I hate minorities. Not the thing itself – heavens no! I love multiculturalism (can you imagine how awful it would be if it was just a bunch of white people running around? Ugh). I hate the idea of minorities. The categorization of a whole group of people as this or that is what I have issues with. As I previously mentioned, I’m not big on labels.
We employ labels in a way that goes right back to when the naked ape bumped and stumbled across the plains of Africa. The idea of a “family” and a “community” goes back to when we were apes that lived and died in groups of fifteen or so, and it’s a trait that’s written deep through our animal nature. We are the family. They are the enemy. Those are leopards. And that’s a rock. and you have boobs. I’ve forgotten what I was saying.
So in a way it’s only natural that we label people and things. The fundaments of logic, the core of reasoning and science and mathematics (and everything that’s good and pure about mankind, incidentally) is marked by labels and categories. All As are Bs and all Bs are Cs, and if all As are Bs then all As are Cs. It’s kind of a cornerstone of thought.
Which makes it all the more problematic where people are concerned, because people are not easily one thing or the other. So your friend’s black – how black is he? Is he very black, or a sort of Barack Obama? Does it even matter? Your other friend’s a Muslim. Is she very devout, quite devout, or slightly devout? Does she wear a Burqa or a Hijab? Your dad is a converted Jew. Is he still Jewish, then? I’m white, but how caucasian am I? Oh who knows.
We keep trying to shoehorn people into labels and communities (speaking of which, and not to deviate too far from the point, but what’s the deal with the word “community” being used all the time? The Black Community. The Gay Community. The Muslim Community. The Disabled Community. The For-Goodness-Sake-Give-It-A-Rest Community.) even though they’re not an easy fit. People are complex, mysterious, and interesting, and resist lazy categorisation as one thing, as belonging somewhere, as being defined by their characteristics or circumstances.
My point, if it can be called that, is that communities and labels are bunk. We are all people, just that : an indivisible mass of folk, all different, all the same. There is only one “community” (ugh) : the human community (double ugh).
I have come to this conclusion because I’m an acerbic, misanthropic person, and part of my reason for existing is to make insulting comments for humorous effect. Naturally I cause offense from time to time. I get called misogynistic a lot because I insult women. But women don’t complain when I insult men, which I do; I will state here, for future reference, that I think men are simple, lazy, bad-smelling creatures who only do things to get laid, and i speak as one with insider knowledge. I will also say that women are finicky, neurotic, and irrational. Hey, I just insulted everybody*. I’m an equal-opportunities insulter. Does it offend you, yeah? Welcome to the party. We’re all here together.
There are some things I can’t joke about: cancer, aids, rape, the holocaust, disabilities. But that’s not because I think these things are off-limits – it’s because they don’t get a laugh and/or the jokes aren’t of a particularly high quality. Nobody really finds cancer or rape funny unless they’re getting a kick out of the “shock value”, the leaning-post of all first-time comedians doing the pub circuit. There are very few people who can craft a joke that’s shocking and funny and clever about something taboo, and those people are geniuses in their field. Frankie Boyle (sometimes). Bill Hicks (sometimes). Jerry Sadowitz (sometimes). And even these guys have off days. Ultimately, I don’t joke about rape and cancer because I’m not funny enough. I don’t have the wit to construct a joke where the word “rape” is part of the punch line. These things are not off-limit, but they are beyond my limits. Sure, yeah, you can make a joke about these things, but it’s hard to make something out of it more than the lazy generic joke of “hurr hurr xs are all ys”. We’re not plumbing the depth of the comic soul here. Time to get off the stage.
But to return to the point I started making at the beginning (I gotta get an editor). There is no minority. There is no community. We are all people. And nothing is off-limit. You can’t say, “goodness, you can’t make fun of Catholics.” Do you know why? Because you’re saying they can’t take it. You’re saying they’re weak and unable to defend themselves. You’re…um…you’re minoritising them. You’re making them apart by stating their differences. You’re discriminating between them and us. See how I turned the tables on you? Man, you must feel like a dick.
I think I’ve made my point. I’m going to be critical and humorous about you, me, and everybody. I’m going to be mean about men and women because I consider them equals. I’m not going to criticize you on the basis of your race, religion, sexuality, disability or nationality. I’m not going to make, “I’m not racist, but…” jokes. If I’m going to be acerbic and cruel about you I’m going to do it on the basis of our common humanity, not our differences. I’m going to treat you like an equal, not a minority. And I hope when you insult me you’ll do the same.
Anyway, here is a boob gif. Hurray for Sesame Street!
* I debated whether to leave this in the article. Am I discriminating between men and women, labeling people just as I’ve made the point that labeling people is futile? It depends whether you believe men and women are different aspects of one species or two separate sub-types of the human condition. Confused, I read this article and spent hours trying to clarify what I meant by “men” and “women”, but then I got bored and watched Archer. Make up your own mind.