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Can we normalise terrorism? The Chris Rock SNL Terror standup debacle


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Chris Rock did an SNL stand up piece on the Boston Bombings, 9/11, as well as the Freedom Towers and people are losing their minds. Chris Rock is well known for his outlandish comedy and the argument that many are presenting is, "Where do we draw the line between funny and just bad taste?"

Personally I think that if you can laugh about any of his other stuff, you can laugh about any of his material in the video below. Are these jokes going to be raw for anyone who suffered as part of the bombings - yes.  Humour however is our best natural defense mechanism against pain and it is the job of comedians to dole out this "medicine of the soul" by making irreverent the items that are treated with reverence. Why?

Because humour normalises.

Generally speaking, if you hang out with a group of people who have shared a painful experience, you will hear jokes that will make your toes curl, because it's the only coping strategy they have. Any circumstance that is painful, horrifying and terrifying becomes less so through humour. The only question is, how much time must pass before you start to normalise something through humour?

The first time I saw Chris Rock was just after a friend came out of jail (long story). Suffice to say he didn't come out the same person that went in.  My friend was a broken soul and his experience didn't just change him, his entire support network carried the scars of the experience around with them.

The day of his release we picked him up and a bunch of us went back to my place to attempt to just sit down and do something normal.  What could be more normal than a few beers and some standup?  So one of the lads threw on Chris Rock to try and distract us from the conversation that none of us knew how to have, which was 'How are you?'

Everything seemed to go fine until Chris started doing a piece on prison... The room went from 'HA!' to awkward silence instantly.  After a moment, we turned the DVD off and all quietly walked away without a word.

The day you get out, is too soon, the emotion is too raw.  I understand why some people are upset about Chris' SNL standup piece.

It's been a long time since the Boston Bombings, it's been a hell of a long time since 9/11 and for the people who suffered through those tragedies there may never be enough time that passes to make light of it.  But for everyone else, for a world that is forever changed since 'Terrorism' became part of our everyday lives - we need to normalise because no one can live in fear, or pain, forever.

It's been over a decade since my friend's release from prison and he still hasn't watched Chris' standup piece, but I have.
I can't carry the ghost of what happenened reverently anymore.
I need to normalise.

How long before we're allowed to normalise the Boston Bombings and 9/11?


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