“Can We Take a Joke?” Why people have a right to tell jokes AND a right to be offended

“Can We Take a Joke?” Why people have a right to tell jokes AND a right to be offended March 30, 2016

Have you noticed that the culture has gotten less humorous lately?  

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports:

Earlier this year, comedian Chris Rock went on record saying he doesn’t play colleges anymore. It’s “not in [students’] political views,” Rock said, “but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. … You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.”

It’s not just college campuses, and it’s not just Chris Rock, however. Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, and others have also noted the conflict between comedy, hypersensitivity, and political correctness on and off campus.

Bill Maher recently said, “Americans have got to learn how to take a joke.”

FIRE is supporting a new documentary called Can We Take a Joke? to celebrate “Freedom Day” on April 13, 2016.

According to Instapundit:

Can We Take a Joke? is a documentary about what happens when outrage culture and comedy collide, and features interviews with famous comedians, including Adam Carolla, Gilbert Gottfried, Lisa Lampanelli, Heather McDonald, Penn Jillette, and more.

Here’s Penn speaking about his right to tell a joke and your right to be offended:

That used to be common sense, until the ham-fisted agents of political correctness started policing our language to the point that everyone is scared to say anything interesting anymore.


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  • Ted Barbaras

    A’men when — we are back tracking by being so tepid. Everyone gets offended by words these days. We all need to man/woman up and pull off the diapers. This is why I like Trump he speaks in general terms to everyone and treats everyone the same, white/black/hispanic male/female gay/straight — stop walking on eggshells and stop getting offended people! We are losing our voice because everything is racist/sexist/religiophobic etc…

    It seems the only race not complaining are the Indians/Asians.

    Whites/Blacks/Hispanics are all becoming a bunch of whiners! I’m generalizing here we have good in every race. But the pocket is a select pool from the select 3-races.

    Like Morgan Freeman said — Don’t call me a Black man. Call me Morgan or the guy with the curly hair and freckles. Stop describing people in a racial way.

    Calling someone African-American is a huge offense IMO! How many Black people do you know were born in Africa? Or Mexico or Europe etc…? It is not only our Government but also our tepid way of speaking.

    I challenge you everyone of you Black/White/Asian/Mexican etc…the next time someone refers to you as Country-American. Correct them and say I am American and only American. The next time someone says it was the black guy over there — Say you mean the American with the curly hair and blue jeans?


  • kp

    I think the issues are largely due to social media. Before facebook, for instance, if someone told a joke that someone found offensive, that person was offended and maybe decided to never watch that comedian again. And maybe he or she would tell a few friends about it.
    With social media, ONE outraged person can begin a campaign that then draws in this other huge group of people who are just waiting for something to come along that they can all be outraged at together, and the vicious word attacks begin and somehow, this all becomes headline news. “Ohhhhh, did you hear that so-and-so made a gay joke?” Let’s make him pay, try to take away his livelihood and destroy his standing in the community”. And the sad part is, this happens all the time in this digital age. Electronic courage and the ability to turn feelings into facts is killing social discourse. There are no conversations or shared ideas. Civility is out the window. People just jump on a bandwagon of rage and ride it till they find another bandwagon.