Two Views On Political Correctness: John Cleese And Paul F. Tompkins

I’ve been sitting on these two videos for a while, not realizing that they totally go together. They are both about political correctness. So they go together. But they are opposing views. So I’m putting them together.

John Cleese thinks “we can’t have comedy and political correctness at the same time.”

Paul F. Tompkins thinks “political correctness keeps comedy fresh.”

There are more subtleties to their arguments than that. So, watch these videos because they are interesting and you’re a smart person who really likes watching interesting things! You can find more about the John Cleese video here. You can find a transcription of what Tompkins says in his video here. You can find nothing here.

I didn’t know what the big think (the people who made these videos) was before now, but it seems pretty cool. Here.

So Apparently You Can Be On Trial For Telling Offensive Jokes In Canada

Well this one is pretty shocking to me. I didn’t take it seriously for a second, but apparently this Canadian comedian Mike Ward is on trial for making fun of a disabled guy in his act? Which, to me, is absolutely crazy!

So I think what’s happening is that Jeremy Gabriel is trying to get Ward to stop telling this joke about him, stop doing comedy, and even get him fined for telling the joke. AND Gabriel wants $80,000 from Ward for the damages. Seriously?! Gabriel says that the joke made him contemplate suicide. Ward’s argument is obviously: “Hey, but free speech!” It takes me right back to reading about Lenny Bruce and his struggle against the law in the U.S. for telling (at the time) very scandalous jokes.

I’m just very confused…to me this is such a ridiculous non-issue. Is this a weird P.C. thing? Is Canada really that different from the U.S.? Can you really claim that someone’s joke was so bad that it caused you “emotional pain and suffering? Yeeesh.

Weird, but very interesting. Here’s some more info from a Quebec newspaper if you’re curious.

Oh, and I didn’t even mentioned it yet because it didn’t seem important at all, but from what I understand, this is the essence of the joke that Ward told: 1) Gabriel has a syndrome that disfigured his face 2) he got tons of perhaps unwarranted media attention because he got to sing for the Pope 3) Ward defended Gabriel at first for getting this media attention, but now five years later Gabriel hasn’t died yet, making Ward look bad.

Silly, right?