Monday, August 10, 2015

"Everything About College Makes Me Want to Quit." A Link Sent In From Red Shirley in Saskatoon.

A new article for The Atlantic dives into the antiseptic world of college stand-up comedy, where the humor of a joke is measured by how well it avoids giving offense.

The article, “That’s Not Funny!,” chronicles Caitlin Flanagan’s journey to a convention held by the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), where administrators and student government representatives venture to choose potential stand-up comics to book for on-campus performances. And what performers do these students choose? Only the ones who avoid saying anything remotely offensive.

They wanted comedy that was 100 percent risk-free, comedy that could not trigger or upset or mildly trouble a single student,” Flanagan writes. “They wanted comedy so thoroughly scrubbed of barb and aggression that if the most hypersensitive weirdo on campus mistakenly wandered into a performance, the words he would hear would fall on him like a soft rain, producing a gentle chuckle and encouraging him to toddle back to his dorm, tuck himself in, and commence a dreamless sleep—not text Mom and Dad that some monster had upset him with a joke.”

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  1. I hope someone quickly realizes that the humor resulting from this is godawful, much like conservative humor, but for a different reason. (As marvelous Mark Slackmeyer observed, conservative humor is godawful because it comes off as bullying. Good humor does the opposite: it comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.)

  2. I think about how our orientation sessions always caution us against making jokes about anything that could be taken out of context or deemed offensive to anyone, including the desks in the classroom and shake my head in wonder that they have any sense of humor left at all.

  3. And wouldn't you know it... students, when evaluating faculty, are to rate their professor's sense of humor (at my university). You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

  4. Q: How many members of any specific victim class does it take to screw in a light bulb?