Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Humor in 9/11?

There’s a time and a place for everything. This is a phrase that we all are familiar with. But what determines that time and place? Is there a little fairy that tells you, “Don’t say that!” In a society that’s becoming more and more receptive to freedom of speech, where do we draw the line?

The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner was held on Saturday and one of the featured speakers was comedian Wanda Sykes. Some of Sykes’ comments sparked controversy, especially one concerning 9/11, “I think Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight,” joked Sykes.

There are arguments that Sykes was insensitive to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated, “I don't know how guests get booked…but my guess is there are a lot of topics that are better left for serious reflection, rather than comedy—I think there's no doubt that 9/11 is part of that.”

Many argue that Sykes’ comment, “I hope his [Limbaugh’s] kidneys fail,” was plain cruel. “This woman comes up and says, 'I hope Rush Limbaugh dies,' and everybody giggles,” said Tim Graham, director of media analysis with the Media Research Center. Some complain that liberals get away with more than conservatives and that if a conservative made such comments, there would be a public outcry.

Was Sykes out of line? Are there certain things we just cannot joke about? Does Rush Limbaugh’s typical harsh commentary make it easier to accept Sykes’ lashing out against him?

Renèe N. Gibson
Institutional Advancement Intern

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No comment made about Limbaugh can ever compare to the things he has said about others. Freedom of speech, should stop with him. He has been allowed to say some of the most outlandish, intolerable things - He should be expelled from ever being able to speak anywhere. Oh well "Freedom of Speech" Depending on who's doing the speaking, doesn't it? Wandas comments were funny, depending on who was doing the listening.