Moral Bankruptcy

Friday, February 05, 2016

I was at this comedy show earlier in the evening. This is happening for the second time, at the same venue in the duration of my course. A significant number of these performers are my research subjects, and given they're obnoxious as fuck when it comes to responding to emails for non-commercial academic research (aka chutiyapa, their words), it all comes down to seeing them here or not at all.

The funny co-incidence between both the trips have been the sheer discomfort while hearing the set and the volatile journey back from the venue. Both of them concern the same reasons for the discomfort, on your way back. To be able to constantly question, for the duration of the research, how morally corrupt everyone seated around is and whether your grandfather is going to make it.

It's infact a larger, ethical debate and a philosophical question to be raised if humour can be born out of what's not a morally corrupt situation, but also the fact that the ones who enjoy or participate in it, are liable to be judged guilty as morally bankrupt people. In the audience, amongst you are the internet trolls, the virtual extroverts who in reality are nothing more an insignicant occupier of the space purchased through their significant other or daddy's credit card. I know, I fall in the latter category and given I'm participating in the activity, I know better than to just accuse and leave it at that. I'm equally morally corrupt/bankrupt. In so far as my active participation includes laughing at points which are not funny, because of one or more reasons:

1) The photographer is pointing the camera right at your face. I'd be lying if I were to say, it didn't happen at least a dozen times tonight. You can't be sitting with a resting bitch face when they do that. Even with caged teeth, I know I can't.

2) The comic is looking in your direction. This is debatebale for seating and pricing, but let's just say I've been fairly lucky and gotten seats in spots which had a decent amount of attention thrown in, in lieu of my money.

In both these situations, you're forced to chuckle if not naturally incited to laugh at the moment. That forceful chuckle becomes problematic as you're debating and editing the appropriateness of the content. While, I do come from extremely liberal chain of thought in my ideology, I'm also bound by the conditioning of a family that taught me better than that to laugh at jokes made on alzehmiers. Call it snobbery, but given the after effects of reading every thing possible in sight, I'm aware of what treatment calls upon epilepsy attack and by the virtue of growing up with my grandparents, I have a sizeable amount of love and respect for people who are over 65. Now, communalism, racism, caste and other pet related causes are all done to detah by arm chair activists on the social media and I understand, how they're often not "relateable" in situations as these, where you're inviting masses at large to come watch you speak against monetary sum. Not everyone will understand your left liberal joke and burst out laughing, but everyone will laugh at what's an everyday situation. Everyday situations in comedy writing for these performers can range anywhere between using cuss words like salt in boiled eggs, only garnishing to establishing the flavour, to set the tone to the ideas being communicated. They can include anecodtes from childhood (only if you've established yourself as a headlining act or are significantly pretty), or self deprecating humour (usually very well received). These are broadly speaking, the heads of what the conversation from the comic's end will be like. What's grossly disturbing in this part is, the moral bankruptcy act is shoved somewhere in the middle. It will be thrown in like a slap in your face.

You've paid to hear about how old people, your grandfather, someone else's grandfather is liable to celebrate his birthday, each day after waking up because he's over 75. Each day of his survival post his 75th birthday is like a birthday. The reason for his existence and why he looks forward to life is because good food occupies his thinking space. It's that quest to look forward to the next meal and investing time in taking over food as a project is what keeps the old people alive. Their orgasm in life comes from spending time preparing/cooking/eating food which keeps most of them going. In essence, there is a larger reality to this statement. However, at the insensitivity at which subjects like these are handled, only to induce a chuckle or moving laughter is what should bother you. That insensitivity becomes a pass to collect and inspire a chain of reactions and actions outside of the auditorium where those, who did not carry the sight and sound in their cell-phone were possessed by the words of these comis. In process of talking about a feminists are insane and how their mother is so sexist, comes out words so shrill, that you've got to be stripped of all morality to be able to conceive it out loud, much less share it with a gathering such as the ones that comes in for these shows. Perhaps, my palette to handle humour which isn't exactly parody centric on existing popular culture is not mature enough, however, I'd like my humour as well as thought process to be able to tick on my list of musts. Insults don't always translate into jokes and that is something, which bothers the whole of me to be sitting there and attempting to laugh while being horrified at the idea of things being uttered out loud. The comfort comes in the form of supporting act by the audience, usually very unidirectional and focussed to applaud at the every punchline of the sentence uttered by any artist.

As far as going home is concerned, I've also been hit by severely sick grandfather on my way back. The kind which will leave you in shock, the same sort. You left someone absolutely fine and healthy, only to return two hours later and see him being delirious. In a state, where you know it's a matter of sliding to either side of the thin line he's resting on. You mentally curse the jokes you were forced to laugh at. You wonder if everyone around you indulged in the same form of embracing moral bankruptcy because having arrived in a certain sense would mean dropping all the pretensions of moral conscience and ethics in your head. If this is what induces laughter, works as a legitimate profession then call me old-fashioned but even someone like me can't bear with it. Let's bring back the sexist business professionals. They're easier to digest than these cunts who've no control over their tongue. 

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