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I gave you a full and non-tantrumic response on the role of the Fool or Jester. Some way further in the thread, you said:

Sven Triloqvist:

But all comedians satirize from the inside...That's what they do. That's their audience. To the extent that other cultures impinge on the inside, they satirize that too.

Not having any time to do more, I put in a <citation needed>.

That meant, do you have an example of a humourist, jester, cartoonist, satirist, who usefully mocks an "impinging" minority culture?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 04:56:47 PM EST
He can't be bothered.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 04:58:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, now.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 05:17:55 PM EST
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practiced a particular type of all-inclusive stigmatisation of minorities. If we follow the logic of insider satire, they would have confined themselves to lampooning American Jews and the Italian minority in France, respectively.

In contrast, they struck out at everything in sight, sparing no stereotypes, within an implicit humanist framework. The overall thesis is something like : hey, we're all humans here, whatever the shape of our noses.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 04:14:30 AM EST
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What's your sense of the word "stigmatisation"?

eurogreen:

If we follow the logic of insider satire, they would have confined themselves to lampooning American Jews and the Italian minority in France, respectively.

Lenny Bruce was deprived of being American because he was Jewish? Coluche, though of Italian origin, was entirely French. His send-ups, in which he often posed as a dumb Frenchman, satirised the French -- with a fair whack at their racist attitudes. I'm at a loss to see where he stigmatised a minority group.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 04:49:38 AM EST
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You are familiar with the geographical and social-standing rivalry in which stereotypical inhabitants or events in different streets, cities, regions and countries are compared. I can quote you dozens of comedians who enter into a rapport with the majority of a particular audience using those stereotypes.

Any comic has to do this - to get this rapport generally involves pointing out shared attitudes to life with that audience majority (shared experience). And this sharing is often accomplished by pointing out the ways in which other minority cultures (perhaps in the same audience, or next city, or region, or country or class, or whatever) have different attitudes.

An audience will laugh at jokes about politicians, for example, because as a class they are in an external minority, and they impinge greatly, and 'obviously' have a different attitude to life than you and me chum. The comic exploits the perceptual stereotypes of the audience in order to draw them into a conspiratorial rapport.

But then you included 'usefully'! In this context I don't know what that means. Is laughing useful?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 08:52:29 AM EST
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An audience will laugh at jokes about politicians, for example, because as a class they are in an external minority, and they impinge greatly, and 'obviously' have a different attitude to life than you and me chum. The comic exploits the perceptual stereotypes of the audience in order to draw them into a conspiratorial rapport.

Politicians are laughed at because they hold power over those who laugh.

Is laughing useful?

To you as a clown, it earns your keep.

I see a total absence of power dynamics and politics in your analysis. It's almost like economics.

Politically, humour can be socially useful if it keeps the powerful honest. If it is used to belittle te powerless, humour is not being socially useful. IMHO.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 08:58:14 AM EST
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belittling the powerless to keep then down is certainly "socially useful" for some. An essential part of maintaining class separations and divisions...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 09:38:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's start at the end. "Usefully" stems from the previous discussion in which (it seems to me) you posited a socially useful role for the Fool or Jester (such as speaking truth to power under cover of jest, or questioning the attitudes of an audience), by taking up an:

Sven Triloqvist:

'acted position' in order to provoke a discussion, or question an audience.

My point was that comedians do this from the inside of the culture, not outside - isn't that what you're saying about "shared attitudes" and "audience majority"?

Now, what you go on to say about humour arising from comparing stereotypes and different attitudes may be true. But I suggest we would find it a lot less funny (and socially useful) if that humour doesn't question majority attitudes by making the audience laugh at themselves, not just at the minority (politicians and people in power one way or another not included, that's a different kettle of fish).

So I'm sure you could think of lots of examples (though you don't offer any) of humour arising from comparison or dissonance of cultures. But an example of humour, that we find funny, that simply mocks a minority group's accepted beliefs and attitudes from the outside?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 08:55:23 AM EST
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Yes, the comic, to survive, needs to create a bond with a particular audience via a particular channel (channel used in the pro sense of a system of delivering and receiving messages. So pigeon post would be a channel!)

As I said there are minority groups everywhere. Many comedians do characters - I surely don't have to name them? - and typically the act will at least partly mock the attitudes and beliefs of the adopted stereotyped minority: the scouser, the punk, the minister of silly walks, the welsh, the cockney, the Staines crew etc etc.

And of course mocking humour formed a very important of WWII, at least as far as the British were concerned.

As usual here at ET it's the inexact or unshared meanings of words that cause many a trip up the garden path. 'Mocking' comes to me as a tad nasty, but usually understood by both ends of the dialogue. It is not far up from teasing or joshing as the temperature of invective rises.

In Funland, bullying is mobbing (translated), which seems to me a milder version of bullying.

But back to the point: IMO, though there are usually sharper cultural differences across borders, there are lots of minorities (cultural isolates) within national cultures. Thus I am referring to all examples of minorities within, and without national boundaries, whereas I realise now that you were referring back to the main thrust of the previous diary. It wasn't a very useful diary and conversation, but there were some issues that came up that I thought worthy of further discussion.

Perhaps we can no longer enjoy the sometimes vicious mocking of political cartoons of the past that were full of the kind of racial stereotyping (mocking) you are talking about. But to me, a cartoon of a Islamic man with a beard with a bomb in his turban is no different from the Pope depicted with young boys. Those cartoons speak to power (misuse of), and thus to leaders who promote, defend or conceal gross acts against a society. The 'collateral damage' is that millions of followers take offense because they think it depicts them personally. My guess is that the Danish cartoon was addressed to an internal audience (which includes a minority who might see themselves as depicted), and the actual worldwide effect of dissemination was not at all predicted.

On the whole though I am in favour of total freedom of expression - except where against the laws of the particular jurisdiction where the freedom is expressed ;-).

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 11:21:13 AM EST
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I think it is much more basic, Sven. The same speech act can be interpreted as friendly banter or as an unfriendly act. It depends if the relations are friendly or unfriendly, not on the speech act. The relations are part of the message.
by Katrin on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 11:34:37 AM EST
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Yes, but you shouldn't read other people's mail.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 03:58:28 PM EST
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The sloppy encryption was too tempting.
by Katrin on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 04:13:05 PM EST
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I'm rather hopelessly lost to define when it's 'useful' to mock anyone. And I'm also rather hopelessly lost on the how and when minority cultures 'impinge' on the 'inside'. It's raining question marks for me. I rather suspect such discussion is bound to derail and people end up perfectly talking past each other.

So, my only aid is adding a Dutch example of 'cabaret' - these days largely performed as humorous story-telling. The current segment, by lauded, gruff 'cabaretier' Theo Maassen has created the past week a bit of a dust-up:

The joke that caused the stir is made in the first 20 seconds. Because this is an 'inside' joke (?), let me go through it verbatim:

European Tribune - Comments - LOL. What is the point of comedy? tan1 European Tribune - Comments - LOL. What is the point of comedy?

Bij de vorige verkiezingen, in Volendam stemde 50 procent van de mensen stemde op de PVV. In Volendam! Dat hele dorp is 100 procent blank! De enige variatie die ze daar hebben in huidskleur zijn de slachtoffers van die cafebrand. Dat is pure xenofobie!

In the last elections, 50 percent of the people in Volendam voted for the PVV. In Volendam! The whole village is 100 percent white! The only variation in skincolor that they have there are the victims of the cafe fire. It is pure xenophobia!

Volendam, both tourist attraction and famous fishing village, is a close-knit and deeply religious community amidst the fabric of Dutch society. People in Volendam adhere to their own traditional culture and family values and are also (in)famous for their interbreeding - which has resulted in a distinguishable gene pool, also used by scientists for genetic mapping.

As known, the PVV is the anti-Muslim, populist party of Geert Wilders.

On New Year's in 2000 - 2001, a fire in a local café in Volendam ended in a deadly tragedy - with 14 people dead and hundreds of young people scarred for life with dramatic burn wounds. More here.

Thus the 'joke'.

In his shows, Maassen spares hardly anyone - himself, his girlfriend, his audience, waiters, Geert Wilders, atheists, the Queen, etc. He's been criticized for tiptoeing around coarse jokes on muslims and Islam - but he hasn't spared them either. And now he targets people in Volendam. Maassen is not from Volendam - he's an 'outsider' in that respect. But he's also Dutch and he's as white as the traditional people in Volendam.

His show, launched last year February, is called 'With all due respect' and was rated by critics as one of his most poignant and best ever seen. It was broadcast last December on a public channel for the first time.

Only then, after more than a year after the try-outs, someone in Volendam said: 'Wait, I'm offended by this!'.

Which probably says more about Volendam than it does about Maassen.

I'm not going to touch whether Maassen is 'impinging' enough to mock a minority culture or whether he's too much of an outsider - or whether it is altogether useful.

Still after this segment, he does go on extensively mocking Volendam people, and to great success of the audience - and myself, I should add in all honesty.

by Nomad on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 08:50:58 AM EST
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As you say, he's Dutch and white, and he's satirising a subset of the white Dutch, the 50% of Volendamers who voted PVV. He's doing so, presumably, to question the political attitudes of all white Dutch by using Volendam as an extreme example. The question of whether it's funny to mock them concerning the fire is up for grabs -- as it's delivered it gets a laugh, though I thought I sensed some nervousness.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 09:19:12 AM EST
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