Oxymoron’s have a long and illustrious position in the American Lexicon, and in the hearts of Americans alike. It’s a verbal hypocrisy for the American soul that matches the political hypocrisy in our media.
So when you think about it, our love and use of oxymorons makes sense and is “seriously funny” and “terribly good”. But here is the “Brutal Truth”; There is one Oxymoron that threatens the entire fabric of our society… It not only threatens the sacredness of our 1st Amendment, but has a chilling effect on the long standing concept of the presumption of innocence, which was codified by law in America, through the 5th and 14th amendment. Of Course, I am talking about Cancel Culture.
To cancel is to decide, or announce, that a planned event will not take place. Culture is the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. In other words, it is the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement, regarded collectively.
As infuriating as it is for a child of the 70’s to not see the Bush’s, or Clintons, or bank bailout buffoons get “cancelled” in the 90s and ‘00s, it is in the glow of this bitterness that we illuminate this clash of freedom of expression, and the moronic trend sweeping the dark alleys of the internets as cancel culture attempts the fool hearted quest to stop the world from being offended.
Tony Hinchcliffe is a comedian. He’s had a long-lasting career that has spanned from 2007 until now….and how long it lasts from here depends of how effectively our society can cancel culture. Comedy itself has a hallowed history, has been redefined in the test bed of post world war America, and has become an American gift to the world. It is the forum of using humor, deep thought, and critiques as a way to speak truth to power.
From the days of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin to Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle, modern comedians have had a tendency to piss off the establishment. They have wielded their thoughts as weapons; empowering many audience members in the process. But with this latest descent into cancel culture, these thoughts may soon, in turn, slay these truth “warriors”.
One such moment is upon Mr. Hinchcliffe. He is currently in the headlines for making comments that were in “poor taste” when taken out of context ,and given little to validate a trait or even an opinion held by Mr. Hinchcliffe… When the comments were spoken, he was on stage as a comedian; not in an interview, fomenting hate against our Asian brothers and sisters. But to me, poor taste is turning your back on not only your profession, but also, your colleagues as well.
In the game of comedy, it is a grind; one that most of us are too scared to ever consider engaging, let alone sympathizing with. To put yourself in front of a diverse crowd of people and to be as vulnerable as a human can get, knowing you will be judged, and the only joy comes from making others involuntarily laugh, is daunting to say the least. That spontaneous laughter is the only guiding light for these wayward shamans.
It is not only the grind, but there is a strong sense of seniority, and an appreciation for the older comics by the younger comics. The earned respect, vice versa, is mutual and usually expressed by the line up. It is the 1st form of validation for a young comic when a headliner invites you on the lineup. You have openers, middles, and features who close the show. So when a feature/closer asks a young comic to open, it’s a big deal. So, when speaking of poor taste, Peng Dang oozes with it; which brings us back to May 11th, 2021 in Austin TX.
After a brief set, in which Dang plays to all the low hanging Asian Stereotypes, as well as common digs at Muslims, and our fair skinned brothers and sisters in America, he brings up the feature: Tony Hinchcliffe.
As mentioned before, Tony is an established comic, which usually means he has carved out his audience. They have a relationship. No middleman…Just Artist and fans.
As a young comic you get to perform to their audience. Win win for everybody… But Peng decided to become a victim merchant, A victim marketer. He understood the attempt at humor on that comedy stage, and instead of allowing for artistic freedom, he choose to virtue signal… and that is in poor taste.
You see, all jokes…bad and good…come from the same birth. While Tony’s riff of a joke wasn’t the best example of wit and skill… it was an obvious joke that dealt with a burgeoning narrative (TM) topic: Asian Hate in America.
Because I am familiar with Mr. Tony Hinchcliffe, I took the joke as a statement on that and kept it moving, but when pressed to condemn as poor taste, I am reminded…Funny or not, the comedian was being courageous; which is what I demand from comedians.
As our society evolves, this one trend, that started as the punishment for #metoo perpetrators, now threatens to allow the powers that be the ability to cancel any divergent thought, and eliminate some fundamental law concepts that span almost 200 years; all for the promise of not being offended.
In a world where just a few philanthropists could end world hunger for just a small fraction of their wealth, when we gaze at our phones fully understanding the lives of the kids that labor to make that product, and as we march towards global fascism, it may be time to realize being offended is still allowed….and welcomed as it usually is, a rock covering up some deep seeded insecurities and misunderstanding of what tolerance actually means