‘Every Joke Has a Victim': Rowan Atkinson Hits Back at Cancel Culture, Dumb Idea You Shouldn't 'Punch Down'
It's ridiculous that any time a comedian is interviewed, some of the questions require the comedian to defend his existence. A handful of bloggers, slacktivists, and woke twats on Twitter want to control what jokes you can tell. We make comedians defend their ability to make jokes because of them. Then the comedians trend because "OMG, this person who makes jokes doesn't think they should be told what jokes they can make." Today's player is Rowan Atkinson. Yes, Mr. Bean.
It's our second time being through this with Atkinson. The comedian spoke to the Irish Times and offered this radical concept of what comedy is:
"It does seem to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be drained of that potential. Every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is made to look ridiculous."
There's also the ridiculous idea of "punching down." That's where the political left has a randomized list of people, groups, and things you CAN'T make fun of because of perceived marginalization or because your jokes are inconvenient to the political left's agenda and they need to make up a reason why. Atkinson disagrees with that, as well. "Punching down" isn't a real thing, but more importantly, if it were a real thing, there are people who deserve to be punched down on.
"There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything."
It's a never-ending, moving target of what you "can't" make jokes about. We saw this with recently demoted WaPo reporter Taylor Lorenz, who represents the type of emotional hemophiliacs who want to tell you what funny things you are allowed to say. A reporter joked about schmovid. She lashed out saying it was mean to people who might catch schmovid. Someone who almost died from schmovid told her it is okay to joke about it. She then attacked that guy because he was being a "lateral ableist." Again, there's always a new group that gets made up out of thin air.
Instead of asking comedians for their thoughts on cancel culture and expecting them to validate their existence, I'd rather they spend two minutes on rush hour traffic or airplane food. You should already know a comedian is pro-free speech and anti-cancel culture purely by if they're funny or not.
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