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The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.
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The context of my thought(and question) comes from reading an blog about the current US presidential race and how Donald trump is "a golden egg laying goose for comedians".
The rise in comedians in general and the entertainment businesses with both comedies and other genres seems to be getting bigger and bigger and with much influence in society. Perhaps it is just the evolution of technology that advances this further than before. However, is it the seeming lack of respect for "leaders/politicians"(possibly because they do not deserve/earn it) that leads to people to turn to more entertainments to "relax", enjoy themselves and "blow off some steam" at the end of the day/week.
Are these entertainments required to be at peace with the worrisome world and its apparently out of touch leaders? I absolutely love comedy, especially that of the George Carlin ilk but feel that it is almost poisonous (although sometimes inspiring) to my well being once I am left to ponder these "jokes" which are usually just an astute and yet abstractly illustrative observation of the reality that we are living. Not only are comedians/actors not taken as seriously outside of their media(and some should not be) by any of our leaders but they appear to perhaps cause angst amongst people especially with sensitive topics. Yes there have been entertainers who have become leaders themselves (Schwartzenegger & Ronald Ragan off the top of my head) but they are not taken as seriously by other people when compared with the life of apparent community servitude of a career politician.
The idea that an industry of entertainment can be made from mocking the seemingly ridiculousness of public policy to me is concerning albeit enjoyable depending on your views.
Perhaps I have a pessimistic view on things but i think we can agree that all is not well as ignorance and suffering is everywhere, in every culture.
Is entertainment and comedy just a sign of a prosperous culture or a looking glass into the problems within society?
Is it a good thing to have? Or one that provides insight into how stuffed we are?
Looking forward to a discussion
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First, let me admit that I am a person that loves comedy. Man, I love comedy movies. The first Friday starring Ice Cube, and the first Hangover, and the movie Ted all are some of my favorite movies.
The Seinfeld TV sitcoms I loved something dearly too.
Comedy for me--or comedy movies--are often an escape.
But then there is a dilemma I perceive. Is comedy ethical or moral at all? I mean... would a moral guru like Jesus be engaged in comedy or sitting around laughing at comedy shows?
Or is it not a question of is comedy ethical or moral but rather what kinds of comedy are?
Is comedy making fun of the Jewishness of a Jew, or homeless persons lowly state, or a politicians decision to raise taxes in the face of a deficit, ethical or moral?
A lot of American stage comedy seems to me to make fun of someone at some point within the total stage skits.
I think entertainment itself can help or facilitate the distraction a people in a nation have from serious problems on going in the nation or empire that need to be resolved.
The comedy of George Carlin was based a lot on his personal disdain, personal prejudices, and to an extent his personal hatreds. Like a Christian or later a Nazi might laugh at comedy skits making fun of Jews' religious Jewishness I think Carlin's comedy appealed to those that had the symmetrical prejudice and disdain for all religious people. That in itself can facilitate hatreds in a society, encourage divisions within a nation, and potentially lead to murders.
We've just recently had a young guy in Oregon who admitted disdain for organized religion, identifying as a "spiritual person," murder people in a class room if they admitted in a martyrs confession to being Christian. The only thing the President of the United States could focus on is to gun control, to amend the US Constitution to become more conservative on the freedom to purchase semi-auto hand guns or rifles to protect one's family, home, and farm. Probably because the President is a fan of George Carlin's comedy attacks on Christians. Possibly.
That said... President's are like other men and women and the current President is no different in that they can simultaneously have strong points and weaknesses, or virtues and vices, or good points and less so good points. And I'd like to think Obama is overall a good man. I'm really pleased with him having gone to a Federal Prison (first President to do so) to speak with people incarcerated in prison. I'm also pleased he's given so many Presidential pardons. And the comedy meant to express disdain for him coming from his critiques is mostly unwarranted to me.
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