Banter is not humour; banter is what people have when they lack a sense of humour. Banter is a catch-all word for idiocy that warns the rest of us that Here Be Lads. Banter is Soccer AM. It is Andy Gray. It is middle-aged men on Top Gear pretending that they are edgy outsiders by mocking society’s weakest, then going home to Chipping Norton where they live two doors down from the Prime Minister. It is an English stag do in Dublin or Amsterdam with matching T-shirts. It is cruelty unleavened by wit but which is excused because it is a bit like wit, if you look at it from a certain angle. It what is left when humour has died, and just the rotting, stinking carcass remains, bearing a resemblance to the living being but lacking all that made it good. Banter is the Dunning-Kruger effect writ large. If you like banter, you are an idiot.
I’m not a fan.
This is not a tirade against rudeness. I am all in favour of rudeness, of bawdiness, of insult and mockery and obscenity. They’re all brilliant things, when done well. But “banter” isn’t. If you insult someone, you expect them to be insulted; if you are rude, you expect people to be offended. “Banter” is apparently a free pass: I can insult you, but you’re not allowed to be insulted, because “it’s only banter”. I can be obscene, but you can’t be offended, because “it’s only banter”. No. If you’re a grown-up, you know that your offensiveness may offend, and you either accept that or you apologise and don’t do it again. Saying “it’s only banter” makes you not only an idiot, but an idiot who can’t take responsibility for his own jokes.
I’m sick to death of the notion that, if you critique something a comedian says or does for being hurtful and fucked up, you need to “lighten up,” “stop taking things so seriously,” and “get a sense of humor.” I remember years ago, Pedro Almodovar responded to feminist critiques of one of his movies (the critiques had to do with rape jokes, if I recall correctly) by saying something along the lines of, “Why are feminists like this? Isn’t it possible to be a feminist and still have a sense of humor?” To which I wanted to respond, “Isn’t it possible to have a sense of humor and still not think your jokes are funny?” This idea that having a sense of humor means giving all comedians a free pass on criticism for anything they say, ever… it’s bullshit. It’s a “Shut up, that’s why” argument. It’s a reflexive attempt to shut down any criticism — artistic as well as political or moral — before it ever starts.
Well, you don’t get to have it both ways. You don’t get to say that comedy is an important form of artistic expression, a valuable contribution to our cultural landscape in which artistic freedom is necessary and paramount… and then say that everyone just needs to lighten up, and what comedians say and do isn’t that big a deal, and it’s ridiculous to call them to account for it.
Some social norms are there for a reason. The social pressure to (for instance) not act like a racist asshole — that’s there for a reason. It’s there because racism is bad. It’s there because, as a society, we are in the process of changing our minds about race… and exerting social pressure against racist ideas and behavior is part of how we learn to do that, and teach each other to do it.
And this idea that any violation of social norms automatically makes you courageous and transgressive… it’s childish. It’s adolescent. It’s a cheap, easy way to make yourself feel rebellious and edgy… when you’re actually squarely in the center, reinforcing the very structures you’re pretending to rebel against.
Greta Cristina, Comedy Does Not Win a Free Pass
It’s one of those things that Just Has To Be Shared.
As for grody food court pizza, I’ve had much worse than Sbarro. OTOH, it’s Sbarro’s pasta that should really be questionable, especially since when you come upon it, it’s probably been under heatlamps for several hours and you wind up with a plate of rubber bands covered with meatballs and sauce.
Truth be told, I rarely set foot in malls; the last time I did was two years ago to buy a pair of non-stanky Converse Chucks … which meant eyes forward and no distractions between the entrance closest to Journey’s, and likewise on the way out. Because I didn’t want to have to subject myself to … well, the Mall (in my case, Sooner Mall, in the barren Generica of West Norman).
Amusing! It’s like watching a nature documentary, only about a youth subculture :P
A short guide to the “F-word.”
I figure I should lighten things up on this blog for a change :P
Source: Mother Jones
Each of these are actual conspiracy theories related to President Obama. Click the link above to learn about each of them (if you dare).