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Topic: Punch him in the face
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jan 3, 2012 04:03AM)
I have rarely been as “ethically distraught” as with the opening paragraph in the January Genii article “Easy Come.” The implication for “proper behavior” for magicians and citizens in our culture are profound and disturbing.

“Master coin magician David Neighbors has so little regard for the laws of physics, if he ever met Stephen Hawking, he’d probably just punch him in the face.”

One of my first reactions was concern over Dave with whom I have had many private exchanges of ideas over recent years. How insulted he must be over the suggestion that he would be less than polite and humane with a stranger and/or a person with disabilities. Dave says he is unawares that these words have been printed on his behalf.

So, what are some of the ethical problems here?

· support of the idea that violence is a proper response to having “little regard” (later “distain”) over an opinion.
· the idea that physical violence (criminal assault) is appropriate action upon meeting a stranger.
· the concept that an individual physicist is responsible for the laws of physics, and should be held accountable for some personal options about them.
· that physical actions against a paraplegic is appropriate at any time.
· that feigned attitudes of a “pretend character” should translate into actions in the real world.
· that performing magicians should adopt a lower standard of social behavior that a common citizen.
· that practicing the art of magic should lead to a lessening of character and ethical standards.
· that “distain for the laws of physics” is an appropriate theatrical approach to performing, especially if this means distain for a person. Is “distain” ever appropriate as part of a magic presentation?

If you, as a magician, want to pretend to challenge the laws of physics, would it not be rational to applaud the efforts of physicist who provide a foil for your approach?

In case the implications for the ethical misconduct suggested by Genii is not clear, here are some analogous situations for a magician.

1) you have a problem palming an English Penny because it has no edge, so you plan on punching the Queen in the stomach should you ever meet.

2) you purchase a second-hand DVD, but the described tricks do not make you famous, so you plan to shoot Jay Sankey at the next convention.

3) a volunteer spectator does not give you the admiration and applause you deserve, so you slam her and toss her off the stage.

4) your kid does not follow in you footsteps as a magician and says he thinks it is a silly way to interrupt valuable cell-phone time. So, you beat up a strange child in the park or clobber a pregnant woman to show your “regard.”
Message: Posted by: stempleton (Jan 3, 2012 04:57AM)
Obviously this author's statement was not meant to be taken as literal, although I agree it certainly lends itself to possible attack. I'm sure it was just the writer's attempt at emphasizing the performer's ability, and not suggesting Mr. Neighbors' attitudes towards the disabled, standards, etc. That aside, if the performer feels an apology/explanation is warranted it should be forthcoming.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 3, 2012 12:24PM)
It's called hyperbole. It's hard to believe that anyone would take it literally. "Kicking Hawking in the face" is obviously a metaphorical reference to Neighbor's magic apparently defying the laws of physics (which is exactly the impression that magic ought to give).
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 3, 2012 01:07PM)
Woe be to the magician who kills his audience. In the meantime, I'll go back to eating that chicken that's so good it'll make you slap your mama.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jan 3, 2012 03:37PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-03 13:24, mastermindreader wrote:
It's called hyperbole. It's hard to believe that anyone would take it literally. "Kicking Hawking in the face" is obviously a metaphorical reference to Neighbor's magic apparently defying the laws of physics (which is exactly the impression that magic ought to give).
[/quote]

you seem to miss the essential issue (suprising for you). Hyperbole could be achieved in many ways -- with many references and metaphorical examples. One's choice of words infuences how other people think and make decisions. Physical violence against a person is a learned behavior -- supported and trained by the use of such language and the tacit support of such usage. The magic effect can serve as its own metaphore -- giving the desired impression without any reference to violence or disrespect for another person. Why would you condone such behavior?

No - this crude reference has nothing to do with "defying the laws of physics." If the author did not know any better, the Genii editorial staff certainly should. I certainly never said the statement should be taken literally. It is the suggestion that personal assault on a stranger is a justified expression of one's views about physics that is the problem. It is also irrational. On meeting a renouned scientits you should say, "Thanks for making the laws of physics popular to strengthen my magic presentation in defying these laws."

Besides, Stephen Hawkings' life is a demonstration of real magic at work -- a defiance of many laws of life itself. Certanly a poor choice for a metaphore.
Message: Posted by: FrenchDrop (Jan 3, 2012 07:47PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-03 16:37, funsway wrote:
No - this crude reference has nothing to do with "defying the laws of physics." [/quote]
Of course it does. It's not a crude reference -- it's a metaphor. If it had nothing to do with defying the laws of physics, the author wouldn't have named the most famous living physicist. That wasn't a coincidence. If it was about David Neighbors literally having a proclivity for visiting physical violence on helpless people, he'd have simply said "David Neighbors is the kind of man who would punch a quadraplegic in the face."

You've taken a simple joke far too literally. I could understand if you said the joke was in poor taste, but to insist it's not a metaphor, that it's meant literally, and that a reference to Dr. Hawking has nothing to do with physics...that strikes me as going light-years out of your way to be offended.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jan 4, 2012 01:58AM)
I never said it was not a metaphor -- just not a metaphor for the distain of the laws of phsyics. Please explain exactly which law of physics you think it is a metaphor for. It could be a metaphor for dislike of the profession of physicist I guess. Look at the more common phrase, "a slap in the face." That is a metaphor for indignity or disrespect as in, "This paragraph is a 'slap in the face' to all magicians." (opinion) To say, "I'll slap him in the face," or "you should have slapped his face" are not metaphors. These are statements of intent.

The focus of this thread is "ethical considerations." The author made certian ethical considerations in selecting his words, and Genii made ethical considerations in editing. Neither were made with the knowledge or approval of David Neighbors -- or Stephen Hawkings. I personally think these ethical judgements to be wrong. You see it as a "simple joke."

To paraphase the above the author could have said, "Dave Neighbors is the kind of performer who makes a mockery of the laws of phsysics." Why the metaphor attempt at all? Why a joke? Why a reference to violence against a person? Why Hawkings instead of Einstein or Madam Curry or Newton? Choices were made.

Hopefully each magician will consider his/her choice of words in what they say to audiences. For me, any reference to violence is a poor ethical choice.
Message: Posted by: FrenchDrop (Jan 4, 2012 02:22AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 02:58, funsway wrote:
I never said it was not a metaphor -- just not a metaphor for the distain of the laws of phsyics. Please explain exactly which law of physics you think it is a metaphor for.[/quote]
Why would I do that? It's irrelevant. The quote isn't about disdain for any specific law of physics. The quote refers to "the laws of physics." Plural.

In fact, it's not about disdain for anything -- or anyone. Have you never heard the phrase "defies the laws of physics"? It's a figure of speech. Something that appears impossible is said to "defy the laws of physics." It's very much applicable to the works of a talented magician.

The quote is a play on that figure of speech. The implication is that so much of David Neighbors' magic is so inexplicable -- so much of it appears to defy the laws of physics -- that the man himself must have very little regard for the laws of physics. In fact, he has so little regard for the laws of physics, he might just punch a physicist in the mouth if he met one.

That's it. That's all there is to the quote. It's hyperbole. It's meant to be humorous, because a writer's job is to entertain, and many people find humor entertaining.

I find it hard to believe that [b]you[/b] truly believe the writer literally meant that, if David Neighbors met Dr. Hawking, he would literally punch the man in the mouth. On the other hand, I don't see how you could find the quote so upsetting unless you [b]do[/b] believe the writer meant it literally. It's puzzling.

Let me ask you this: If someone says "It's raining cats and dogs," do you believe domesticated animals are literally falling from the sky? ;)
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jan 4, 2012 03:01AM)
I humbly submit that we should not say "it's raining cats and dogs", because obviously if either cats or dogs were to fall from the sky at any great height needed to establish rain, then (a) they would probably not survive the impact, (b) it would create an offensive mess of gore, and (c) the damaged umbrellas would create a spike in new umbrella sales and I sold all my stock in that last year and to see all that money go in somebody else's coffers would make me sad.

There've been some ridiculous things posted on the Café, but this one takes the cake.

Oh, and I humbly submit that we should not say "takes the cake", because (a) that might be a felony depending upon whether or not the person or thing taking said cake is also in ownership of it, and (b) excessive rhymes are annoying.
Message: Posted by: TStone (Jan 4, 2012 05:01AM)
And starting two threads on the same topic?
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=447801&forum=226&10
Message: Posted by: Dr. Climonds (Jan 4, 2012 07:52AM)
Best post ever!!!

I think you're on to something Funsway. I think all metaphors, analogies, similes and comedic exaggerations should be eliminated from our discourse.

Well done sir!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jan 4, 2012 07:59AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 06:01, TStone wrote:
And starting two threads on the same topic?
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=447801&forum=226&10
[/quote]

Yup -- one is restricted to Genii itself and its questionable editorial decision to allow such a reference. The issue here is whether such writing is professional and supportive of the art of magic.

The second adresses the ethical implications of a reference to violence as a solution to anything, including making a point about "laws of physics" by assaulting a physicist.

I am interested in the various views offered here -- including yours. I am a writer and wish to better understand what is considered "acceptable" bounds of illusion and metaphor in presenting a concept. The job of a writer is not always "to entertain," but to provide material in a factual manner that will impact a reader in a predictable manner.

I might introduce dozens of threads on issues related to ethics and magic performance. You are not obligated to respond ulness youo believe your experience adds something to the theme. I am perhaps flawed in today's society by feeling that there is more to life than fooling people with cards or coins. Isn't an unnecessary reference to personal violence also a flaw in our society?
Message: Posted by: Dr. Climonds (Jan 4, 2012 08:30AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 08:59, funsway wrote:
I am a writer and wish to better understand....[/quote]

...the English language?

[quote]Isn't an unnecessary reference to personal violence also a flaw in our society?[/quote]

But what you don't seem to get is that Acer ISN'T actually advocating that Neighbors physically harm Mr. Hawkings. He's saying his material is so good, so ridiculous that it violates the laws of physics. And who is the leading physicist right now? Dr. Hawkings. So Mr. Neighbor's magic is SO GOOD that it's tantamount to punching the leading physicist in the mush.

You say you're a writer, that should be blatantly obvious. If you don't get it, than you can no longer call yourself a writer. From this day forward, you are forbidden.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jan 4, 2012 09:06AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 08:59, funsway wrote:
The job of a writer is not always "to entertain," but to provide material in a factual manner that will impact a reader in a predictable manner.
[/quote]

The only reader that is being impacted in an unpredictable manner here is you, Funsway.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 4, 2012 09:39AM)
Beg to differ.

Of course, the statement in question seems to be hyperbole. But even hyperbole can reflect the underlying moral fabric of a society. To says it is "raining cats and dogs" is intrinsically different than to say it is raining "murdered children".

Where we are today could well be at least partly because of what we tolerated yesterday. Could "Bevis and Butt-head" have ANYTHING to do with the lack of social grace and courtesy we live with now?

It was a poor thing to say. More so given the possibility that it reached print after careful thought and the scrutiny of editors. To me, it is more that just "kidding"- it is a finger pointing to the future.

Funsway is not alone on this one.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Jan 4, 2012 09:55AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 03:22, FrenchDrop wrote:
Let me ask you this: If someone says "It's raining cats and dogs," do you believe domesticated animals are literally falling from the sky? ;)
[/quote]

Of course I do. In fact, this morning I stepped in a poodle.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jan 4, 2012 10:06AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 10:39, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
Funsway is not alone on this one.
[/quote]

Well, that's a shame, because Funsway's attitude here is both sad and offensive. The writer looked at Stephen Hawking and saw a great physicist, and used that view of him as the basis of a joke.

Funsway looks at Stephen Hawking and sees a cripple, and is using that view of him as the basis of phony manufactured outrage.

It's shameful, both to project on the writer an intent and insensitivity that is non-existent, and at the same time reduce a great scientist and a wonderful contributor to humanity to somebody who needs defending from what amounts to an innocuous turn of phrase, all because he's stuck in a wheelchair.

If the joke had been about Isaac Newton instead, then Funsway would have said nothing. That should give him some pause, and if he had any decency, he'd reflect upon the irony of that.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 4, 2012 10:33AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 11:06, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 10:39, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
Funsway is not alone on this one.
[/quote]

Well, that's a shame, because Funsway's attitude here is both sad and offensive. The writer looked at Stephen Hawking and saw a great physicist, and used that view of him as the basis of a joke.

Funsway looks at Stephen Hawking and sees a cripple, and is using that view of him as the basis of phony manufactured outrage.

It's shameful, both to project on the writer an intent and insensitivity that is non-existent, and at the same time reduce a great scientist and a wonderful contributor to humanity to somebody who needs defending from what amounts to an innocuous turn of phrase, all because he's stuck in a wheelchair.

If the joke had been about Isaac Newton instead, then Funsway would have said nothing. That should give him some pause, and if he had any decency, he'd reflect upon the irony of that.
[/quote]

Point well taken, Andrew. I need to go back and re-read all the posts, which I will do. Thanks for pointing out your view.

Meanwhile, I nominate Steve Friedberg for "funniest post of the year". Of course the year is distressingly new...
Message: Posted by: Dr. Climonds (Jan 4, 2012 10:36AM)
[quote]
Meanwhile, I nominate Steve Friedberg for "funniest post of the year".
[/quote]

NOoooooooo! That'll only encourage him!
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Jan 4, 2012 10:46AM)
Anyone can be as sensitive as they want about anything, but I would have had to work toooo hard to think
that David Acer was promoting violence on Stephen Hawking. Promoting David Neighbors coin magic, yes.
Many times over the years at conventions and lectures I've heard the phrase, "punched in the face/stomach"
as a response to the effect a trick had on them-nothing new. I think Andrew Musgrave's posts should make it
to the "sister" thread.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jan 4, 2012 11:54AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 11:46, Tom G wrote:
I think Andrew Musgrave's posts should make it to the "sister" thread.
[/quote]

No need. I threw in my two cents there, and at this point have no desire to add anything more.
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 4, 2012 01:08PM)
My newest effect "Let's Kick A Puppy" has been shelved pending further pondering of this subject.
Message: Posted by: Corbett (Jan 4, 2012 07:18PM)
Was the original post on this thread for real? Am I being punked?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 4, 2012 07:25PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 20:18, Corbett wrote:
Was the original post on this thread for real? Am I being punked?
[/quote]

? you know funsway?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 4, 2012 09:44PM)
I was going to say that Isaac Newton is likely turning over in his grave over Acer's comment about punching a physicist in the face. But then I realized that that it would be a mockery of the dead to suggest that he might actually flip over and face eternity butt upward.

Surely, I said to myself, there must be a better way to make a point than to suggest that a dead man assume a pose that figuratively invites the world to kiss his butt.

You never know who might have been offended.

:eek:
Message: Posted by: motown (Jan 4, 2012 10:35PM)
After reading this thread, I'm a little worried. I was talking sports with a buddy and mentioned that we killed the other team. I sure hope he didn't take me literally :)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 4, 2012 10:43PM)
I slayed my audience last night! (That'll teach 'em.)
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jan 5, 2012 04:56AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 20:25, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 20:18, Corbett wrote:
Was the original post on this thread for real? Am I being punked?
[/quote]

? you know funsway?
[/quote]

Of course it was serious -- my feeling that some serious ethical considerations are involved.

The various posts only justify this view, methinks. Personal attacks, projections, misquotes, etc. can only come from sosme sense of guilt or sensitivity -- I have pushed a "hot button."

I have never asked anyone to agree with my view that any reference to personal violence (against another) as a solution to anything is ethically wrong -- direct, metaphorically, allegorically, humorously or folly. I posted this so that readers could consider their own ethical views with regards to comments involving suggested personal violence.

I don't really care what your conclusion is -- only that you have been "taken there" -- which is what ethical consideration is all about. Pretending to assign any other view, attitude, emotion, etc. to me is silly.

That fact that disability concerns are involved are secondary to the cultural training of accepting personal violence as "normal" -- making the allusion more terrifying, perhaps. Each person is "less than able" in some way -- and thereby afraid/protective of thier personal space and self-image. Methinks the attempts here at humor only shows the unwillingness to address this fear, or make conscious ethical decision about what you do in communication.

I keep thinking that the practice of magic should result in higher character of those involved. I watch and learn. though this thread is about ethics, none of the responders have used that term -- interesting.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jan 5, 2012 05:18AM)
Aahhh... A Hyperbole.

That's how you get away with saying bad stuff you're thinking of doing to people with disabilities?

I see...

How 'bout this then?

That Genii writer has so little regard for common every day manners when writing about people with disabilities, that if he ever met me, he�d probably just get kicked in the balls.

:rotf:
Message: Posted by: tomsk192 (Jan 5, 2012 07:46AM)
Hawking, the physicist, splits the atom.

Funsway, the writer, splits the infinitive.
Message: Posted by: tomsk192 (Jan 5, 2012 10:40AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-05 06:18, Pakar Ilusi wrote:
Aahhh... A Hyperbole.

That's how you get away with saying bad stuff you're thinking of doing to people with disabilities?

I see...

How 'bout this then?

That Genii writer has so little regard for common every day manners when writing about people with disabilities, that if he ever met me, he�d probably just get kicked in the balls.

:rotf:
[/quote]

How about this?

People who view others primarily in terms of their disability, be it physical or cerebral, rather than their humanity, shouldn't be commenting on this at all.

Stephen Hawking is a father, physicist, writer and lecturer. He also has a degenerative disease. I daresay he would understand exactly what was meant by the writer in question, and it might even please him not to be mollycoddled by faux ethics.

Whether or not this metaphor will encourage me, or others, to regard punching people in the face as morally acceptable is a question so utterly bogus that the only appropriate response would be a punch in the face, philosophically speaking.
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 5, 2012 08:11PM)
[quote]
That fact that disability concerns are involved are secondary to the cultural training of accepting personal violence as "normal" -- making the allusion more terrifying, perhaps.
[/quote]
You've ratcheted the "offense" up to terrifying?

For something to be "more terrifying" it would have to have been terrifying in the first place.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 5, 2012 08:39PM)
No pun intended, but look who just walked across my desktop...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/04/stephen-hawking-women-a-mystery_n_1184468.html?ref=science&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl5%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D125190

Lo and behold, bringing to us a comment that may easily be construed as sexist, even if just a joke.

Hmmm??? Or was that a metaphor??
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 5, 2012 09:28PM)
Michael-

Ironic.

I read that article this morning and thought the exact same thing. It's interesting that some of those who commented on the article actually believe that Hawking was being sexist simply because he jokingly said that, to him, women are the greatest mystery. (Just like funsway concluding that a hyperbolic humorous metaphor advocated violence against the disabled.)

Is it only me, or did the OP's rant remind anyone else of Gilda Radner's wonderful character Emily Latella?

"Oh, he didn't mean to punch cripples? Never mind"

Best-

Bob
Message: Posted by: billmarq (Jan 5, 2012 10:10PM)
What truly saddens me, and I am being honest, is that any educated, intelligent person could read the quoted article more than once and still perceive it as a joke against the disabled when the significance of the subject (Dr. Hawking) was actually his status as a symbol of the study of natural "laws."

As was demonstrated in the other thread, Dr. Hawking himself approved of a depiction of himself punching another man in the face in a Simpsons cartoon episode. While this sort of humour might not entertain everyone, it is commonplace within our society and the vast majority of us recognize hyperbole or the use of exaggeration to make a point when we witness it.

This metaphor was no more an encouragement to commiting personal violence than a magician "sawing a woman in half." Do ethics forbid us from performing this type of illusion?
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 5, 2012 10:24PM)
Emily Latella... Ha!! No kidding.

I don't believe that any such allusions promote similar behavior. Comedy is subjective. It is also a sharp contrast to tragedy. I am a magician, I am quite fat, I am getting older, and I am still a man last time I looked, so I think I am available to become the subject of many punchlines. And the cool thing is, I don't mind being the one to deliver some of them in a self-deprecating way that says, "I accept who I am, and can laugh at myself."

Everyone has their own peculiarities, and because of the fact that not one of us is getting out of this world alive, it should stand to reason that each of us accept our obligation to play the fool on occasion. Humor is a coping mechanism that makes tragedy bearable. It keeps our moral compass level. There seems to be no shortage of tragedy, so why should comedy be stifled?

Even for the slight bit of humor intended by the magazine article's author, it was I believe, as Mr. Hawking's quip was as well, a contrast of absurdity, which is the basis for comedy.

This was not an intent to solicit violence against anyone, it was a metaphor to show the polar extremes of two points of comparison. It was simply Spy vs Spy, nothing more.

So... how about a nice Hawaiian Punch??
Message: Posted by: motown (Jan 5, 2012 11:16PM)
In Detroit we prefer a good Faygo Punch, unless we're at a hockey game. Then we prefer a Gordie Howe hat trick...a goal, an assit and an fight.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 5, 2012 11:32PM)
Are you two promoting the idea that it's acceptable to punch Hawaiian faygos? I find that offensive.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 5, 2012 11:37PM)
Good.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 5, 2012 11:48PM)
Our resident Sheldon Cooper needs to lighten up. Bazinga!
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 6, 2012 12:12AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-05 05:56, funsway wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 20:25, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 20:18, Corbett wrote:
Was the original post on this thread for real? Am I being punked?
[/quote]

? you know funsway?
[/quote]

Of course it was serious -- my feeling that some serious ethical considerations are involved.

The various posts only justify this view, methinks. Personal attacks, projections, misquotes, etc. can only come from sosme sense of guilt or sensitivity -- I have pushed a "hot button."

I have never asked anyone to agree with my view that any reference to personal violence (against another) as a solution to anything is ethically wrong -- direct, metaphorically, allegorically, humorously or folly. I posted this so that readers could consider their own ethical views with regards to comments involving suggested personal violence.

I don't really care what your conclusion is -- only that you have been "taken there" -- which is what ethical consideration is all about. Pretending to assign any other view, attitude, emotion, etc. to me is silly.

That fact that disability concerns are involved are secondary to the cultural training of accepting personal violence as "normal" -- making the allusion more terrifying, perhaps. Each person is "less than able" in some way -- and thereby afraid/protective of thier personal space and self-image. Methinks the attempts here at humor only shows the unwillingness to address this fear, or make conscious ethical decision about what you do in communication.

I keep thinking that the practice of magic should result in higher character of those involved. I watch and learn. though this thread is about ethics, none of the responders have used that term -- interesting.
[/quote]

As a magician and a former professional writer (print journalism), I don't find the statement disturbing. As a former standup comic, I personally find it funny, but I can certainly see how others might not. As someone who knows David Neighbors, I'd be extremely surprised if he found the line insulting. And, finally, I don't think there's much of an ethical issue involved, as the statement was clearly intended to be patently absurd.

Do you have similar concerns regarding magicians who still use the sawing a woman in half effect, or swords through the body/boxes? Just curious.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 6, 2012 04:41AM)
Lobo,

Glad to hear that you can see the humor in the statement for its intended absurdity. In fact, that's exactly why it is funny... it's because it is in direct contrast to how we believe people should act.

The thought of punching Stephen Hawking in the face actually transcends the comparative elements that make it a clever metaphor and borders on slapstick. Even while making a point as to the strength of Mr. Neighbors' magic, it's actually funny on different levels. I can see this, as I think a few others also can. Humor is sometimes crude, but is at its core a championing statement as to how people should not act.

Look at the back and forth barrage of crude insults hurled by Jim West (Will Smith) and Dr. Loveless in the movie, "Wild, Wild West". Each found the others Achilles' heel (well, figuratively), and went to work on it.

Everyone has a scab that can be picked at. Look at the Geico "caveman" commercials. The entire premise is humor based in the indignant way that "the caveman" takes offense at certain characterizations and stereotypes. Granted, this campaign far overstayed its welcome, but the original premise was pretty funny.

The violence against others issue is similarly toned. Becoming a good magician requires a certain level of sensitivity toward others. It is highly unlikely that any magician making a metaphorical statement would even consider turning the illustration into reality any more than they would consider actually doing some of the things that magicians often do for the sake of illusion (i.e., sawing a woman in half, locking them in boxes, etc.).

So, with questions being raised such as in this thread, here is a possible Simpsons-like response, loosely based on a humorous dialogue I once had with my step dad after he was confined to a wheelchair following a stroke...

Q: Why would anyone suggest punching Stephen Hawking in the face?

A: Because kicking him in the shins doesn't have the same effect.

Oh, and by the way... I am not seriously suggesting that anyone do either.
Message: Posted by: writeall (Jan 9, 2012 07:26AM)
That joke killed, it absolutely killed. I mean it slayed me; I'm dying with laughter here. My head exploded.

Too much hyperbole?
Let me shift gears. Watch closely as I pull a bacterium out of this empty hat.
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Jan 9, 2012 11:30AM)
This thread is still live? Oh my.
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Jan 10, 2012 11:28AM)
Of course this thread is alive. It rules. This is what this forum is all about.

If we keep at it long enough, one of these days we'll all agree with each other.

Right?
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Jan 10, 2012 09:36PM)
I'm gonna go punch Howdy Doody in the face.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 10, 2012 10:16PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-10 22:36, Steve_Mollett wrote:
I'm gonna go punch Howdy Doody in the face.
[/quote]

He'll have to pull some strings to get out of that.
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Jan 11, 2012 11:15AM)
Howdy Doody? Now that's just being cruel!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 11, 2012 11:35AM)
So, where is the line here? Is it OK to say anything (legal) about anyone as long as most conclude it is a joke? Would it be acceptable if the mag had substituted "your mother" in place of Stephen Hawking?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 11, 2012 12:40PM)
Does Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" cross any lines? After all, what it suggests is far more dreadful than punching someone in the face.
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 11, 2012 12:59PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 12:35, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
So, where is the line here? Is it OK to say anything (legal) about anyone as long as most conclude it is a joke? Would it be acceptable if the mag had substituted "your mother" in place of Stephen Hawking?
[/quote]
Mom's not a physicist so the joke wouldn't have worked.
Message: Posted by: FrenchDrop (Jan 11, 2012 01:13PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 12:35, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
So, where is the line here? Is it OK to say anything (legal) about anyone as long as most conclude it is a joke? Would it be acceptable if the mag had substituted "your mother" in place of Stephen Hawking?
[/quote]
No, it wouldn't be acceptable -- but only because it wouldn't make any sense, since my mother is not a world-renowned physicist.

You ask if it's okay (legal) to say anything about anyone as long as most conclude it's a joke. That's a good question and very appropriate to the discussion. First off, it's legal to say anything about anyone, period (short of making clear, unambiguous threats to do them physical harm, at any rate). That's because, thanks to the First Amendment, there are no laws that make it illegal to say anything you like. The fact that a thing is not illegal, however, doesn't mean you can't be sued for it. And that's where your question becomes very relevant.

When the adult magazine Hustler published a piece, intended to be humorous, that implied that Rev. Jerry Falwell had had sex with his own mother, Falwell sued the magazine's publisher, Larry Flynt. In a famous, landmark legal decision, the court ruled that Flynt had not libeled Falwell, because the piece in question was clearly intended as a joke, and no reasonable person who read it would conclude that Falwell had ever literally had sex with his mother. (No judgment was made regarding whether the piece was actually funny or in good taste; it was enough that the piece was clearly intended as a joke and not as a statement of fact.)

Likewise, no reasonable person who reads the David Acer article in Genii is going to conclude that David Neighbors is the kind of person who would punch a quadriplegic man in the face -- or even that Acer thinks he is. Therefore, the article did no real harm to Neighbors or his reputation.

So. Can you say anything about anyone as long as most conclude it's a joke? Yeah, pretty much.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 11, 2012 01:26PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 14:13, FrenchDrop wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 12:35, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
So, where is the line here? Is it OK to say anything (legal) about anyone as long as most conclude it is a joke? Would it be acceptable if the mag had substituted "your mother" in place of Stephen Hawking?
[/quote]
No, it wouldn't be acceptable -- but only because it wouldn't make any sense, since my mother is not a world-renowned physicist.

You ask if it's okay (legal) to say anything about anyone as long as most conclude it's a joke. That's a good question and very appropriate to the discussion. First off, it's legal to say anything about anyone, period (short of making clear, unambiguous threats to do them physical harm, at any rate). That's because, thanks to the First Amendment, there are no laws that make it illegal to say anything you like. The fact that a thing is not illegal, however, doesn't mean you can't be sued for it. And that's where your question becomes very relevant.

When the adult magazine Hustler published a piece, intended to be humorous, that implied that Rev. Jerry Falwell had had sex with his own mother, Falwell sued the magazine's publisher, Larry Flynt. In a famous, landmark legal decision, the court ruled that Flynt had not libeled Falwell, because the piece in question was clearly intended as a joke, and no reasonable person who read it would conclude that Falwell had ever literally had sex with his mother. (No judgment was made regarding whether the piece was actually funny or in good taste; it was enough that the piece was clearly intended as a joke and not as a statement of fact.)

Likewise, no reasonable person who reads the David Acer article in Genii is going to conclude that David Neighbors is the kind of person who would punch a quadriplegic man in the face -- or even that Acer thinks he is. Therefore, the article did no real harm to Neighbors or his reputation.

So. Can you say anything about anyone as long as most conclude it's a joke? Yeah, pretty much.
[/quote]

I think you've misread MM's question, as suggested by your rewriting the "(legal)" after the "okay" and not after the "anything," as he had written it. The question isn't (as I read his post) whether it's "okay" [i]meaning "legal,"[/i] to say "anything" (the question you addressed very well), but RATHER whether it's "okay" [i]to say anything that is legal.[/i] He doesn't want to know that it's legal; he wants to know whether it might be "not okay" even given that it's legal.

Which may not change your answer.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 11, 2012 01:27PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 13:40, mastermindreader wrote:
Does Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" cross any lines? After all, what it suggests is far more dreadful than punching someone in the face.
[/quote]

Yes, as a vegan, I find AMP much more offensive.
Message: Posted by: FrenchDrop (Jan 11, 2012 02:06PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 14:26, LobowolfXXX wrote:
I think you've misread MM's question, as suggested by your rewriting the "(legal)" after the "okay" and not after the "anything," as he had written it. The question isn't (as I read his post) whether it's "okay" [i]meaning "legal,"[/i] to say "anything" (the question you addressed very well), but RATHER whether it's "okay" [i]to say anything that is legal.[/i] He doesn't want to know that it's legal; he wants to know whether it might be "not okay" even given that it's legal.

Which may not change your answer.
[/quote]
Ah. Good point; you may be right, there. My response would still be similar; I'd point out that there's no such thing as "legal" or "illegal" when it comes to virtually all speech (at least in the country where Genii is published), so the question of whether or not some things are "not okay" even though they're "legal" is kinda moot.

Are some things "not okay" to say even though there's no law against saying anything you want? Yes. There's out-and-out libel or slander, for instance, which is wrong because it's untrue and damaging, and which a civil court can determine is not okay. And then there's hate speech, which is wrong despite being legal; we don't need a court to tell us that.

What David Acer wrote is neither libelous nor hate speech, so it gets us into a grey area where we have to decide what we personally think is "not okay." Are some things not okay to say, even if they're neither hateful nor actionable in a civil court? Sure. But it's up to each of us to decide what falls into that category and what doesn't. I don't think Acer's joke in the Genii article comes anywhere near that category, for reasons I (and several others) have already given.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 11, 2012 07:31PM)
On the airplane yesterday, a guy said "p*ss on you" to another passenger, but I think he was joking, so what is the harm,no? I disagree...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/afghanistan-marines-urinating-video_n_1200324.html
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jan 11, 2012 07:58PM)
Mr. Mystoffelees-

Before we answer the question, I need to get something off my chest.

"When grandma turned 67, she started walking a mile each day. Now she's 93, and we don't know where the hell she is..."

I'd just like to point out that dementia amongst seniors is no laughing matter. There are many instances of seniors leaving the house en route to some important appointment and then forgetting where they were going and what the purpose was. This absent-mindedness, as innocent as it seems, has led to more than a few getting lost, and every now and then they injure themselves in some remote location, can't extricate themselves, and die of exposure.

I'm sure you think I'm not serious. However, I'd like to point you towards this news article. Please read it.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2010/10/04/ottawa-gatineau-couple-missing-found.html

We cannot ever know for sure exactly what happened, if this was an issue related to age or some sort of infirmity that led them to get lost. But that's neither here nor there, because the point is the very real and dangerous scenario of an older person getting lost.

I am GROSSLY offended that you've made a joke at the expense of this phenomenon and decided to put it as your signature. We all await your apology for this thoughtless act on your part. What's more, for you to sit here and lecture the rest of us on what's appropriate humour is the height of hypocrisy. For shame.

I am deadly serious about this.

(not really)
Message: Posted by: tomsk192 (Jan 11, 2012 08:30PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 13:40, mastermindreader wrote:
Does Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" cross any lines? After all, what it suggests is far more dreadful than punching someone in the face.
[/quote]

I'm an 18th Century soon-to-be-born Irish foetus, and frankly, Mr Cassidy, your levity is in poor taste.

And I shan't be purchasing any of Mr Swift's pamphlets either.

PS Can anyone explain when using a metaphor and urinating on dead bodies achieved moral equivalence? I'd love to know, really.
Message: Posted by: writeall (Jan 12, 2012 12:02AM)
The Right or Wrong Section of the Forum.

It seems it is much harder to be right in this thread than clearly and convincingly [i]wrong[/i].
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 12, 2012 12:05AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-12 01:02, writeall wrote:
The Right or Wrong Section of the Forum.

It seems it is much harder to be right in this thread than clearly and convincingly [i]wrong[/i].
[/quote]

That's totally incorrect.
Message: Posted by: FrenchDrop (Jan 12, 2012 12:31AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-11 21:30, tomsk192 wrote:
PS Can anyone explain when using a metaphor and urinating on dead bodies achieved moral equivalence? I'd love to know, really.
[/quote]
Forget it, tomsk, it's Chinatown.

Or the Internet.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 12, 2012 10:27AM)
Andrew:

Please don't wait for an apology, life is too short. I am sorry that my comments sounded like preaching from above, I guess my feelings have affected my ability to be understood.

First, I said nothing about dementia- those were your words. Grandma sends us mail from time to time, and is obviously quite rational and sane. She is also rich, and has always wanted to travel. Frankly, I envy her.

My comments stem from my belief that what we say in the present becomes what we do in the future. My belief comes from my experiences and observations.. I don't expect anyone to agree with me and I did not start this thread. The real sadness for me is that you feel someone should be shamed for speaking their mind.

Jim
Message: Posted by: FrenchDrop (Jan 12, 2012 10:31AM)
Part of that post makes it appear you got Andrew's joke...and the rest of the post makes it appear it went over your head....
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jan 12, 2012 10:33AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-12 11:27, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
First, I said nothing about dementia- those were your words.
[/quote]

But you didn't NOT say anything about dementia either. How insensitive!

[quote]
The real sadness for me is that you feel someone should be shamed for speaking their mind.
[/quote]

Oh please. After all the shaming that Acer's been the target of for making a joke?
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 12, 2012 10:45AM)
I suspect the point has very little to do with shaming you, and very much to do with illustrating how many jokes could potentially be construed as offensive. Would most people find your signature offensive? Certainly not. But I could see how one who is particularly sensitive to a situation like that might. And unless you really think that nobody could, by leaving it in your signature line, you sort of illustrate the general opinion of most on the thread - if you as the joke-teller find it funny, then you'll tell it, and anyone who might be hypersensitive (I use that term descriptively, not pejoratively) to it will just have to deal with it.

With regard to your last paragraph, are you saying that the writer (or any of his readers) is more likely to assault a disabled person now than before that joke saw the light of day? If so, I disagree.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 12, 2012 11:41AM)
French drop-

I did enjoy the humor of the first part of Andrew's post. Then it seemed to turn a bit vitriolic, to me. Perhaps I am getting thin-skinned.

Lobo-

Enjoyed your post. My last para was not meant as specific as it may have sounded. I was trying to relate my experiences with those who look rough, or talk rough, or act rough. I believe people do things they would never ordinarily do because of spoken, or written, or visual influence. I believe a group of non-viiolent people can, as a group, be violent. I believe if we speak kinder, we will be kinder.

To me, the sentence under discussion was a cheap laugh. How long could it possibly have taken to come up with something kinder?

Finally, I rather feel I need to take my comeuppance from Andrew, and will remove my sig!

Jim
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jan 12, 2012 11:49AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-12 12:41, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
Finally, I rather feel I need to take my comeuppance from Andrew, and will remove my sig!
[/quote]

Argh... I was advocating the opposite. Keep the sig, and in turn lighten up about what other people joke about.