Has humor gone too far?


The vulgarity in entertainment

THOUGH the few good TV shows back home in the Philippines are applauded, it is dismaying that these small islands of quality are almost lost in the sea of mediocrity and outright vulgarity, which characterize some current television fare.

The best humor, when it is not simply playful, says something witty about the issue it confronts.

The solution of today’s comedy specialist with a few exceptions, is to make vulgar light of what is—in reality, tragically heavy.

As for those trying to treat a deep wound our society has ever suffered, far from encouraging them, today’s comics deride them.

For current-day comedians, who mostly shout and insult the audience with no intellectual or entertaining ideas, has humor gone too far?

People talk of certain infamous personalities. How do we let these comedians know how far off base they are? How do we get them to cease and desist? This should be subjected to public and professional critical scrutiny by showing some of the worst daily offenses in TV and in some films.

But of the two, television is more socially dangerous. This is not so because people who create certain TV programs are more personally depraved than those who create films.

The degree of offensive materials in motion pictures is often worse.

However, movies do not invade the home. Television is an always “on” fixture, demanding responsibility from those who create and produce entertainment.

What about the public’s demand   for aggressive or violent material? How fair is it to point the questions to the viewers?

While vulgarity has become permanent in almost every comedy show these days,   there was a time was when we laughed at the unfailing gentleman comedian Mang Dolphy, Tolindoy, Cachupoy and those other wonderful comedians because they were funny.

They were comedians with naturally funny faces. However, our burlesque entertainers never stooped to ugly vulgarity, which we hear in every daytime show or musical concert these days and children can watch it.

Here in the US, it is certainly relevant that there were great comic entertainers of the century who did not resort to gutter language heard today in every comedy show in the land. We simply laughed at Chaplin, Bob Hope, Victor Borge, Milton Berle, WC Fields and others.

Even the most depraved viewers or audience never appealed to the comedians that did obscenity and language that would shame a drunken sailor.

Show business is a business like any other, in some respects.

But vulgarity in entertainment, which is now the drift of modern comedy, takes away decency from society toward empty schlock, rudeness and sleaziness.

All of those (myself included) are just regular groups who have some concerns and revulsions on what is now acceptable entertainment.

Some of the laugh lines were not jokes at all. They are vulgar. Those who witness the spectacle, who are far from resisting the present aesthetics and ethical collapse, are not abetting the ugliness.

***

E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol.com

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