Thursday, November 10, 2005

Going Meta on the Meta-Bigot

Link via Protein Wisdom

Yet another wrinkle on the whole PC use of words issue has been the rise of Meta-Bigotry in comedy. Sarah Silverman is highlighted in Slate Magazine as a case in point. Combine a perfect deadpan with lines that would get someone shot on any college campus in country, and you have a comic performance that cuts right back on the audience.
Everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ, and then the Jews try to pass it off on the Romans. I'm one of the few people that believe it was the blacks." (The joke exposes not the ancient perfidy of any particular race but the absurdity of blaming entire races for anything.) Her best jokes are thought experiments in the internal logic of political correctness: "I want to get an abortion, but my boyfriend and I are having trouble conceiving." A Playboy interviewer, probing for something salacious, once asked Silverman if she had a nickname for her vagina. She answered "Faggot"—a throwaway joke that manages to kink sexual identity into such an ingenious pretzel it could fuel a doctoral dissertation.

This is comedy twisting around on itself so much that it has become abstract. There is nothing really here any more, the meaning has been lost under multiple layers of irony until the only things that are clear are the preconceptions of the audience. This is a perfect attack on the whole PC paradigm: Do you take it seriously or as deliberate baiting? Either way, you define yourself with your reaction.

Next time I hear of her in the LA area, I'm going for a show. This is clearly something that has to be experienced.

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