Time seems to take the shock out of things. Maybe its the non-stop access to interesting things on the internet and photos and videos of everything taking the rumor and imagination out of things.
GWAR's shows were mythic but now we have a nice wikipedia entry explaining it all. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwar.
Now it's so mainstream that they can't find a plot that offends people anymore, not so much because they toned it down, but because society caught up to the Simpsons.
I doubt that is true. I bet that it is more like the people they offended could not really do much about that offense other than yell about it which just made the sows writers more popular in Hollywood.
Now, if they come up with a plot that offends, they are likely to get de-platformed and lose their ability to find a job in Hollywood.
Now we show the most offensive plots of all but call it "reality TV"
The Simpsons debuted 30 years ago this year and there are plenty of 30 year old comedies that are extremely objectionable by current standards. It isn't always fair to criticize that comedy since it is important to always judge art in the context in which it was originally created. However, The Simpsons is still running and therefore needs to continue to justify these decisions today and into the future. No one was suggesting that the character should be edited out of past shows or anything, but the show shouldn't be immune to present criticisms about shows created in the present just because the mistake originated 30 years ago.
I strongly disagree. I very much remember how my dad (an immigrant to the US) felt about it when he saw the Simpsons in the 90s; I remember how obvious the racism was when he pointed it out. Just because you were oblivious to how it made people feel doesn't mean it didn't make people feel horrible.
This historical relativism crap is really just a cheap copout for not taking the time to ask: "is what I'm doing going to hurt or demean someone?" If the answer is yes, dont do it, it doesn't matter how many people are accepting of it at the time. If the answer is "I don't know", ask the person it might hurt.
The reality is, people largely didn't care how others were impacted by the things they did and giving them a lazy and thoughtless copout is nearly just as demeaning as the original actions.
(Think about it, all those guys getting negatively swept up in the metoo movement claiming that they didn't know any better with regard to sexual harassment sounds absolutely absurd; putting "historical context" on racist things is equally as absurd)
(People who are not minorities usually dont come close to understanding how racism feels; I look and sound "white" and it was always troubling to see how my dad who doesn't look or sound "white" was treated relative to me; it's painful to see all the microaggressions that my friends deal with on a daily basis (in a place as liberal as socal) and to see comments like this trying to invalidate the damage done because of copouts like historical context is incredibly disheartening because it makes me realize how far away we are from the point where we no longer treat people like second class citizens because of their grouping)
Which is unfortunate because bigots often take strength from projecting an air of dignity and respectability in an attempt to legitimize themselves in the public square. It's why modern white supremacy and anti-semitism have been reframed as science and philosophy, merely a skeptical form of racial and political realism questioning the mainstream narratives of progressivism and the Enlightment.
Using humor to debase those ideologies and humiliate those who hold them could be a powerful weapon, robbing them of their potency.
Of course, not all such humor has noble intent. The difference between Mel Brooks using racial and religious stereotypes for comic effect and, say, /pol/ doing the same is who the target is, and whether the joke is "punching up" or "punching down." Punching up is funny, punching down isn't. For all of the crass and racial jokes he would make, he, as a white man, still refused to make a joke out of lynching.
That's not at all true; except perhaps for extremely historically-grounded drama (which Django is not), drama tends to get less license than comedy.
> but Mel Brooks' style of humor is no longer socially acceptable
Mel Brooks style of humor was never “socially acceptable”, it’s was always transgressive. It's probably not as commercially acceptable in the mainstream film industry as it once was, but that's more because transgressive video entertainment has other outlets and the mainstream film industry is a more mature and more narrowly-focussed industry than it once was.
> We can take issues like race and anti-semitism deadly seriously, but we aren't allowed to laugh about them anymore.
My experience of currently successful (both live and distributed on major video platforms) stand up and other comedy suggests that, yes, we are very much still allowed to laugh at those things. The particular currently successful forms may not look exactly like Blazing Saddles, but while the latter isn't stale, it's also very firmly grounded in the time it was produced (which seems generally true of Brooks’ comedies).
It's not completely fair to say they toned it down (although they absolutely did to some extent), it's more that they fell into a establishment rut and repeated themselves endlessly.
You could effortlessly write a humanistic/heartwarming, funny script every week that would deeply offend the powerful. The network that airs the Simpsons wouldn't air them, though. That's not what they're paying for.
I finally got around to watching Lord of the Rings. I was struck by how the costume design was nearly identical to GWAR’s. It made me wonder if or even how a self proclaimed cartoonist could have influenced someone on the other side of the world.
Its sad that he died; I’m losing all my old friends, Adam, Mike, John, my older brother. Jim Carroll was funny to us way back when. Not so funny now.
This is one of the most interesting and intriguing "opening" I've read in a long while.
I still want to turn Serial Mom
into a Netflix series
I need a Waters-only fortune module.
Would you mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and following the rules when posting here? Note that they include: "Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."
To put it another way, shock is someone who jumps when you scare them; intolerance is someone standing with their arms crossed who's already made up their mind.
I heard an interview of him where he explained that statement. He said it referred to before the rise of the modern nation-state, where you could walk somewhere and suddenly it was another country, and it just sort of worked as a continuum of places. The idea of passport control came out of World War I. Your boundary-heavy "sensible" version is a very small part of human history.
I am aware of what people say will happen if we erode those boundaries. It's overblown. I recognize this is a minority position. But maybe let go of your fear.
Anyway. I don't think you're intolerant for believing this. But when there is subtext that immigrants are subhuman, or one nation or subgroup is preferential, which seems to go around a lot these days, then yes, I have a problem.
The first of these statements is mindless hate supported by a fringe of a voiceless fringe.
The second is a common belief within nearly every human group ever. It is evolutionarily inevitable given how groups outcompete atomized individuals. It is justified within a reciprocal altruism framework. It is evident in everyday behavior where people from San Francisco to Milwaukee form social groups with others like them.
At that point and many similar ones I would stop calling it "I prefer my own nation to exist and it differentiates itself in ways I appreciate" and more of a "hangup".
When did I say that? I said he said in an interview that ideas of another time inspired that particular line. Not that he lived to see such a time or that 1971 was such a time. I wasn't too shocked at your previous reply even if I disagree, but now you are attributing insane comments to me. Slow down. Relax.
When you mention that 'passport control came out of World War I'. This is incredibly disingenuous. The politics of pre-WWI Europe can not be compared to the modern day. You are talking about an era where ideas that would be considered radically nationalist were completely normal. You may have been able to cross borders, but your ability to integrate economically into a new country may have been limited. Not to mention the fact that the entire economic landscape of this point in history is not comparable to our current era. There was no globalism, global trade and global industry would have been extremely minimal compared to today.
As somewhat of a hyper-lefty progressive (and someone whose wife is an immigrant), I don't actually have any issue with someone merely supporting some level of immigration control, and I don't think I'm particularly weird about that; it's not an inherently unreasonable position to want to keep bad people out of the country. People start getting upset when the rhetoric gets borderline racist, or when they refuse to talk about anything else except some shortsighted, dogwhistling rhetoric that they read off of Breitbart the previous morning.
Example problems: Many racists use anti-immigrant rhetoric, so an anti-racist might take all anti-immigrant rhetoric to be dogwhistling for racism. Many man haters use feminist rhetoric, so an MRA might take all feminist rhetoric to be dogwhistling for man haters.
Both sides then starts seeing the other side as rabid haters sending subtle signals of hate all over the place. As a result both sides gets attacked for having valid opinions and can thus justly declare the other side irrational. Do you see how that can easily make things escalate out of control?
Do you think such escalations leads to more tolerance? I don't. The only way to get a tolerant society is to accept a bit of intolerance, similar to how we have to accept that there are sometimes insect parts in flour, while those insect parts are bad the measures we would need to implement to get them out would force us to throw away tons of perfectly fine goods.
Sometimes it is, but not always.
Widespread acceptability of formerly fringe-lifestyles and a rejection of socially-conservative values ranging from widespread availability of high-grade marijuana to drag-queens showing off their twerking capabilities at public libraries. It's in, it signals you're not "part of the system."
In a way it reminds me of the path that "shock rock" has taken, from Alice Cooper to Marilyn Manson and beyond. There was a good show on the history, I believe "Metal Evolution," which featured an interview with Till Lindemann of Rammstein who remarked, when asked about what he could do to shock at this point, "Suicide on stage." Which I think is a fair statement from a band famous for simulated sodomy on-stage. Perhaps they should try the real thing for sport.
There is some extreme metal that will never be mainstream or widely listened to but that mainly comes down to the amount of work that's required to listen to it (Deathspell Omega) or the purely misanthropic production quality (Darkthrone's Panzerfaust, an album I adore). This sort of music is "shocking" in the sense that most people assume bands make music because they actually want people to listen to it.
(I love the Neubauten, by the way - but I will admit to preferring their output from Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T. onwards - where at least fragments of melody can be heard... The debut Kollaps is... Well, challenging.)
Hard work and devotion to a cause is, in itself, respectable. Having the courage to stick with something even when it was unpopular is respectable.
Heck even Terry A. Davis, late creator of TempleOS, gets some grudging respect on here.
There was only one, unique place in history for his genre and he took it.
He didn't become respectable. His mental illness became mainstream.
I wish I knew how this happened. Maybe the mechanism was a combination of internet porn and the destruction of real life social spaces. Maybe it's something else. But people should perhaps spend some small fraction of the time that they spend freaking out about the weather, and use it to freak out just a little about how we are going to survive the next 50 years as a civilization with a functioning social and political system.
However, I will say that reading the classics in their original Greek and Latin has added a lot of sanity to my life, and I would recommend it to anyone. Your own conception of Greek and Roman sexuality is highly romanticized, and would fall away with a course of general reading.
This is not to say that I would hold the ancients forward as examples of "sane" societies. Generally the opposite, in fact. General societal sanity is a post-Enlightenment condition.
What do you think I'm romanticising? Can you mention a specific point? Also I didn't mention the actual aspects of Greek sexuality - just how Romans viewed Greeks. If you want to discuss Greek sexuality I'm happy to. You wanna discuss Phaedrus or The Republic, or the Sacred Band, or something else? Would be lovely to revisit postgrad.
Waters is indeed a very sane post-Enlightenment thinker, steeped in and derived from the sanity of the civilisation he is a product of.
Sure. How much Plato have you read in Greek? What do you think, for example, he means by ὑπηρετεῖν when applied to χαρισάμενα παιδικά?
> Waters is indeed...steeped in and derived from...
This makes me suspect what the answer to "How much Plato have you read in Greek?" was, and exactly how much that postgrad degree was worth.
I'm glad everything he represents is now accepted. I remember watching Pink Flamingos in the early 2000s when I was discovering cinematography and understanding the industry and it's evolution. It has shock value, but it was deeper than that. When I saw his film, it reminded me a little of Warhol in a way.
I'm actually glad the acceptance is so quick, just 13 years ago the United States federal government arrested someone for 'obscenity-related charges' in film production, though admittedly it was considerably more disturbing footage than what John Walters ever produced. *
I truly wonder what's the next set of values to go through this process. By definition we can't know what they are and speculation has a terrible history of accuracy, especially if it is what we know as the truth (as defined by the majority, i.e. the establishment)
Also wonder if as technology accelerates the rate of social change, so will the typically generational cycle speeds of acceptance of new ideas.
* Danilo Croce https://www.justice.gov/archive/opa/pr/2007/June/07_crm_410....
-Mahatma Gandhi (Maybe?)
Tons of people have attributed it to him though.
Personally, if I don't have the book and page of a quote, I don't source it.
One still cannot do a funny movie/work of art about the Holocaust, as far as I can tell that’s one of the most taboo things to work with as an artist. Benigni’s movie was not a 100% comedy and maybe that’s why it eventually worked the way it did, but as far as I know Jerry Lewis’s movie was much more on the comedy side of things.
And if the King of Comedy himself cannot pull this off I think nobody else can. I also find it interesting that nobody else seems to be even trying nowadays, it has become too much of a taboo.
Then I watched Female Trouble which is a completely insane movie and thought, this person is out of his mind, I can’t believe they’re letting him go on the Today Show and that he’s assimilated into square culture, does anyone know what he’s all about? The question of whether his films would “shock” seems besides the point, they feel totally electric whether or not the culture has supposedly acclimated itself to certain things.
The problem is that too far outside the average conception of normality it becomes difficult to judge if your Radical Thing is net-positive or net-negative for society. Gay rights? Yes. Legal incest? No.
Some people can tell the difference. Most can't. And that's why "you can't shock anyone anymore" is exactly as true as it's always been. It's just that radical art 40 years ago and radical art in 2019 look different. Too different for John Waters to tell.
That's still not acceptable in 2019 last I checked. Hell, nearly nothing in Pink Flamingos wouldn't be shocking today, though much of it (like rape or animal cruelty) hasn't aged well.
But you've seen two girls one cup. You've seen people dress in fursuits and fuck, and been fisted, and sounded, and it may not be attractive to you but it's not shocking. That's what he's talking about.
I'm guessing that a minority of people on HN haven't seen video of someone dying in a gruesome manner. Perhaps it was ISIS sawing off someone's head. Perhaps it was someone falling from the twin towers. Perhaps it was somebody murdering a homeless man for fun.
It's not shocking. It's despicable, but it's not shocking.
Nazism and white supremacy and racism and misogyny isn't shocking - it's dismaying, but it's not shocking. It may be socially acceptable, but it's not shocking. If anything, it's hackneyed.
What is this radical art? Maybe 4chan shocked people a decade ago, but goatse/gap3 pranks preceded that, at least in my world.
Honest question: Why not yes to both? I’m fine with it.
Meaning - WWII's "the greatest generation" was a relatively conservative generation, and it's gone more liberal in terms of social movements ever since. Are we going to keep seeing this movement toward liberalism, or are we going to see children rebel against their parents and move toward more traditional and conservative values?
Liberalism, fundamentally, is about freedom (negative rights), both economic and social. The freedom to offend, to abhor, to hate, to disagree, to keep one's own money, to control one's own body, to decide himself how he should live his own life. This means legal drugs of all kinds, this means legal hate speech, legal death threats, legal sodomy, legal polygamy, legal bestiality, etc.
We are so far away from this world of liberalism and freedom that it makes me sad every time I think about it. In fact, I feel like in the past few decades we are getting farther away still.
What would you suggest companies like Cloudflare do exactly? There have been talks of 8chan being accessory to literal terrorism; do you think that they really want to be hosting that stuff? Isn't it part of Cloudflare's free speech to say "we don't want to be party to this"? Isn't it a very liberal position to say "all these private companies can do business with people that they want to"?
Now, I'm actually totally willing to entertain the discussion that these corporations are so big that they should be either broken up and/or treated as utilities, but that seems to fight against classical liberalism.
Also, in the United States, it wasn't that long ago that marijuana possession was an enforceable crime in all fifty states, which is slowly going away. I wouldn't bring this up, except you mentioned drugs being illegal as some sort of evidence that we're becoming less liberal, despite the fact that cannabis legalization has been happening and expanding.
Not exactly sure how legal bestiality fits into liberalism; if you view the animal as a thinking entity, wouldn't having sex with something unable to provide consent be a violation of liberal principles?
And, like you said, classical liberalism is about freedom, for both corporations and individuals. I certainly don't think that censorship on these platforms should be illegal or anything. I'm just disappointed, I guess. I feel like the world is moving in the wrong direction. I always thought the internet was going to empower everyone and subvert centralized power structures. In some regards, it did and it still does. But these subversive upstarts are now the new centralized power structures and it seems like the next wave of subversion and decentralized has not happened yet and may not ever happen.
It troubles me that the very same people arguing about a women's right to choose are slamming facebook and youtube and twitter for allowing people to express their opinions. It troubles me that these same people don't recognize the rights to buy and use drugs or consume pornography. The political axis of most people seem two multi-dimensional: They like some freedoms and want to take away others. But the way I see it there is only one dimension: oppression and tyranny on one end and free speech and individualism on the other. Social and economic freedoms go hand and hand, which is something both conservatives and liberals both seem to be confused about.
Health care isn't a human right, housing isn't a human right, forcing businesses to transact with you if they don't want to isn't a human right. The only true human right is to live one's own life free from tyranny and oppression. To do anything that doesn't impinge upon another human's right to do the same.
> Not exactly sure how legal bestiality fits into liberalism; if you view the animal as a thinking entity, wouldn't having sex with something unable to provide consent be a violation of liberal principles?
Well, I mean, then maybe we should outlaw animals having sex with each other? It's not like they give consent to each other.
It actually looks like 8chan is perfectly fine hosting this stuff, which is the problem. I doubt Cloudflare would have as much of an issue if 8chan were proactive in taking down a lot of its more terroristic content.
> It troubles me that the very same people arguing about a women's right to choose are slamming facebook and youtube and twitter for allowing people to express their opinions.
Is anyone actually getting mad at Youtube/Facebook for simply allowing dissenting opinions? Most people get upset with the really awful stuff, like, genuine harassment or race-baiting; I honestly don't know anyone that is calling for the removal of people just because they hold an opinion against the norm.
People called for Alex Jones to be banned (which eventually happened) because he was actively and purposefully doing things to hurt people. He was spreading a lot of misinformation, which led to someone with a gun trying to shoot up a pizza shop, and to people directly targeting the victims' parents of the Sandy Hook massacre because he, for years, spread the idea that it was a hoax; he also would constantly accuse anyone he disagreed with of being a pedophile.
Everyone has a line for free speech; the easy example is "yelling fire in the crowded theater", but if I hired a hitman, it's not like it would be a valid court defense for me to say "Well it's my free speech to tell someone to kill someone". Saying that there should be no limits on free speech is intellectually dishonest, and we gain nothing from it. If certain people are causing measurable and unambiguous harm from the things that they're saying, then, to me, that's where we draw the line at giving them a platform.
> Well, I mean, then maybe we should outlaw animals having sex with each other? It's not like they give consent to each other.
I don't believe that you're saying this in good faith. If two thirteen-year-olds have sex with each other, society doesn't typically have too much of an outrage because they're just two kids who don't know better. If a forty-five-year-old has sex with a thirteen-year-old then we get upset, because a grown-ass adult should know better.
This is just you and your libertarian sentimentalism.
Other people don't see it that way, though, and in fact there are a few well-mounted defences from philosophers which define that "other" view. You're arguing for a roughly liberal (perhaps liberal egalitarian) point of view, but we shouldn't act as though this is the only way to conceive a healthy view of liberty and freedom. Liberalism isn't the only game in town any more, and it hasn't been the only game in town (speaking in terms of relief from the oppression of kings and barons) since the 19th century. It is a valid view that is commonly held and argued for, sure, but it is by no means the only coherent view of liberty there is.
>don't recognize the rights to buy and use drugs or consume pornography
Perhaps it's surprising, but there are actually liberal views against pornography, i.e they claim to proceed from core liberal tenets to positions in which pornography would not be permissible - see Rae Langton's work for example. In fact, this caused so much of a storm that liberal philosophers took it upon themselves to try and argue against it precisely because they viewed it as a threat to some traditional liberal opinions. It may further surprise you that some philosophers have argued that J.S. Mill himself(!) would have been against pornography.
>Social and economic freedoms go hand and hand, which is something both conservatives and liberals both seem to be confused about.
This is actually the core of certain 19th c. German critiques of liberalism.
>The only true human right is to live one's own life free from tyranny and oppression.
This is simply one opinion amongst many. Negative liberties, like traditional liberalism, isn't the only game in town any more, even in liberal circles. The idea that freedom is necessarily freedom from is not supported by some major liberal theorists (look at Rawls, or perhaps Habermas). The distinction itself, Eric Nelson argues, may not even be relevant any more.
Perhaps you didn't mean to say that this is what liberty is, but rather you were only stating your own conception of liberty, so my apologies if so - but to say that the only other possible conception of liberty is fundamentally wrong, or worse, that it is "totalitarian" is pretty shabby (as far as political philosophy goes).
>Well, I mean, then maybe we should outlaw animals having sex with each other? It's not like they give consent to each other.
This misses the point which is that most philosophers don't consider animals to be moral agents. Liberal philosophers themselves are divided on the "rights" of animals, however some prominent theorists argue that the property relations of animals should be viewed as custodial/trustee ones.
Even on free speech contemporary liberal philosophers are divided, but vanishingly few argue for no restrictions at all on speech, even considering obvious caveats (like threats of immediate violence). The trouble is finding a justification within a given free speech principle for certain restrictions to be permitted. It is a question of why we value free speech at all. For example, one justification for the primacy of freedom of speech is that freedom of speech aids discerning truth from falsehood, however how would this apply to deliberate lies? Surely most upholders of free speech would allow at least some lies to be uttered. So then comes the next free speech justification: that speech is inseparable from thought, but that also has its critics etc. (see Susan Brison on this point)
What I'm trying to say is this: maybe critics of liberalism have a point, and maybe we ought to rationally investigate why we hold certain liberal ideals rather than, in J.S. Mill's words, cling to them as dead dogma. It doesn't take an anti-porn conservative or a pro-universal healthcare progressive to do that.
I disagree with your interpretations about Rawls or Mills, but I very much appreciate your views.
Liberalism does not mean the unrestrained freedom to do as you please.
(I don’t even know where to start responding tbh.)(you’re fundamentally misunderstanding even society as a concept)
We've already had it, remember Family Ties, the Yuppies, that "hippie" had become a dirty word, the "stick it to the Man" type a caricature, and so on?
Those were still within the framework of Baby Boomers though. Now we'll see even more backlash. It's a tide, not a line...
Maybe he just started hanging out around people with lower standards?
Getting gross stuff shown in a modern art museum is hardly an accomplishment. Manzoni did his "canned poop" thing in 1961. You're gonna have to try a lot harder than clips from porn movies. Pink Flamingos is still gross. You could do that again, if you wanted.
Though these days you're competing for attention from everybody on YouTube. You were an attention whore when it took some real effort to get it distributed. Now everybody can do it. They'll censor Pink Flamingos to put it on TV, but I'd be shocked if there weren't a dozen imitators on YouTube. (No, I'm not going to look.)
Congrats, you lowered the bar on bad taste, and I guess that's enough of an accomplishment to make you a commencement speaker. But once people figured out your formula, the bar lowered pretty far pretty fast, and rather than get ahead of it you let 'em make Hairspray.
He should have sold out, though. He's old and he did a bunch of wonderful things. If he had waited any longer, the cash-out would have passed him by. Should everyone work forever?
Attending exhibitions of his work as the guest of honor, giving talks at film festivals, doing lecture/stand-up tours every once and a while for a bit of travel and excitement; that's the life and a well-deserved victory lap.
He didn't have to sell out, but it wasn't like he was a activist or something, he was a grotesque Douglas Sirk having a little fun.
I'm glad he got rich. That's cool. Bawlmer kid makes good. But the article feels like flaunting it, without providing either insight or introspection.