Well, let me say this about that...

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Posted ByLL on February 21, 2004 at 22:52:07:

In Reply to: Re: Interesting Discussion on Rochester posted byjerry4opry on February 21, 2004 at 06:55:20:

Just wanted take a minute and weigh in on this discussion. First off, a request...the debate on the merits or ills of "political correctness" is a big one and better-suited to discussion arenas other than this one.

"Politically correct" has become an emotionally-charged buzzword, and can mean a lot of different things to different people. What I think is really at issue here are two things: 1) what is FUNNY? and 2) what is OFFENSIVE?

People have tried for centuries to answer the question of "what is funny?". There was a recent study that purported to have determined the funniest joke of all time. The joke that got that honor didn't even make me smile when I read it. Ironically though, I found the same exact gag in one of the Benny scripts the other day. Redux:

Person A: A man dead!
Person B: Let's make sure that he's dead, first.
Person A: OK, now what?

The fact that it didn't make me laugh doesn't mean it's not funny...it's just not funny to me. Funny is subjective.

The question of whether something is offensive is simlarly subjective. I was having an excellent conversation with a gentleman earlier this week who is a Ralph Bunche expert. (Ralph Bunche was the first black U.N. Secretary General.) He told me a story of Bunche being the only black man in a dorm with about a dozen white students. When the lights went off, his roommates would taunt him with comments like, "Hey Bunche, smile so I can see where you are."

Now take the line where Jack asks Rochester where he is, Rochester says he's right next to him, and Jack says, "Well, open your eyes or smile so I can see you." Bunche might have found that line offensive and unfunny. Bunche's roommates might have found it both unoffensive and hilarious.

We're all looking at these shows with our own perspective, based on our backgrounds, preconceptions, knowledge (e.g., Jack's standing on racial relations), etc. If it makes you laugh, it's funny...to you. If it makes you angry, it's offensive...to you. All we can speak for is ourselves.


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