In part following on from Hey, feminists who try to reclaim the term “feminazi”? Don’t.
What leads people to diminish horror? I’m thinking about the difference between the tactics here, and how they may be used to diminish harm or diminish humanity. And humour lies in both regions.
There are those times when the word satire is deployed to describe things that are more about justifying or propping up comforts than incisively undermining dominant social forces. There are those moments of dressing up “as other races” or appropriating cultural elements for pleasure – only the pleasure of the appropriators, of course. There’s reclamation of that which is not yours.
I don’t understand how people see a fine line here. Humour is not a tightrope. There is all the feeling in a heart between the kinds of humour that bring down life, and the kinds that sustain it. I see a world of difference between the rubbish above and the kinds of humour used within oppressed groups to lighten hearts and diminish the power, not the significance, of what they are going or have been through.
That’s the heart of it: anti-oppressive humour is in the business of diminishing the power oppression has to harm, and never diminishing the significance of that oppression, nor the significance of the human beings subject to that oppression. It’s the difference between being engaged in community and meaning, and getting your kicks while pretending to care, while you’re really just invested in the squirmy pleasure of supposed transgression. But transgression that props up oppression is no true trangression, because it plays right into the rules of society.
Be really transgressive. Love your fellow humans. Support them in the ways they want to cope with their oppression, don’t co-opt it for kicks.