a clearer eye on the very real battles worth fighting. Disenfranchised communities have discovered a new source of power to wield: social media. Please operate with discernment. Please know who your real enemy is, because I promise you, it's not Dave Chappelle.
All content is provided with reckless abandon and subject to your scrutiny. That's the deal.