Sunday, March 16, 2014

Offending Adoptees, a Defence, and a Theory Confirmed - Part 2

In this post I am going to deal more directly with some of the points made on a Korean adoptee's blog ( and finishes with my final word on the subject of comedy and how important it actually is.  This is by request and I realise I am going on about this, so it will stop here.

I dealt with the first couple of points in the last post, in a more general fashion because many people had the same arguments, let's finish-off the rest and carry on where we left off with point 3:

#3  "Just because other "graver" things are mocked, doesn't make them all ok.  It makes them all wrong."

I find this a bit revealing.  So I would venture a guess that almost everyone will have seen at least one of the shows/films I mentioned in my original post and what Shannon is referring to, i.e.:

Family Guy
Only Fools and Horses
Life of Brian
Seasame Street
Hot Fuzz

If you laughed at any or found them funny, you are wrong to have done so, apparently, as they were all an example of the damaging humour you saw with SNL Korea that end up not just offending people, but infringing their rights.  Now you see how I might say that there is a danger in political correctness ruining all our fun.  I will leave my readers to decide, but I for one don't think I am a bad person or wrong for having a laugh at the jokes in these shows/films or having a little giggle at the SNL skit.

Just for fun, how about this clip from The Simpsons, sorry it is in Spanish and a bit poor quality, I guess they delete the English ones from youtube, but many of you might remember this and if you don't, you get the idea:

Why did I never hear Vietnam war veterans getting outraged by this scene?  The Simpsons is also probably one of the most world famous TV shows ever (hence the translation into Spanish here).  The SNL sketch was just satire of a taboo subject, I believe the intention was not to directly mock Korean adoptees, just like this clip did not set out to mock the people who died or suffered from trauma in the Vietnam War.

#4  "You don’t get to decide what situations are worse than the subject of adoption or birth family search. unless you have actually been adopted or embarked on a birth family search. you acknowledge you can’t understand these situations but somehow you still think you can assign which ones are worse and which are not worth getting outraged about?"

I dealt with some of this in part 1, but I think I can say that having a family member brutally murdered (say your mother or a child) is worse than being adopted or searching for family.  What do you think?  Seems pretty obvious.  I think both situations are horrible for sure, but I do think one is worse than the other, yes.  I base this on the simple logic that having a living parent or child is better than having, not just a dead parent or child, but a murdered one.

#5  (Her interpretation of what I wrote) read: adoptees can be offended, but i deem them lame for voicing their anger and hurt over the dominant and degrading discourse about adoptees. i don’t think the way that adoptees have been separated by their families, language, cultural, and identities are “truly damaging.” why? because i said so. and who am i? the random white guy who knows the universal truth of who has the right to get offended (but of course, i’ve already acknowledged multiple times that i don’t really know or care about it). and even though i so generously acknowledge their right to complain, i think they’re stupid. and my opinion (on a subject that i don’t know anything about) is valuable, of course.

My criticism was specifically about that comedy sketch and nothing about the general discourse.  I would never say that being separated from your family, language, culture, and identity isn't damaging or traumatic.  I cannot judge anything other than the reaction to the skit in question, in every other way I cannot comment about their situation.  This was a comedy sketch though, and not fact in the news or a documentary. Comedy has to be edgy and needs the freedom to be so.  It is the price of freedom that sometimes people get offended, they can always switch off the TV.  No one gets to decide what is funny for you.

At this point I would like to point out that I have no time for defending bullying on the street or wisecracks to undeserving vulnerable people.  My defense is solely for comedy that you can choose to watch/listen to or not, not when jokes are forced on you when you are going about your day at work or on the street, something I don't consider to be comedy.

I would also like to point out that me being a 'White guy' should not be relevant to the argument.  Can you imagine what response I'd get if I used the line, "Who is she, just a random Asian chick" to belittle her opinion and score points in argument?  I can, and it wouldn't be pretty.

Political correctness achieved great things, but it's time has passed, to a degree. People are aware of important issues now, most are not racists, for example, like in the days of my grandfather and in need of consciousness-raising.  General opinion is for equality and human rights (rightly so) so it is time to be open and honest about controversial issues and to not restrict freedom of expression.  I admit, perhaps the situation is not quite this way in Korea and perhaps there is a greater role for political correctness in the form of raising consciousness, but comedy plays such a vital role as a tool for freedom of expression.  To me it is vital that comedians are not always looking over their shoulders and are not pressured into trying to please everyone, because they never will be able to achieve it and culture at large would lose something too precious if this was the case.

No one is saying people are calling for censorship, but prevailing public opinion at the moment in Western discourse encourages a natural censorship of many ideas by instilling fear of freedom of expression and opinions that I believe is very damaging and I will argue against this whenever I see it.


  1. Your first round on this topic brought in 30 replies, the one just previous here I see had 6, and now for this one, almost a week later ... zero.

    Gosh, I guess that means you convinced everyone.

    1. That is a bizarre, bitter little comment little comment. Meow!!!

      I didn't even promote this blog on my facebook page, I don't think, didn't post it anywhere, it was more just a response to Burndog's pestering. I had become a little sick of subject and so had everyone.

      Anyway, no one has commented in disagreement with this one, maybe I have convinced everyone!

    2. Oh, almost certainly. Yes, I'm quite sure.