Phact0rri wrote:Why is this even an argument? Everyone has agreed he says things that is bigotry in nature. So what if he doesn't agree with it? Many people do. They follow the stereotypes have preconceived notions of people. They watch and laugh, at the stereotypes, and the ignorant ones blanket these things as people, as race.
I consider it a great difference in the fact that the dolls are the ones that are saying bigotry. He is an actor, and dolls are his roles. Actor does not neccesarily condone what his character says, and what characters say is not neccesarily an overall message. I claim that most of his act is ironic, so the message is actually the oposite. Of course, as actor, his job is also to make character he's playing look believeable.
Saying "So what if he doesn't agree with it" means denying any importance to the context in which something is said.
To say its harmless is to say that, this is just comedy and these are just silly stereotypes. I know plenty of people who think these things do characterize an entire race. And people unfamilar with these thoughts will now have more ammunition for dealing with people of different life styles.
Nothing is ever 100% harmless. If love-love-love-Beatles aren't safe from being interpreted as racial message and call to mass murdering, than I don't think that any art in the world is safe from wrong interpretations. You can't blame an artist for all possible interpretations that can come out of his work.
This specially goes for irony. Irony has the characteristics that it sometimes flies over the head of "some" people. To insist on socially charged art that can't be interpreted in negative way means to ban irony alltogether, because there'll always be people who will miss the ironic tone and read it literally.
Then there's also issue of audience projecting themselves. Person who is a racist is more likely to spot racial message in Dunham's act simply because he wants people around him to agree with him. This does not mean that Dunham made him a racist or reinforced his racist opinion, and if he does find fodder in Dunham's act, who cares, if he didn't, he's find it elsewhere because he's actively looking for it.
How do you separate stereotypes from actual people? Thats like saying oh I'm not making fun of you personally... just the generalization of your race. whats the difference between THIS
and black face?
Wow, let's go back a bit: a, blackface was practice that allowed entertainment to deal with black race without having to hire black actors, and there's no such intention here. B, blackface stereotype was portraying black race in mostly negative light, as dumb, uneducated thieves inferior to white people; In this act, black person is actually likeable and is obviously superior to the white straight man, who is the butt of his jokes. Daddy D's stereotype is not nearly as malicious as blackface stereotype, and by the way it is not adressed to entire black race, only to one aspect of it's culture.
Daddy D is just too common a stereotype, it's being spread the most by black entertainers, actually, every black performer from Prior to Chris Tucker has a routine similar to this. The stereotype is so common that it's rendered harmless. Part of blackface's context was belief that white people don't know much about blacks, are undereducated and slow, and that you'd be able to convince them that black people really are similar to blackface. Daddy D act exists in time when people are more sophisticated and versed media-wise, and relies on belief that in today's time, noone would be able to take that stereotype seriously. And that also goes for mexican stereotypes and Jose.
A lot of difference, actually.
I think what he's doing is more of social commentary. Whites are in a position where they can't make fun of race anymore without being labeled racist. Straight men can't make fun of gender lifestyles without being considered sexist or homophobe. So if you play the straight man why caricatures do the making fun... its A-OK.
If the character is caricature, his opinion is to be taken as a caricature too.
"Comedy equals tragedy plus time." Woody Allen, I believe.
Sure, some of those sketches are offensive. But take away everything that is potentially offensive from comedy and you take it's edge, you take the ability of comedy to deal with more serious topic, what you'll get is basically Garfield.
I personally believe that any topic can be a subject of comedy, provided that the comedian finds an angle in which it is funny (for some subjects this is harder, though). Actually, most of comedy that isn't risque in any way, I find bland, childish and unintelectual. Some of best comedy in the world is offensive, or was offensive at the time it's made, but did it's part in rendering the topic harmless. Great part of it is in what Rkolter said about comedy helping people deal with otherwise much more difficult subjects.
If we can blame Dunham for something, it's that he doesn't often have particular stance on subjects, doesn't have a point of wiev. Problem with Achmed the Dead Terrorist is not that it's political - it's that it's not political enough. Although I think that the very fact that he's making fun of war on terror and actually giving a human face to a character who is a tettotist, may give a little help in defusing a difficult topic.
You'll recall the story of my friend who got hate-mail for making fun of Titanic (he was actually making fun of the film, but if we follow your logic from first paragraphs, then it's practically the same as making fun of disaster itself). Now if comedy based on tragedy that happened so long time ago still can offend someone (who's btw not related to that tragedy in any way) then I can't think of any possible subject that wouldn't be offensive to someone. I personally think that making artists walk on eggshels for fear of offending someone would be a real tragedy, and if there are subjects that are traditionally avoided (like the ones here), then the best comedy can be made by actually going for it and stepping on an eggshell.
There were some clips I saw that were harmless. There was one about Melvin the Super hero that was cute.
Melvin was in some parts potentially offensive for women, particularly in places where he's using his x-ray vision to see through their clothes.
What I saw of Ahmed the Dead Terrorist was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Kind of boring though I didn't watch the whole segiment, but the way the Puppet moved his eyes and head was funny. There was also the old man Walter, which had some cute moments early in the man's career... of course the late pieces with the character I can't say I found overly humerous, but it was not horrible (even with my stance on the elderly) But unfortunately in my own point of view the Xenophobic pieces-- the ones I felt were sending a message of intolerance and could spread hate-- seemed to out weigh the ones that were funny and cute.
But there is his ventriloquist skills, the wonderful way in which he animated his dolls, his timing and delivery, his improvisational skills, a good deal of fairly safe humor, the fact that the most often subjects of his jokes are his audience and himself, and a lot of other things that can be appreciated, and being that I think that his act does not carry an outward xenophobic/racist message, I believe that good elements of his act outweight parts which are insensitive and crude. I strondly disagree that his act is sending a message of intolerance and hatred - it could, but only to people who are going out of their way to find it.
I disagree with Kolter's assertion that fans of Dunham's work because he affirms their beliefs are in the minority. This could be a problem of location. Based on my personal experience with how people repeat his jokes where I live, I'd have to say that folks who enjoy this sort of comedy on a more literal level than you do are not as uncommon as you seem to think.
I have seen this in some reaction shots in his films. I don't know if this is a prevailing audience or not. If further in his career he molds his act to get closer to his audience, then maybe we'll be able to blame him for this audience's interpretation. After all, he's got a character of muslim terrorist, and an act of American redneck, two polar oposites of political spectrum.
As to the rest, eh, I'm done. This thread has succeeded in making Jeff Dunham completely unfunny to me.
If his act was funny to you before, what does this arguement change about it?