Friday, March 30, 2012

Relax. (or Why Carson Daly's Jokes Didn't Bother Me)

So some of you may be aware of the Jet Blue pilot who had a mental freak-out the other day and was locked out of the cockpit by hi co-pilot and had be to be wrestled and detained by the passengers before eventually being taken off the plane for evaluation.

So the other day talk show host and radio personality Carson Daly made a joke about the incident, saying, "On this particular flight, most of the people were on their way to some sort of security conference in Las it was a bunch of dudes, and well-trained dudes.

"If that were me...with my luck, it would be like, 'This is the flight going to the [gay] pride parade in San Francisco.' 'Uh, we're headed down to Vegas for the floral convention.'"

Daly came under fire by many in the gay community for his insensitive remarks, and even the mother of Mark Bingham, the openly gay man who helped storm the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93, thus foiling the intent of the 9/11 hijackers of that plane, criticized Daly for his remarks.

Once Daly was made aware of the criticism, he immediately apologized on his Twitter account, saying, "This morning on my radio show I attempted to make fun of myself & offended others by mistake. I sincerely apologize." and then later issued the following statement:

"We live in a time where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals find courage every day to overcome adversity, stand up to bullying and find equality. I'm truly saddened that my words today suggested otherwise. I've long been a supporter of Gay and Lesbian rights, and I'm saddened that my comments, however unintentional, offended anyone, specifically members of the LGBT community.

"The fact that I have hurt anyone is devastating. I'm not that guy. I'm proud to be an ally of the LGBT community and will continue to fight with them."

So today I read in the Huffington Post an article asking if the apology is enough; that if celebrities make insensitive remarks about gay people, should they be required to do more than just apologize?

There is even a poll attached to the article, and nearly 63% of the people who participated in the poll say an apology isn't enough.

One commenter said "He is apologizing because he got in trouble not because he is truly sorry. Just another heterosexual person thinking homosexuals aren't regular people."

Another said, "[A]ny time a straight person uses this verbiage it demonstrates their underlying hate and their bigotry towards gay people..."

Several accuse him of being a homophobe.

Sometimes I think people need to step back a little and relax. Look, I may be in the minority here. In the words of another commenter, "Well shoot. This may get me bashed by the more thinner-skin members of The GLBT [Nation], but as a member of The Nation, those jokes made me laugh. I get the need for vigilance against hatefullness [sic] and true homophobia, but every group has stereotypes about them. Those stereotypes can either be used against them to actually harm and debase the group, or they can be the springboard for humor that pokes some fun at them. The jokes were funny.They were actually Daly poking at himself as a loser and how life befalls him."

I think the commenter has a point. I didn't necessarily find the jokes hilarious, but I do see the humor in them, and I agree that the jokes are probably more in self-deprecation against Daly himself than they are an attack on gay people.

As a gay person, if anybody should be offended by jokes that stereotype gay people, it should be me. But I'm not offended, and I think Carson Daly truly means it when he says he meant no ill intent. I take him at his word. If that means I get my gay card taken away, so be it.

Sometimes I think we need to have thicker skins. I understand when you've been attacked your whole life for being gay, jokes like this can rub people the wrong way, but I really think it goes back to true intent? Just as I said in my post about Kirk Cameron, is Carson Daly's intent coming from a place of hate or malice? I don't think it is. Flog me all you want if you disagree, but that's how I feel. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

As another commenter said, "When we lose our ability to laugh at ourselves, we cease to be human."

And another: "We as a society need to lighten up. I mean, comedians make jokes, often at the expense of others. Are we going to require comedians to immediately prostate themselves and apologize for every joke that someone finds offensive? If not, why should the LGBT community get some special exemption from being offended?"

And another: "Maybe it would be safer to ban ALL jokes, just to make sure nobody gets offended?"

And another: "He was trying to be funny. I wish people would lighten up about the politically correct speak they expect from everyone -- including comedians."

My goodness, I’ve heard my share of Mormon jokes and actor jokes, but I didn’t take offense at them simply because they poked fun at a stereotype. Some of them were actually funny.

I think there is a big difference between the jokes Carson Daly made and something like the jokes Tracy Morgan made where he said, "Gays need to quit being p**sies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying," and, when talking about the possibility of his son being gay: "[he] better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I'll pull out a knife and stab that little n**ger to death." Maybe I'm wrong, but to me they come from a different place, although I accept Morgan's apology as well and hope he won't continue to make such jokes.

But humor can be a tricky thing. Boundaries are often crossed, and sometimes humor goes into areas that make us uncomfortable. Ricky Gervais or George Carlin, for example, have often crossed that line, and yet I find many of the line-crossing things they say humorous, and yes, sometimes I am offended.

I guess my bottom line is that Carson Daly's apology is enough for me, although I haven't quite decided if he owed me an apology in the first place. I just don't think his jokes came from an evil place. Misguided? Maybe. Hateful? Nah.

I think the real question we should be asking is not, "Was Carson Daly's apology enough?" but "Is anyone still watching 'Last Call with Carson Daly' and how has it actually remained on the air for so long?"

Anyway, that's how I feel.

1 comment:

Original Mohomie said...

I agree. If everyone goes guns a-blazing into every possible misstep, the whole lot are gonna look stark raving mad in no time. Already do to many. Let it go, folks, and choose your battles more carefully, for goodness' sake.