Comedy May Be the Ultimate Pusher of Boundaries

A reflection on art history reveals an undeniable connection between artistic expression and activism. The Wiki definition of activism is as follows: "...consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic or environmental change, or stasis". Mirroring personal observations of society through art can be cathartic for the creator; but those who feel compelled to share it with others are engaging in activism whether they know it or not.

Can you think of a more influential form of artistic expression than through comedy? It is a very calculated art form; yet what is it about comedy that makes it feral and essentially unbound to social conventions?

Through the Freethought Film Festival Foundation, I have the privilege of screening the east coast debut of That's Not Funny on Wednesday, August 6th at the Plaza Cinema 12 in downtown Orlando. The film is director, Mike Celestino's first feature documentary that asks,"How are boundaries defined in comedy?  Is there a line, and if so, when is it okay to cross it?  Is it in our nature to make fun of things that make us uncomfortable, topics that might otherwise be considered dire or taboo?" The film examines these questions, events and more via historical analysis, archival footage and filmmaker commentary.

It has always been amazing to me that a satirical piece--whether visual or prose--that is perceived by some to be in "poor taste" can have the power to conjure outrage; and that such outrage is often followed by a demand of censorship...I genuinely cannot think of a worse "C" word.

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Comment by Sandra Monday on July 15, 2014 at 9:07am

Very very well put. In my old band we did political punk rock which was purposely "over the top", whether it was exploring the cult of Scientology or questioning the official narrative of 9-11. What was funny on the surface was deep at its roots unsettled one as eerily disquieting. You're laughing on the outside, but on some level you're ill at ease. Juice News on RT takes it to a whole new level you never thought possible. It's the world news done as a rap video performance.

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