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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

Where's your sense of humor?

Thursday debate: Should AU groups have brought Margaret Cho to campus?

AU absolutely should have brought comedian Margaret Cho to campus.

Of course some people were offended by her vulgar language and crude humor. Those people have a right to not listen to her, to leave, even to be upset and complain. But people also have a right to hear her. The First Amendment not only applies to Cho's right to do her act, but also for the public's right to hear it.

Cho pushed the boundaries of conventional decency and gave too much information because that's her act! She even made a point of explaining why. Minorities have so long gone unheard that they now need to be as vocal as possible. I doubt that if Cho was not as boisterous as she is, she would have 10 percent of the listeners and fans she does now. Cho gets people's attention by being loud and pissing them off and then saying what she really wants to say.

And she does have a lot of good things to say. She is very vocal about gay rights, especially the right to same-sex marriages. Her criticism of Bush's defense of the sanctity of marriage is funny, but it also makes you think. How sacred was the marriage between Dennis Rodman and Carmen Elektra, after all?

I don't really think that Cho believes that no marriage can be sacred; I do think she wants people to explore the actual meaning of marriage. It's supposed to be about love and commitment. So why, if two people, regardless of gender, truly experience this, should we ever deny them the right to be unified? There are many same-sex couples that would treat the union with more respect and "sanctity" than many of the heterosexual couples who take the institution for granted.

Cho has been criticized as being offensive to Catholics, but I do not think it is her intention to offend Catholics personally. Her joke about the Pope Saturday night was more directed toward the religious institution that vehemently opposes gay rights.

On Thursday, July 31, the Vatican released a 12-page document calling on Roman Catholic law makers to block legislation granting legal rights to homosexual unions in Europe and North America and urging Catholics to campaign against same-sex unions. The document also says "allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such [homosexual] unions would actually mean doing violence to these children."

Of course Cho is angry with the Catholic Church. She could have expressed her anger in a much more mature and focused way, but keep in mind that she is a comedian. She's out to get laughs. Yes, she includes her political opinions in her act as well, but we can't expect everything she says to be a well-argued political statement. Her business is humor, not politics.

Cho could be more articulate. But even though her message sometimes gets jumbled, it's always there. She shares many of the same opinions as a number of students at AU and many people were happy with the choice of comedian, both for her views and her style of humor.

Some students may have been happier with a more subdued comedian. Maybe some would prefer a comedian whose whole act is centered on politics. But as the Student Confederation said in its statement released Oct. 20, "We are dedicated to providing diverse programming that allows all students to have interest in our events. Margaret Cho's performance and Homecoming Week in general allowed the Student Confederation to attract many students who are traditionally left out of SC programming."

We've had the "Saturday Night Live" alumni and we have political speakers all the time through Kennedy Political Union. I really believe that Cho's appearance appealed to students who aren't usually catered to. Those students have a right to enjoy SC programming just as much as everyone else.

If Cho's act offended or disgusted you, you had every right to walk away. But remember, there is a balance to be found between good taste and good fun, between igniting controversy and evoking change. There is even a balance between faith and humor. As Kevin Smith says in the introduction to "Dogma," "even God has a sense of humor"

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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