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.