Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bad show

Today Elli came home with the name of a comedian she wanted to find on Youtube.  Her friend had told her tales of the hilariousness of said comedian and Elli needed to see it for herself.  We found it easily enough, but once we found it I was sorely disappointed.

The show was a comedian doing a ventriloquist puppet act.  The basis of the act is that the puppet is a dead terrorist, which is definitely a red flag right up front, but the show took all kinds of bad turns after that.  The 'comedy' was pretty much a list of racist and sexist jokes.  Jokes about asians and how they can't drive, jokes about how women are just trying to steal men's money, jokes about anorexia.  The sort of comedy that is bland and offensive in equal measure, getting the worst of both worlds.  I hated it.

It was disappointing, but the tricky thing was figuring out what to tell Elli?  After the show finished Elli turned to me and asked if I liked it, and then I really had to figure out how much to rain on her parade.  She obviously wanted me to love it, and was pinning a lot on me saying I enjoyed it.  She wanted me to validate her friends recommendation and her enjoyment, but all I wanted to do was go on a rant about how terrible that comedian was and how he ought to learn how destructive his brand of humour really is.

I want to help her see the problems in the things she is going to be exposed to, but I also don't want her to feel like my default response to "Come look at this Daddy!" is going to be "That sucks."  I compromised by giving a few reasons for why I didn't like the jokes, but she didn't seem to be interested in hearing that, so I don't know that anything got across.

While in the moment I find these conundrums frustrating they do end up being really interesting in the long run.  Trying to come up with solutions for tricky optimization problems is fun, and complicated situations like this come up a lot as a parent.


  1. And...what is the solution? Don't leave us hanging.

  2. No solution. I just sighed, accepted that she is going to see lots of terrible things in her life, and hoped that my other influence can counteract it. Yay parenting!

  3. She'll get there. It took me many years as an adult to figure out that "Men are like this, Women are like this" is the lowest form of comedy. Now I cringe every time I hear it.