As a fan of comedians like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce, two men definitely not known for never crossing the line, it’s kind of difficult to say that some things are off-limits or should never be joked about. Carlin once made a comment that even rape could be funny, and used the example of Elmer Fudd raping Porky Pig. I think the whole point of comedy is to push buttons and say the things that all the rest of us can’t or won’t say. I was reading an article not long ago about how comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and even Larry the Cable Guy won’t play college campuses anymore because they’ve become too politically correct, and the students are too offended by every little “microaggression” that could possibly exist. College campuses used to be the one place where you could hear politically incorrect or divisive speech, and know that a dialogue would happen afterward, but now, everyone is triggered by everything, and everyone is offended by everything.
Stephen Fry had a great comment about that phrase, “I’m offended” — “It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that,” as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that.” Well, so fucking what?”
I think he has a point. I think people have every right to be offended by something, but I also don’t think everyone else needs to care. I’m overweight; I don’t get offended by fat jokes, and I don’t want other people being offended on my behalf. If I were to be offended by them, I wouldn’t expect everyone else to grovel and apologize to me for it. It’s my problem, so I should be the one to deal with it. There are a lot of things I don’t find funny, like rape, toilet humor, violence, abuse….if other people find jokes about those things hilarious, then that’s them. It’s not my job or my place to judge them for it.