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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Political correctness and our sense of humour

Recently, I noticed a lot of negative criticism regarding the new Netflix show Insatiable (IMDb). The sheer volume of negativity made me curious. Hence, I watched the 1st episode of this hilarious Netflix satire. Insatiable is about black, over-the-top, and politically incorrect humour. Its political incorrectness made me wonder about the impact on our sense of humour.

I’m not alone in this observation. John Cleese: “But the thing about political correctness is that it starts as a good idea and then gets taken ad absurdum. And one of the reasons it gets taken ad absurdum is that a lot of the politically correct people have no sense of humor” (Vulture). Others have expressed similar views: Guardian, IndyStar, Telegraph.

The reason why politically correct people have no sense of humour is rooted in my concept of the 7 Belief systems, and in particular the 7th belief: the Truth. It’s also rooted in the DABDA model as developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1929-2004). DABDA stands for the 5 stages of processing grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Essentially, political correctness is about denial of the truth in our society. Politically correct people believe that the truth should be elevated to their perception of the Truth. Quite often, their beliefs only apply to others and not to themselves; see recent NYT article. Hence, my concept of the arrogant Left versus the ignorant Right (my 2017 blog).

Political correctness in our contemporary society so far appears to follow 4 of the 5 steps of the Kübler-Ross model. Apart from stage 1, denial, our polarizing society indicates stage 2: anger. Negative reviews (eg, Insatiable) could be an example of stage 3: bargaining. The general lack of humour in politically correct people might be a sign of stage 4: (collective) depression.

In 2017, I wrote a blog entitled: You can only hurt someone with the truth. In 2018, I wrote my blog Every joke contains some truth and some mockingHence, it’s possible to be hurt by a joke. Such hurting would normally be short-lived. Stage 4 of the Kübler-Ross model, depression, would explain the long-term nature of feeling hurt through (extreme) political correctness.

Some important words from American-Lithuanian philosopher Thomas P. Kasulis:

  • “Humor is no joke. It plays an important role in our understanding of ourselves, our society, and our world at large. It cools our tempers and warms our hearts. It breaks down barriers and builds community. It stimulates the imagination and provokes new insight.” 
  • “Historically, however, humor has seldom been a topic of much philosophical interest. In fact, when Western philosophers have explored it, they have generally been more supercilious than appreciative. Emphasizing the vulgar, they have overlooked how it suggests our universal humanity.” 

“There’s no life without humour. It can make the wonderful moments of life truly glorious, and it can make tragic moments bearable.” Quote by Rufus Wainwright, American-Canadian singer

Courtroom scene from the 1992 movie A Few Good Men – IMDb, video, Wiki

Defense attorney Tom Cruise: “I want the truth!” 

Jack Nicholson a.k.a. Colonel Jessup: “You can’t handle the truth!”

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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