Comedy should be constructive not destructive



Maysoon Dakhiel [email protected]

Published — Monday 3 December 2012

Last update 3 December 2012 6:40 am

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WHO AMONG US hasn’t received a clip on “YouTube” or a series of jokes via social media mocking others? Sometimes it makes us fairly disgusted and we wish if we could throw it back in the face of the sender, perhaps they would wake up and stop. When have we become a nation that finds amusement in the lapses and the opinions of others? When did we become a nation that hunts for mistakes and pounce on this person or that just because they are in the line of fire, while others are hiding behind masks? But we leave those alone perhaps because we do not see them or because we do not dare approach them. Instead we fixate on those who are in the public arena, and perhaps made mistakes, and so begin the ridicule and slander. We always look for a scapegoat and forget that we are also the goats!
Today the main concern for many people has become so-called Stand-up-comedy clips, which have a market and those who market them. I am not against criticism, but I have and still do strongly advocate constructive criticism.
Some wait for an incident or a slip of the tongue from an official and then proceed to have fun ridiculing. Attacking the target without being given an opportunity to respond is cowardice not cleverness.
I do not deny the creativity of some people in the media in bringing attention to some issues, but talent without limits, ethics and principles becomes destructive not constructive.
However, those who may initially want reform, with the passage of time fall into the trap of what draws more attention and scores more hits, the gap slowly becomes bigger between the initial objectives and the vision of the writer, and moves to focus only on what makes people laugh.
We forget that the basis of highlighting an issue is to find solutions for improvement or for change. We find that they’re those who randomly begin to weave stories to invest with audiences, and a competition begins as to who brings in more viewers. Thus it has become an open market; no principles, no values, no red lines!
Do they offer to resolve any of the issues that are dealt with? Are viewers encouraged to think and participate in finding solutions? Of course not, because if they were to do that, it would plunge their industry into a recession, according to their belief, of course, because the significance of their work is based on sarcasm, irony and laughter, nothing more.
Abroad, we find that many celebrities in stand up comedy, focus on the manipulation of words or misunderstandings, or when the program is politicized to hit at a political candidate or known social figure, indirectly, because they are afraid of being sued. And what was the outcome of programs of this kind such as Saturday Night Live? Participants became famous comedic actors, so they just moved from one type of stage to another, no more.
Because their influence on change has never been through their comedic programs, but through their participation in social events, charity or supporting a cause, or by participating in political events to support this or that candidate.
Now let us return to our heroes, where they are from social events? Where are they from the support of social issues, where they are from awareness campaigns to promote human development to their communities? No, but they do not mind appearing in an ad for a particular company or product.
No doubt it is an art that has its innovators, and also its followers and admirers, but why not take advantage of that in constructive criticism and advocate change instead of just apathy? We are in a critical time of our nation’s history, we need our complete mental and intellectual strength to be able to differentiate between good and bad, between those who want reform and those who want to spread intolerance and ignorance.
To differentiate between who want to build and those who want destruction. Also, to differentiate between those who want to attack a particular person, only because he is seen as a competitor and a threat on the road to the acquisition of a public following.
Have I given this matter more scrutiny and analysis than it deserves? Perhaps, and I hope to be proven wrong.

— Courtesy of Al Watan Newspaper

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