Censoring Mel Brooks is like blowing up statues of Buddha: DiAngelo Goes Full Joy-eater

Comedy is an excuse to be racist, says self-appointed commissar Robin DiAngelo, publisher of such pulp fiction as White Fragility and, her latest, Nice Racism. DiAngelo declares it appropriate to “punch up” by mocking white people. But it’s racist to mock nonwhites. That’s “punching down.” We’re supposed to believe that a person who doesn’t get racism gets comedy?

It’s not a double standard. The race power myth applies to comedy as much as it applies to crime. Think about it. Blacks can mock whites and even mock other blacks because blacks are in the permanent down position, and progressives like DiAngelo, the white saviors of the Western world, need to stand over their image of a hunkering black with broken chains and wag their pale fingers at other white people. Murder rates can be at Northern Triangle levels in inner-city black neighborhoods, blacks can loot and assault whites in the name of “social justice,” but you’re a racist for suggesting we might hold violent criminals accountable regardless of race. Meanwhile, being born white is to be complicit in the greatest crimes ever perpetrated—crimes prosecuted more than a hundred and fifty and fifty years ago with reparations attached.

Having told us what racism is, DiAngelo is now going explain comedy to us. If you disagree, then you’re fragile. “Comedy is, I think, an excuse to get to be racist, right?” Is it? “I think TV shows like Family Guy and South Park, and maybe a little bit The Simpsons, allowed white people to be racist self-consciously. Like, ‘I know I’m being racist and therefore it doesn’t count and it’s OK.’” Family Guy and South Park are outrageously funny shows. The Simpsons sometimes a little bit funny.

“I don’t think it’s benign to do it in a joking way,” DiAngelo continues. “And there is a concept in comedy called punching up, not down. So if you want to punch up, there are very different power dynamics and it doesn’t hurt in the same way. It doesn’t invoke a deep, deep centuries-long history of oppression when you poke fun at say, white people. But it’s very, very different when you poke fun at people of color.” Why? I presume the answer is “power.” But, again, why?

George Carlin, Bill Burr, Bill Hicks, and Norm McDonald, four of the greatest comedians to ever walk the earth, punch up, down, and sideways. That’s why they are funny. Nothing is sacred. Who is this woke scold to tell them the rules of comedy? Let me presume to tell you the rules. Here’s one: When you tell a joke and nobody laughs, and that happens the next time you tell the joke, and maybe even after that (you can never quite trust the room so you give another go), then maybe you don’t tell the joke at your next gig. You go for laughs (although it seems that Hicks often went for crickets). Your audience is not laughing because they are not white supremacist.

Antiracists are deeply authoritarian. Have you noticed this? Have you noticed how reflexively illiberal they are? One of the hallmarks of authoritarianism is a commitment to puritanical standards that suck the joy out of everything. Comedy is racist. Porn is sexist. Etcetera. Laugh and masturbate and you’re racist and sexist. The woke scold hates it when people are having fun. They are joy-eaters.

I have had humorless scolds come by my office because they heard laugher. “What’s so funny?” I was playing Hicks asking God to make rain for forty days and nights to wash the turds from Bill’s body. Remember how you laughed your ass off at Cheech and Chong (“Mr. Stromberg, is it?”), Don Rickles (“Did I get any black on me?”), or Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles)? Have you seen George Carlin’s bit on fat people at the mall? How about Bill Burr sticking it to feminists?

If woke scolds like DiAngelo had their way they wouldn’t just bleep words. They would memory hole that shit. We’d be like House Christians in China praying in our closets—trying not to laugh too loudly. In a cultural revolution, cultural memory is erased and replaced by a gray world fully of busybodies who tell you what to think and what to say. They take screen shots and record conversations. They know better than you.

Woke activists out in the grassroots be like, “You think Blazing Saddles was funny?” Yes, I do. Here’s why: it makes me laugh. But the joy of humor is not the only point. Freedom to offend is one of the main reasons we have free speech. If you are offended, that only validates the purpose of freedom of speech and expression. You have no right to not be offended because you don’t have to be offended. You can get over that shit. If you love God with all your might, it is no excuse to censor images of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban—or cut off the heads of those who do. You can civilize yourself and recognize the human right to convey thoughts in art, music, and words.

What Mohammad Omar took from the world can never be returned

Did DiAngelo explicitly advocate for censoring Mel Brooks? No. But she would if she could and you know I am right about that. She and her ilk believe that a just society is one in which the humor they deem racist—sexist, etc.—is disappeared. They think like the Taliban. Will we allow the woke left to wield the weapons that bring death to liberty? DiAngelo is a cultural manager whose authoritarian desire is reflected in the actions of the corporate censors. Don’t pretend as if the circle of what is allowed for certain identity groups is not drawing ever smaller. The question is, if the nature of such circles is to draw ever more tightly around us, why there is a circle at all.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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