Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Use of Mockery

“There is a difference between ‘everyone is entitled to their beliefs’ and ‘all beliefs are valid.’ Idiotic beliefs should not be coddled. They should be mocked.”

That was my facebook status today. The original impetus for that statement was actually David Tyree and his criticism of same sex marriage. That idiotic harpy Elizabeth Hasselbeck defended him by basically saying “it’s his religion.” That is a completely non-valid defense of bigotry. All it does is expose the bigotry in their religion.

Well, the only response I received was “Challenged, yes. Mocked, gets you nowhere.”

Obviously I disagree. Belief in a 6,000 year old Earth is idiotic and willfully ignorant. No matter what evidence you provide it will not change the minds of the people who hold these beliefs. At least not in numbers sufficient to be able to disregard them. Should Glenn Beck be simply "challenged?" Will that make a difference? No. He is a lunatic and he constantly ignores any and all evidence that are contrary to his paranoid rantings. He should be mocked in order to establish him as someone not to be taken seriously. Comedy and parody have been used to marginalize fringe beliefs of all kinds.

Oddly enough the article Lessons to Secular Community from 'The Book of Mormon' Musical: Take on Dogma With Humor popped up in my news feed soon after and inspired me to write more about it. Providence!

Does pointing out the absurdities of Mormonism—or any belief— via comedy accomplish anything? Yes. It allows a broad audience to lower their guard and be exposed to those beliefs in ways they normally would not. It also allows audiences to unconsciously challenge their own beliefs. Where would the Civil Rights movement be without comedy? Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle and so many more opened up black and white audiences to think about race, their possible racism and slowly but surely racist attitudes were marginalized. Racism is not gone (post-racial America, my ass!), but is very much not the norm anymore.

Take the people in the following video for example.

Rational argument will not “challenge” anything these people believe. They will not even entertain the thought they could be wrong. They are fucked in the head and they should be marginalized in society. Mockery, parody and comedy is one of the best tools to accomplish this. Anything more overt invites the possibility of overstepping bounds and making beliefs a thought crime. I for one will not be a party to that. The process of marginalizing fringe beliefs of all kinds is a mix of rational discussion and comedy and is not oppressive. No matter what the holder of a belief claims.

Never gets old. 


michael- said...

great point. Mockery, done well, reveals so much and allows other to identify with an alterntive.

great blog!!

Steve said...

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus." Thomas Jefferson

Bill said...

Absolutely. We have to tolerate stupid ideas (not bash people upside the head for having them), but that in no way means we have to respect stupidity and bigotry and outright insanity.

As Mel Brooks said, "Rhetoric does not get you anywhere, because Hitler and Mussolini are just as good at rhetoric. But if you can bring these people down with comedy, they stand no chance."