Most humor beyond the slap-stick is and was primarily an antidote to the politically correct,
rules, laws and
other oppressive societal norms that govern or governed our lives.
Once there was a balance particularly in the UK towards the middle and end of the last century where folks taking themselves too seriously were likely to reconsider their positions after watching TV series like Yes Minister, Absolutely Fabulous, Blackadder and Drop The Dead Donkey. Such programs both entertained and kept the a lot of the official and semi-official propagandists honest. In the USA shows like Mash, Cheers, South Park and Seinfeld served the same purpose. The last 30 years however has seen the balance change resulting in the death of humor and the rise of official and semi-official institutions like the human rights commissions, university boards and media organizations all committed to dull seriousness.
While Jordan Peterson is worried about words that the Human Rights Commission wants to introduce I am equally concerned for the lack of humor that is killing conversation and joy both in educational establishments and life generally. Below are some examples that are considered inappropriate by current standards:
There was once a joke that 2.30 was Chinese dentist time - tooth hurtie. (racial)
My wife and I have been happy for 20 years but then we met. (Not gender neutral)
The thing about dwarfs and midgets is that they have very little in common. (discriminatory)
I hate Russian Dolls. They're so full of themselves. (racial)
5 in 1 people are Russian nesting dolls. (racial and discriminatory)
Whiteboards are remarkable. (racial)
Blackboards are remarkable. (racial in two ways)
Someone unsure of their commitment to eat dinner at a native american restaurant is a having a reservation reservation reservation. (racial)
My grandfather has the heart of a lion, and a lifetime ban at the zoo. (not gender or age neutral)
I have the body of a 17 year old.......in my trunk (gender aggressive)
"I'm into homosexual necrophelia," Tom said in dead earnest.(homophobic)
I walked into my sisters room and tripped on a bra... It was a booby trap. (anti-feminist)
When life gives you melons, you're dyslexic. (minority discriminatory)
I don't see the humor in blind jokes.(minority discriminatory and much more)
Where does all this lead? Are the coming generations to be cowered by the lack of humor on all sides of the political and social divide? Is that to be our legacy? Bland seriousness! We know that in the past such attitudes led to the rise of some very nasty power regimes.
How easy it would be to make fun of or satarize such concepts as gender neutrality and postmodernism. Just imagine what the scriptwriters of Seinfeld or Absolutely Fabulous could do with such material - not to mention the antics of Donald Trump!
Apart from Ricky Gervais there are no longer any UK political or social comedy shows of any import. In the USA shows on youtube like Jimmy Dore, Scott Adams,Paul Watson and Joe Rogan are attempting bravely to satirize the prevailing political and social discourse. How much they miss George Carlin.
Ask which countries maintain and practice their humor and you will be naming the countries with the greatest stability of law and institutions with little need for a Human Rights Commission. Sadly the reverse is also true.