Friday, 24 September 2010

Should humour have boundaries?

I was reading posts on facebook (yes I know...) yesterday on a Newsarse article about footballers and their slightly extreme history of being implied in rape cases. The latest of course being Sunderland superstar Titus Bramble, but the article was an older repost and not directly about him (although one followed).

Some of the comments on the post were quite offended about the nature of the humour, insisting there is nothing funny about rape, which of course is very true. The defence of the site was firstly, and indeed accurately, the article wasn't poking fun at the act, which is a terrible thing, but highlighting the footballers continued connection with it. But also it was mentioned, should anything really be off limits to humour?

For a start I believe humour is a skill, a talent which some people will never be capable of (see some of my previous efforts if you want evidence of that) and some topics should be handled very carefully. But is it true, for comedy, is it all on, or not on. By picking and choosing topics people can be light hearted about isn't that making the taboo topics seem worse again? Giving them a status that may add stigma to them?

I immediately thought of Brass Eye (as was mentioned in the topic also) and the paedophilia episode. A horrible horrible topic (speaking as a father), but comedy was able to address it thanks to some near perfect writing, and if that's the case surely it can be done for other topics too.

Generally the standard of writing on satirical sites such as newsarse it quite high, but it needs to be, there's a risk of offence with most things approached in satire.

There are cases where the humour is badly intended, by no means is all humour acceptable. Frankie Boyle and the Downs Syndrome parent is an example. Frankie was going for a cheap laugh, as he usually does and it got the stick it deserved. But I feel that's the difference, someone using a situation for a cheap laugh, making light of the situation, could almost feel like they are degrading it, that's bad. While, if someone respects the seriousness of a scenario, like Brass Eye did, I think that's not a bad thing at all. But lets face it how many of us are as clever as Chris Morris, not me for one.

Look at me sounding all serious!

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