Wednesday, August 8, 2007

MetaBigotry in Comedy


Whoa! Hold your horses! You said what Lucy? Bigotry? In comedy? Now you are crossing the line!

Well, no. Actually, a lot of people have been using a form of meta-bigotry in comedy as far back as the 1970s. Here's a more extensive list of frequent users:

  • Archie Bunker, of All in the Family

  • Dave Chappelle, of Chappelle's Show

  • Sarah Silverman, of The Sarah Silverman Program,

  • Eric Cartman, of South Park

  • Ali-G, of Da Ali G Show

  • Borat

  • The Family Guy, created by former standup comic, Seth MacFarlane

  • Aaron McGruder, of The Boondocks fame.


  • DISCLAIMER to white people: If you haven't seen or read The Boondocks, from the bottom of my heart, Watch it! Read it! If you want to see racism end, then you'll do your duty by taking the time out to pay attention to the sage-like prophet that is McGruder. No one's around to judge you. It's just you and the computer. Pretend I'm Oprah, and this is my book club! Freaking pay attention! Okay! 'Nuff said. DISCLAIMER over. On to the next paragraph...

    ...meta-bigotry can look suspiciously like actual bigotry...


    Let's get down the nitty gritty definition:

    What is MetaBigotry? (Although, there is no official definition for it, I would encourage you to use the links provided to gain a better understanding.)

    Lucy's working definition (subject to change) is "a specific treatment of irony in comedy whereas racism is used as a punchline or central theme by hyperbolically pointing out potentially pejorative vicissitudes and idiosyncrasies designated to a specific culture."

    Yeah well, I tried. (Perhaps, you'll like this definition better.)

    Metabigotry in comedy, which I find to be the only medium where it is being used, seems to be only understood by the educated elite, whereby "the joke" and irony is appreciated. This more educated, more aware and worldly group, understands that "the joke" is only a mere reflection of aspects of a culture--the joke not being mistaken for representing an entire ethnic group. Unfortunately, I think this is where Metabigotry falls short.

    Why? Because "...meta-bigotry can look suspiciously like actual bigotry..." (a quote from Sam Anderson in his Slate article on Sarah Silverman).

    And it seems like a lot of people have an opinion on Metabigotry and its use:

  • an article by Alex Renton, writer from The Guardian (UK publication)


  • an article on Sarah Silverman by Terry Sawyer, writer from PopMatters (US publication)


  • Why do I have such a hard time with Metabigotry?

    Because it doesn't give the viewer/listener/audience member an undeniable litmus test as to what is prejudiced and bigoted within the joke. It doesn't let the viewer know which side of the joke to laugh about. It doesn't tell you, the reader, what it means to be a bigot. And perhaps that's an impossible task to designate and uphold.

    Don't mistake MetaBigotry for reverse racism. Metabigotry has a learning element that reverse racism is missing. It's that same learning element, that makes the use of Metabigotry dicey for any comedian. If you don't pick up on that element, then it might as well be just plain old bigotry.

    During my research, I came upon an article written by Tim Wise, a white anti-racist essayist, activist and lecturer. I like how he addresses the issue of reverse racism. Take a gander.

    In my previous post on Sarah Silverman, I explain that her comedy doesn't have any real agenda. It's mere shock value. Let me reiterate that I don't hate her. I don't admire her. I just--eh! Nothing. I'm just indifferent.

    How would I change the use of Metabigotry in my comedy?

    I do plan on using Metabigotry in my comedy. But I plan to add a disclaimer--a word of caution. I plan on adding that missing litmus test--that piece of hope that comedy could offer. I plan on pointing out the positivity within the comedy--a solution. I always felt that Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, and the rest of the Metabigots (ewww, that almost sounds mean--but, remember according to definition it's not), were neglecting to point out and glorify that specific element. It's much easier to point fingers and say, "This is wrong with your culture! And watch how I dance all over it and make fun!" But it's much harder to develop a feasible solution.

    And this is what I plan on doing with my comedy--propose a solution.

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    49 comments:

    SassyAssy said...

    Lucy I think that is a great idea to provide a litmus test. Sounds like you are quite the thinker/researcher. You ever listen to Brian Regan's routines?

    istanbultory said...

    I think you correctly identified the core of the problem. There's always a danger that a section of the audience will fail to perceive the irony. I myself am one of the great unwashed.
    The water supply has been screwed here for the last 3 days with temperatures up in the 90-100 F range. Now I'm going to have a bath. And then perhaps Mrs IT will welcome me to her bosom again.

    My Reflecting Pool said...

    as with satire, there will always be people who just don't get it.

    The British Bird. said...

    The way we take the sting out of racisms and bigotry in all walks of life, and skin colors is to bring it out in the open and laugh at it, because, it really is tragic that people spend so much of there precious time eating themselves up with things like that when they really should be worried about where the rest of the world is heading. Its like, "Excuse me, Revs Sharpton, and Jackson, but did you know that someone wants to blow your arse up wether you are black, white, red, or yellow?". I noticed that not many people bring up racism against other skin colors other than black.
    My reflecting pool said it. There will always be people that do not get the joke.

    I dont think theres any changing some people.

    honkeie2 said...

    Sometimes I wish i could do stand up comdey so I could put in my two cents to a crowd of people. Spew my twisted look on life with others so they could all look at me like I was the offspring of two hillbilly siblings that married.
    But then again i would probably get stage fright and shit myself, hey I bet that would be funny! People love crap jokes!

    Joe the Troll said...

    You make some excellent points, Lucy. I do think that "All in he Family", however, was a very important show. It brought a lot of important issues into the living room that most people would have preferred to ignore (like racism) and held a mirror up to racism that showed it for what it was. The important thing is that Archie wasn't shown to be a Klan member or anything, or even shown as a bad person at heart. He was a regular guy, and average American, someone we all know. His bigotry wasn't the result of hatred, it was the result of sheer ignorance, and I think that showing that helped a lot of people wake up the the ignorance they see in life and in themselves on a regular basis. I think it's a little sad that such a show wouldn't be allowed in today's PC atmosphere. While we're still a polarized society in many ways, we seek not to address such issues anymore, preferring instead to pretend that there will be no racism if everyone can just be made to watch their mouths.

    Melissa said...

    I don't know as much about comedy (and comedians) as you do, but I heard Don Rickles perform once, and he said some aweful (but hilarious) things. However, at the end he said a "disclaimer" of sorts, saying how it's all good and that no one is better than anyone else. His comedy offended/attacked everyone, and in doing so, attacked no one.

    I agree that there's a fine line between using meta-bigotry as education, and people glorifying actual bigots. I suppose if there's some "balance" where metabigots are showed getting their come-uppance.

    You've given me some interesting stuff to read when I get a chance! Take care!

    Dating Trooper - Dating is Warfare said...

    I'm generally pro Metabigotry but - ntil just now - I didn't know it had a name. I used to play what I called "politically incorrect board games" which I found to be a foolproof way to get people thinking about their own way of looking at the world. I would use racist stereotypes as clues (specifically with Taboo) and, when they guessed the right answer and started giving me crap for being inappropriate, I would say, "Hey, I'm not the racist sons of bitches that guessed it right?!" That usually shuts 'em up:-)

    From the other side though, I have started to re-think it once I saw the movie "Borat" in the theater. I LOVED it and laughed my ass off - as did the rest of the audience. Particularly at the anti-semitic stuff. But the thing is, I'm a Jew, I know Sascha Baron Cohen is a Jew, I get the Metabigotry here. But I couldn't help but wonder as I looked around at all the other laughing theatergoers (in a very Christian part of the country mind you), why the heck are THEY laughing???!!

    Thanks for turning me on to your blog!

    Roger said...

    Lucy thanks for visiting Oger The Caveman! Very smart people here...not like caveman "ooga booga ooga" (translation; very well made blog) Hope ya stayed away from that tornado yesterday ;D

    Odat said...

    Hey Neighbor!!! Thanks for the visit...here I am returning one...
    Great blog!!! I really have to take some time and read up...So you're a funny one huh??? Sounds like you're a very intelligent one to boot...
    Peace and come back for another visit...I'll be back here!
    Peace

    Dan said...

    You use metabigotry in your comedy and I'll use megabigotry and then we'll trade notes.

    Deal?

    Brownstone Cool said...

    I think your approach is right. I like the angle of explaining what is wrong with the laughter at the end of the set. It puts things in perspective and will give you that elusive hook that you seek. Making that "moral" statement funny would just be icing on the cake. Thats how you nail it. Great post.

    Tracy Kaply said...

    I tend to think that the reason some people don't 'get it' is that as a society we have taken the route of dumbing down and explaining things which a basic level of common sense should tell someone of average intelligence is going on- for example, coffee is hot, sharp things can cut you and you should not base your world view on the rantings of comedians. comedians are there to be funny and humor is to be found in the things we do as people and as a culture, whichever culture that may be. To claim not to be able to tell the difference between the words of Michael Richards and the words of Dave Chappelle or Sarah Silverman, is disingenuous, to say the least.

    Of course, I prefer Eddie Izzard, anyway.

    S* said...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Like the earlier commenter said, some people just won't get it. Some will never get it - ever. I think sometimes you just have to let that fact be, especially when it comes to anything related to racism - or anything esoteric for that matter.

    Akelamalu said...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment. I'll be back to read more. :)

    * (asterisk) said...

    Thanks for stopping by, Lucy. Megabigotry, huh? Yeah, you sure need to know that who you're sharing it with is in on the joke. Delivery is everything. As a terrible old comedian over here used to say: "It's the way I tell 'em."

    rickrocket said...

    There is an Asian comic here in TX that calls himself the Chinaman. He is hilarious because he exposes the classic stereotypes for what they are. Ridiculous and ignorant. Check him out sometime at www.mesofunny.com. Love your site!

    your favorite liberal in exile,
    rickrocket

    minijonb said...

    i tried to comment a minute ago, but Blogger crashed it for me, so here goes again...

    i like metabigotry comedy, and i hate attempts to censor it. however, if that is the only gag the artist has, they need some new material.

    T.A. Negro said...

    This is certainly a ripe subject. But I don't know how I feel about the disclaimer. I deal in meta-bigotry as well, and I just find more often than not disclaimers and explanations kill the funny.

    What's beautiful about comedy, and what the successful "meta-bigots" you list have going is that they don't need to explain because peopel are busy laughing. At least when the joke works. SO yeah, if people aren't laughing, or there's a weird response, maybe we should explain. But maybe it just means the joke needs to be tighter.

    And I think you'll lose more people explaining or disclaiming than you'll gain new people, who now get the joke or understand that you're purposefully joking about a race issue.

    But I relate to the urge certainly. I just always find it best to rely on the audience being smart and getting it. It's tough to "teach" and make people laugh at the same time.

    Elaine Vigneault said...

    Spontaneous idea for stand-up:
    Have a "disclaimer" in the form of flags. Start off your routine with a handful of multi-colored flags: pink flags for sexist jokes, black flags for race jokes, purple flags for gay jokes...

    Hand out the flags to audience members (being sure to play up the stereotypes by choosing the whitest white guy for the race jokes, etc.) and ask them to raise their flag whenever they hear a joke that is __.

    "Sir with the pink flag, please wave your flag when you hear a sexist joke."

    Then do your routine. Slip in the metabigotry. Wait for response. Argue with people who raise flags. Argue with people who don't raise flags.

    Step 3: Profit.

    sokari said...

    I am familiar with Ali G and in UK, Alf Garnet who was similar to the Archie Bunker character. I have never been totally comfortable with the Alf Garnet character / comedy because he represents something I recognise very well.

    On the other hand Ali G is so off the wall and he is a combination of stereotypes rather than the Alf Garnet one dimensional bigot. As you rightly say there are always those who dont get it.

    Sometimes when watching it you feel like the comedian is walking a fine line.

    Thanks for introducing me to your blog. Unfortunately I dont live in the US so I wont have the chance to see you in real life.

    sbarret said...

    I greatly dislike Sarah Silverman's comedy but I never really had a rationale for it. You hit it right on the head w/ this post.

    As for whether it exists outside of comedy, I think it might. If you remember the Michael Douglas movie from a few years ago "Fallen Down" I think. I hated that movie because I felt it fed on numerous bigotted stereotypes, but as you mentioned never passed that litmus test to me. It was angry white dude goes on a rampage. And maybe the rampage was a "bad thing", but there was an undercurrent that he, mr. white dude, was driven to this extreme. We were meant to be almost sympathetic to him. Now I pictured this movie being shown in a neighborhood that had little intereaction outside their WASP culture. Did it do anything besides emphasize a bunch of negative stereotypes? I admit it's been ages since I saw that movie, but I don't think it ever did. Much like Megabigotry in comedy seldom teaches the lesson it sets out to do.

    great post!

    Maya's Granny said...

    Lucy,
    I like your post. I love Boondocks. Find S.Silverman distastful -- that's probably a function of my generation. Some acculturation we grow out of, some we don't.

    I'm not sure how I would feel about a disclaimer. Part of what makes irony so strong is that it doesn't leave the frame. Colbert is such a strong comedian because he stays very much in the frame and by doing so makes it all the funnier. Of course, to people who think he's serious, a disclaimer would be helpful.

    Oyceter said...

    Got here via your link in my LJ! This is great and really interesting. Would you mind if I linked to it from the del.icio.us for Intl. Blog Against Racism Week?

    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

    First, I would like to say that I think Dave Chapelle and the South Park writers are hilarious.

    But what about Carlos Mencia? He uses racism as a platform for jokes that aren't funny and are just offensive.

    Archie was absolutely a reflection of his time.

    Really interesting post. Thanks for sending me over here.

    Mizrepresent said...

    Wow, what a thought provoking post...you know i never really broke down comedy like that, or even tried to analyze it, but from reading your take and others, i see what you mean...however, none of it offends me...I can take a joke and give one...disclaimer or not, be true to yourself and your audience and make sure you leave them laughing. thanks for the invite. I'll be back for more.

    Rosemarie said...

    "...learning element, that makes the use of Metabigotry dicey for any comedian. If you don't pick up on that element, then it might as well be just plain old bigotry."

    Boondocks (first time viewing) did express most of what I already knew existed, and a few perspectives I was not aware of. The creators really bring to light issues from both sides. It seems they have done a fair job in showing how much work we have ahead of us as a human race.

    I wish you well in your endeavors and will certainly put this post in my new blogs for others to view.

    Thanks for stopping by one of my many blogs.

    Rosemarie said...

    You've been linked in my sidebar!

    Miscellaneous Matters

    Have you been here?

    http://electronicvillage.blogspot.com/2007/08/chris-rock-aint-no-hot-ghetto-mess.html

    Watch the comedy sketch!

    Stephen Bess said...

    Wow! This was a fantastic post. This is the first time I've heard of the term, "MetaBigotry." I've always written it off as satire. Well, you've given me a great deal to read and and think about. Thank you.

    Matt Elmore said...

    This is one of the many reasons that Americans are becoming really boring people. They become fixated --no, obsessed by their phantom agonies and screech about them in an endless feedback loop that is more monotonous and redundant than Thanksgiving weekend with a sister who has Munchausen Syndrome. Communists next door, child molesters lurking in every public lavatory, closet racists, terrorists who hate freedom, ... pick a decade and there's a national dialogue that has drilled it over and over into the public psyche. The bigot bit has won the prize for duration, that's for sure.

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could somehow erase all memories that there were ever racists? Then we could just move on innocently and discover with clarity that the black guys who have chrome shit hanging from their necks and walk funny might put a cap in my ass but my black lawyer probably won't, that the slanty-eyed guy who was born in another country actually does sound funny when he talks but my dorm-mate in college was rather boring, that white guys --well, they're just kind of there. Everywhere. Like trees. Sort of blah, really.

    Wouldn't that be cool? To just take a break from the whole thing and accept that there are a lot of pricks in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of colors and accents, and it's just ... not ... that ... important. At what point does it becoming boring for everybody?

    That, to me, is the purpose of comedy: to bring everything out in the open so that we can think about it, forget about it and move on to the next joke.

    It's important to keep in mind that the meta-bigots are not only making fun of the "true" bigots, they're also having a big laugh at the people who are the most offended. They're saying, "Beyond the pleasure I get from watching you squirm, I honestly don't care how this affects you."

    In a Darwinian sense, that attitude is a vital force of nature. Because if we are to further evolve as a species, it's vital that we make whiners cataplectic to the point where they lose all sexual function. Only then can we be assured that the future will be a bigot-free, fun place.

    At least, that's what the little voice in my head is saying right now. I have to go; there's somebody floating outside my window.

    Benjamin Rosenbaum said...

    Hmm.

    It seems like part of the potential value of at least some metabigoted humor is that it is unsafe, that it rattles and unnerves us; having a litmus test, an easy translation into the comic's actual meaning, has the potential to turn it into another kind of humor.

    What, say, Sarah Silverman is doing seems to me to be closer in spirit to Andy Kaufman than to, say, Steven Colbert. Colbert is impersonating a right-wing buffoon to make, essentially, a left-wing point -- and he does it very well and its hilarious. But it is, in the end, easy to extract the point you are supposed to get out of it. Kaufman was to some extent "just fucking with people", but there was also a kind of purity and bravery in his humor which I think was artistically valuable, a willingness to push comedy into territories of discomfort. That you could not extract a polemical point of view from it, a point he was making, was, I think, a strength.

    He wasn't doing it directly with metabigotry themes, but the point I'm making is that some of the metabigots fit into classic satire, like Swift's Modest Proposal, in which you can extract the real didactic point, but others are trying to unsettle maximally and don't have a point by design (because figuring out their point would allow the audience the relief of a retreat into their own firm opinions, pro or con), and I don't think this is necessarily a flaw, or a politically or ethically bankrupt position.

    But, while I think disturbing an audience without offering them the relief of a translation can be legitimate, I do think that if, on the other hand, the audience hears metabigotry simply as bigotry, the joke has failed. And I share your discomfort with metabigotry along these lines -- it is authentically risky. Not just "risky" the way we use the word superficially, in an approving fashion, like "daring", but actually risky, like it carries the real risk that you could be doing more harm than good. Even if the joke is funny, it's not worth it if the audience is laughing at the wrong thing.

    Sascha Baron Cohen, may I say, bugs the hell out of me; I think his act is both metabigotry and plain old bigotry, with the coy apparent anti-Semitism being the metabigotry part and the strightforward anti-Central-Asian-Muslim mockery being the actual bigotry part. I find it pretty hard to read the act as laughing at Americans for laughing at poor third world Muslims; it just seems like plain old laughing at poor third world Muslims to me, and the metabigotry part is really the clincher here. If the act simply made fun of Borat for being ignorant, poor, and foreign, its pettiness would be all too apparent; instead, making Borat a vindictive anti-Semite helps license us to enjoy ridiculing him.

    I love Boondocks.

    I can't really come out for or against metabigotry in the abstract; it depends on whether it succeeds on its own terms, as well as which way the gun is pointed.

    Luke Cage said...

    Hey miss Lucy Dee. Thanks for inviting me over. A couple of nights ago, I was watching Katt Williams on HBO just level everyone equally. And after every segment, he simply said it's all good. Just live your life, life is short so why not laugh (or something to that effect) And he pulled no punches and got on everyone equally.

    And in doing that, he did in his own way offer some resolutions. Although not the most popular ones, but resolutions nonetheless. I never heard of the term metabigotry until I read it in my comments space left by you. It's an interesting take on comedy. I love laughing and don't really think too much about what I'm laughing about.

    Like Katt said. It's all good! Thanks miss Lucy Dee!

    Crushed by Ingsoc said...

    For comedy to work, it has to unsettle at some level.
    Comedy works best when it manages to be right on the line without going over.

    But how many times have you seen soneone on a roll go that little step too far?

    יש (Yosh) said...

    Sounds like a good idea, putting other people's feelings into consideration. Not a lot of people would bother doing this and in the process, they send the wrong signal. People tell me they do not see why of all the SouthPark characters, I have to like Eric Cartman better, but they seem to miss the point, like a lot of your commentators also point out. A disclaimer will do, but at the same time, there should be a fine line between letting others understand where you are coming from and taking the fun out of the whole "metabigotry"! :) It's all good, though!

    Thanks for stopping over my page and paying attention to my comment, somewhere. Do you mind pointing out which of my comment caught your attention and where I left this footprint? I'd like that.

    Jenny! said...

    I hate Sarah Silverman witha passion!

    the Omphaloskeptic said...

    This is something I've been thinking about on and off for a while now. I have a strong instinct that everything should be open to humor and even serious things should be laughed about.

    But in a racist and sexist world, how can it be rebellious or challenging or intellectual to trot out bigotry for teh lulz? As carefully as you hedge it with disclaimers and meta-talk, it's still reflects and operates within a culture with serious problems of bigotry and hatred. It's a recitation of the same old bigoted narratives, whether or not it's "supposed" to challenge them.

    It's a sticky issue, and I think there can be some times, theoretically, when meta-bigotry works against hatred instead of perpetuating it. On the whole, though, I can't see my way to giving it a free pass.

    katy yelland said...

    I think that all comedy works by satirising or making fun of a particular situation/person/group of people. And there are always going to be people who either get offended or just don't understand your humour.

    I also think that when an audience laughs at a 'metabigot', their laughter comes partly from the knowledge that they themselves (often educated, rational, liberal people) are laughing at a remark so outrageously offensive as the one the comedian has just made. So 'metabigotry' is an effective comedic tool in itself, and also causes the audience to laugh at itself. Which is what comedy is about, isn't it?

    I've learnt a new word today!

    Do you want to do a link exchange?
    If you can link to www.katyyelland.blogspot.com and call it 'something to say' on your blogroll, I can link to your blog on mine.

    Cheers x

    JKesler said...

    I remember the day I realized maybe it wasn't "obvious" to everyone that House's ("House, M.D.") bigoted witticisms were ironic.

    There are ways to do it right... I think. If the bigot is the loser and the people who criticized his/her bigotry win, for example. But it's always a tough line to walk.

    Vera Ezimora said...

    Comedy is so weird. I personally find a lotta things funny (of course, I try not 2 laugh @ funerals...as that might result in physical damage on my part), but there are always people that won't get it. If they do, they will get offended. Thinking of it, comedy is like life itself...every1 cannot get it. And everyone cannot be pleased.

    Thanx 4 stopping by my page, Lucy. I appreciate it!

    boneman said...

    Yes'm, you had asked me about Metabigotry, and, well, to quote a famous man...
    I never metabigotry I didn't like.

    No, wait...that's not right.
    Metabigotry sounds like a fancy word that means something else then comes back to bigotry.
    (which is totally different from bigamy...or, as my exwife said, having a husband too many. Of course, she WAS speaking about monogamy at the time, but, well, it all fits, eh?)

    Anyway, it seems that your explaination grazes across the idea of it being a form of showing what bigotry is, though with a warning disclaimer. (or perhaps you are the one who will put in the disclaimer when you perform it?)
    In any case, the idea isn't actually so new at all, and I don't mean from the times way back in Archie Bunker land.

    I first noticed that, for some politicians, at least, the idea of a joke being a joke took the sting out of the reality.
    "All politicians lie..."
    (ha ha ha ha)
    ...and THEN the politician lies.

    As in, it's a joke...it's an accepted joke....it is the truth.
    but, it's OK because it's a joke.

    Archie was, unfortaunately, also a hero to some.
    To this day, I have friends who dress by his rules: A sock then a shoe then a sock then the other shoe.

    boneman said...

    ...by the way, the reason he doesn't mind being called "W" is because he can remember how to spell it.

    DirtyBitchSociety said...

    Excellent subject, whether used in comedy or conversation. I've been called a racist, more than once and those that don't get it, are the ones that look or rather choose that word, to describe my dialog.
    For me, I see racism as a hate filled happening. But the ability to laugh at one's self, culture and behaviors, is the dynamic behind it all. I guess what happens, is when people choose to be offended, "choose" is the key word here, they will be offended. If the dialog is hate filled, certainly I can understand that. But if I say it like it is, which is what your MetaBigot's do, hopefully, people can laugh at themselves.
    Joe the Troll and the Birtish Bird, both made excellent points. If we can laugh at racial stereotypical stuff, we are fine. I think it might be the hate behind it that is offensive, in racism but comedy is the true sense of laughing at our own crap. There should be a better word, to describe honesty, when looking at ourselves, in a comedic atmosphere. I mean, racism is a dirty word, filled with hate. But if you are able to convey things and laugh, not at someone but with them, it becomes truth. We need more truth, less racism, less PC bullshit and comedy could be the catalyst for just that mission.

    If you choose this mission, this comment will self-destruct in 3.7 seconds.

    Patti said...

    You have to hope your audience is educated enough to understand what you are doing when your jokes are racist, I would imagine. I admire anyone who has the nerve to do stand-up.

    My husband is considered 100 percent disabled (nice label, huh?) and has a deaf friend, an attorney, who does some stand-up. We've never seen him because he does it in another state.
    He does deaf jokes, and feels he can get away with them because he is, well, deaf.
    I'm sure it must make some in the audience uncomfortable, but maybe that's his point.
    Being disabled takes courage on a daily basis.
    But we try to see the humor in some of the stuff we live with.

    wormbrain said...

    Thanks for teaching me a new word. Now when someone reads something on my blog and says "you're a bigot",
    I can then say, "No, I'm a META-bigot. It's ok."

    Joking about prejudices and opening up a dialog on discrimination is how such things can be defeated. It's when we censor ourselves and others on this "taboo" topic that we give bigotry its power.

    Excellent post BTW.

    Anders Storm said...

    Hi' Lucy,

    I like your reflections, and the fact that someone really take ethnic relations serious!

    I can only agrre with you on your opinions!

    Keep it up, 'member you might owe me a ticket one day!:)

    Fm SU anders2405

    Hugs
    Anders

    Princess Pointful said...

    Very smart post.
    It scares me how something can just receive the label comedy, and suddenly be deemed appropriate, as though to be bigoted is satirical in every context.

    Indeterminacy said...

    This is the first time I've heard the term meta-bigotry, so you'll get a fresh opinion of it in my comment.

    My take is that the use of meta-bigotry can be highly effective, and maybe the only effective way of bringing about change. The danger with writing/filming pieces that have a clear message is that the message will tend to be taken as preaching by the targets, and of course they'll turn off to it in a minute. However, portraying the meta-level of racism might have a chance of making the targets uncomfortable, flying under the radar, so to speak, and cause them to reflect on the right and wrong of their beliefs.

    I don't know if I've understood the term properly, but I think Dorothy Parker's story "Arrangement in Black and White" would be a perfect example of it. (An mp3 of the story is here: http://www.salon.com/audio/2000/10/05/parker).

    bloggin'AintEZ said...

    Interesting read. I am puzzled by the notion that you plan to explain your jokes:

    "I do plan on using Metabigotry in my comedy. But I
    plan to add a disclaimer--a word of caution."

    I'm no comedian, but it seems to me that explaining your jokes or coming off preachy might be the best way to become "unfunny." And once unfunny, your comedy won't reach anyone--not just get missed by those who can't receive your message at higher levels.

    whatsername said...

    Do you think Stephen Colbert falls into the meta-bigotry category as well?