Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing, Mark Twain said. To tell you the truth I doubt he would even think about it if he had watched Georgian comedy shows. And we have many of this kind of shows in our TV space. Let’s not speak about low quality humor, as taste is a matter of dispute, but I believe the matter of humanity and elementary principles of ethics should not be disputed. Usually in postmodern era the skepticism to any issue is a norm also, although I will never agree that making fun of a person because of his physical, or mental defects, or just non-dominant features can be acceptable.
On December 3 the whole world marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Georgian TVs also marked the given day, but specifically. For example, on December 4, during one of Rustavi 2 comedy shows the artists “harmlessly” joked about persons with eye disabilities and jokingly called them “blinds guys.” I cannot understand what can be funny in a fact that someone has eye, movement, or hearing disabilities. Should we have the same kind of “humane” attitude to those with cerebral palsy, with amputated hands or lags and should we “throw” the discriminatory phrases at them? Should it be funny that someone cannot move as fast you, or cannot hear as well as you? Haven’t the show editors and script-writers ever heard about ethics in general and specifically about journalistic ethics?
Even more interesting and even less funny fact took place at the same channel several weeks before. In one of the humoristic shows they made a Nigerian emigrant to sing, who, with great keenness “joked” about his skin colour and called himself a Chuklaki Kakhetian just back from the sun, or Vake District resident Lukacho just back from a solarium. They justified it with a fact that the coloured person sang about his race difference himself. To tell you the truth I really doubt that Nigerian artist wrote that song himself. The mankind has long ago agreed on the danger from racism and inhumanity (as well as about the necessity for inclusive society), but Georgian TV-humour “fathers” probably have not heard about it all yet.
Even worse was the fact that in both cases the studio audience “clapped the skin off their palm” every time they mentioned “blind guys” and “suntanned Lukacho.”
As one of the well known American humorist and columnist Erma Bombeck said – there will be no humankind, when there will be no humor; although, looking at our humorists you start to think: if such humor will last long – there will be no more humankind.
Such humor is more evil, then joke. We hear discriminatory phrases from our TV every day; we read them in printed and online media also every day. That’s why it is not surprising that majority of our society think sexual minorities are medically sick, that colored people are representatives of a lower race than white people; they avoid contacts with the people with disabilities, make fun of those with hearing disabilities, call mentally ill people in common conversations “debiles” (but not in a medical understanding, but in an insulting context.”
Just recently at one of the Georgian universities, at the meeting with the Dean one of the attending students requested a separate buffet for Indian students; according to him they have a specific smell and Georgian students cannot eat together with them. Do you think such a stereotypical mentality can also be a result of hatred and ignorance shown from the TV-screens by comedians?