“Merely to express outrage is to miss the point…”

Finally an account of the Brand/Ross affair I can kind of buy into (must be your age – ed). John Waters echoes some of the points I made on Brassneck last week (Slugger thread here) He can’t have read it though, since I belong beyond the moral Pale in the blogosphere:

Brand belongs to a generation for which comedy is almost literally everything, and the laughter factor the only reliable test. The kinds of energies which previous youth generations expressed through music, art or protest have in his generation compressed into a single essence: a dissociated blend of ridicule and humour that lacks roots in any form of empathy.

This comedy obsession arose in large part because this generation had its capacity for idealism usurped and frustrated by the couple of generations which preceded it, which refuse to countenance that anyone could be more “progressive” or engaged than themselves. Because those who emerged from the 1960s have been running everything, and refusing to provide space for challenging alternative perspectives, irony and humour became, for those born after 1970 or so, the sole cultural outlets for their natural transformative energies.

Here’s where he goes on to skate around the thin patch in the ice:

The tone of detached, vacuous mockery that pervades the internet arises from this cultural stakelessness, now rendered artful by comedians like Russell Brand. On his television show a couple of years back, Ross asked Brand about the hurt humour can inflict: “I just see it as entertainment and try to divorce myself from moral obligation,” he replied.

Last line to John on those cynical baby boomers positioned nicely above this particular food chain:

But the really interesting issue concerns the sabotage of their natural idealism by older generations now vacillating between managed outrage and indulgent giggling. They, still in control, have the last laugh.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty