Feyminism, or One in a Series of Love Letters to T-Fey September 8, 2011Posted by Danjamin S. Meow in : humour, idols , trackback OK, so being an activist and an aspiring comedy writer is a hard line to straddle and I know this will probably make me a terrible activist, but I think it makes me a better comedy writer by seeing which direction Tina Fey takes when she turns Tracy Morgan’s rant about “the gays” into a 30 Rock storyline before judging her decision to do so. While positive portrayal paired with satire are quite powerful in changing attitudes, it remains to be seen how much of the plot will be damage control for the show, and how much will be legitimately progressive.
Fey wrote a beautifully composed, and extremely savvy, response to his apology for the tirade Morgan unleashed on-stage earlier this year. I literally could not have done what she accomplished with that statement, which was to distance herself from those beliefs whilst acknowledging the harm his comments could’ve caused, endorsed his apology and slipped in jokes which spoke well of his usual character AND recognised the 200 staff responsible for 30 Rock’s production, many of whom would be gay or friends with ‘mos.
I looked today to see whether she’d caved to pressure to fire Morgan when her selfish foetus finally allows the show to resume production in January 2012 – and I think I’m glad she’s keeping him on. We all make mistakes and errors in judgement, and Morgan has apologised profusely and sincerely for his. If anyone is to make Tracy Morgan telling some rough jokes into an acerbic or subversive plotline, I’m glad it’s someone with a track record of successfully creating a show that makes you laugh, whilst challenging the gender divide and poking fun at some of the more ridiculous tenets of hardcore radical feminism and modern women, whilst maintaining the surprisingly still radical stance that women should just be treated equally. And you may remember this skit which served a similar purpose?
While his “jokes” were sissyphobic, harmful and insensitive, and sent a clear message that it was OK to be, I get the impression from his later actions that he is not. The best satire is clear in its derision of the beliefs it makes fun of; merely mimicking them is not only un-fucking-funny but seriously harmful. While his statements about stabbing his son should he hypothetically come to Morgan to say he was gay in an effeminate voice were clearly beyond the realms of good taste, let alone beyond funny (I mean, they made Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes blanch at his right to say them…) I guess I’m glad that we still live in a world where there are checks and balances in place. That freedom of speech doesn’t entitle someone to an audience but it grants them the right to say what they want if they can find one with what they have to say. That when someone says something out-and-out harmful, their peers have the right of response, to call them on the bullshit and thereby minimise the harm they can inflict. After all, to survive in this world you have to have a sense of humour and to paraphrase Tracy Morgan, if I can take a dick up my ass… I can take a fucking joke.