Today’s YouTube Find

Sarah Silverman tells the brutal truth, as always.

Speaking of which, “political incorrectness” was a massive success of reclaiming a term that Democrats often neglect. The original meaning of the term was used by punk artists who were the 1980s’ equivalent of Sarah Silverman, or by leftists who criticized other leftists’ overemphasis on language. Then in 1991 Dinesh D’Souza started using the term to refer to overt racism and sexism; whereas Lakoff’s theory retrodicts that it would’ve only activated the original subversive frame and backfired, in fact it caught on quickly and popularized the notion that crass hate speech was good and the science backing racial and gender equality was just politics.

6 Responses to Today’s YouTube Find

  1. davidbdale says:

    Did I jump into the middle of an ongoing conversation? You made a reference to Lakoff’s theory as if you might have mentioned it earlier. Shall I go do my own research on Lakoff, or did I miss an earlier post?

    By the way, is it just me, or is there something extremely sexy about Sarah Silverman’s cute-plus-brainy-plus-ridiculously-uninhibited approach to comedy?

  2. Alon Levy says:

    The part about Lakoff comes from a post of mine about framing responding to a post of Lindsay’s. The bone of contention is an argument fielded by Lakoff and supported by some pro-framing bloggers, most notably Jeffrey Feldman, that reversing frames only activates them. The classic example is “big government”: whenever Democrats say Republicans are the party of big government, they supposedly remind people of the Republican notion that Democrats support big government, causing the people to only think the Democrats are a big-government party.

  3. Katie Kish says:

    “By the way, is it just me, or is there something extremely sexy about Sarah Silverman’s cute-plus-brainy-plus-ridiculously-uninhibited approach to comedy?”

    If by extremely sexy you mean extremely annoying, then sure.
    There was a point when I thought she was really funny/smart/attractive … now she just annoys the hell out of me. The only thing worse than having to put up with real drunk people is having to watch people pretend to be drunk. Her humor has gotten sort of redundant and unoriginal. Plus the word “doody” is one of my least liked words.

  4. I think “politically correct” has always been an ironic pejorative.

    What kinds of ideas/behavior did the 1980s punks describe as politically (in)correct?

    Comics like Sarah Silverman and Sasha Baron-Cohen are politically incorrect because they flirt with our taboos against racist and sexist behavior. That’s more or less what D’Souza had in mind. There are differences of opinion about what’s flat-out sexist or racist, as opposed to merely politically incorrect, but I think D’Souza’s supporters would say that Rush Limbaugh is just being politically incorrect when he jokes about feminazis, etc.

  5. davidbdale says:

    I have the same problem, Katie. As soon as the act gets stale, extremely sexy flips on a dime to extremely annoying. I guess I haven’t seen enough of her material yet to have flipped that switch. We’re still dating.

  6. whig says:

    The issue of political correctness is precisely the same as that of irony, in that most people don’t get it or understand when it’s happening, like when it rains on your wedding day or a free ride when you';re already late.

    The point I’m making without intentional irony is that the listener who does not hear or understand the irony takes the metaphor literally and propunds it to others without a trace of disbelief. There are people who will take Sasha Baron Cohen that way.

    How horrible to think that there will be people singing “Throw the Jew down the well so my people can be free” with fervor and belief.

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