Remember when old white people were the ones telling everybody else to shut up?
The other day, Jerry Seinfeld expressed his view that today’s college students are a bunch of politically correct crybabies who cry like babies. (I’m paraphrasing.) In reaction, a San Diego State student named Anthony Berteaux has decided to prove Seinfeld’s point.
Berteaux has written something called “An Open Letter to Jerry Seinfeld from a ‘Politically Correct’ College Student.” I don’t usually recommend going to HuffPo, because it’s HuffPo, but this is a fascinating document. It belongs in a time capsule. People of the future need to know what happened to us.
I can’t quote the whole thing, but this seems to be Berteaux’s thesis:
It isn’t so much that college students are too politically correct (whatever your definition of that concept is), it’s that comedy in our progressive society today can no longer afford to be crass, or provocative for the sake of being offensive. Sexist humor and racist humor can no longer exist in comedy because these concepts are based on archaic ideals that have perpetrated injustice against minorities in the past.
Provocative humor, such as ones dealing with topics of race and gender politics, can be crass and vulgar, but underlying it must be a context that spurs social dialogue about these respective issues. There needs to be a message, a central truth behind comedy for it to work as humor.
Berteaux then cites Amy Schumer, Louis CK, and George Carlin, just in case Seinfeld has never heard of them. Those comedians are okay, according to Berteaux, because their jokes further the cause of social justice. They don’t offend Anthony Berteaux, or people who think like Anthony Berteaux. It’s very important for Jerry Seinfeld to know this.
Then, a zillion words later, Berteaux closes with this:
College students today are looking to be provoked, to be offended by comedy, and to think about these issues within the context of comedy.
So please, take the first step and come to a college campus with a set that will make us laugh.
Offend the f*** out of college students. Provoke the f*** out of me. We’ll thank you for it later.
Got that, Jerry? Today’s college students are looking for provocative, offensive comedy… as long as nobody can construe it as sexist or racist.
For his part, Seinfeld isn’t backing down from the PC brigade and their Berteauxplaining. Here he is on Late Night with Seth Meyers, comparing notes with the guy underneath David Remnick’s hairpiece:
I’m not going to watch Seth Meyers every night to find out, but please let me know if he ever starts making Bruce Jenner jokes. He’s under no obligation to joke about anything he doesn’t want to, of course, nor is any other comedian. But if he ever does, I’ll be interested in the crowd’s reaction.
And the inevitable “open letter.”
1200 words in that “open letter” to seinfeld on what comedy is supposed to be and the word “funny” only appears once
— andy levy (@andylevy) June 10, 2015