In this class we have discussed the writing process at great length. We have analyzed the components of an academic essay (intro, rhetorical device, manner in which the points of the essay are organized and developed, etc.); we have discussed that nothing manifests accidentally in an essay. For this assignment, we will be considering humor as a form of communication and examine how it counterbalances the sensibilities of the audience and can quickly run afoul by being considered offensive.
It’s easy for people to say hurtful things and then back away saying they were just kidding, but were they? Is humor a veiled jab? Since humor is still a form of communication, we can consider the implied meaning within the message. A joke from one comedian can be viewed as hate speech if said by another comedian. One person says something and we laugh. Another person repeats the same something and we’re offended – but are we?
We often hear about people being triggered. What does it mean to be triggered? Is it just ploy or are people actually really upset? Have you ever ben actually upset or triggered?
Write a five page paper about what it means to be offended. Is it just a way of rhetorically disagreeing? Is it a matter of addressing humor on the job, in the classroom, or in the media? Or you may write about the concept of being offended. Is being offended simply a ploy that allows the victim to exert power over the unsavory words or deeds of others in the name of political correctness? Is it a matter of disagreeing or actually being offended?
Like the last essay assignment, you have room to explore the issues presented to find a point of entry that truly interests you. As always, you will want to provide definitions that adequately define terms and lay out the foundation for the term in your essay. The key to this essay will be taking your ideas and opinions and transforming them into a successful academic paper with appropriate tone and logical development of your thesis.
Don’t reduce this article to an essay about the first amendment. I am not interested in the idea of freedom of speech as a right or a concept. This essay is not simply to say whether people find things funny or offensive, their first amendment rights allow them the opportunity to say them nonetheless (insert buzzer sound here). This essay is specifically about the bounds of humor or the single, biggest unsubstantiated legal claim of our time: I’m offended.
Think of personal examples. Was there a time you may have found humor in something that was inappropriate? Has there ever been a time when you have been offended? If so, what recourse do you believe you were entitled to. When should the inconsiderate actions of one person result in their loss of employment because another person got their feelings hurt – and think about the ramifications of getting fired (loss of money, can’t support family, tough time getting new job, etc.).
Concentrate on academic tone and appropriateness of material. By this point and time, your thesis statements should have moved from being borderline amazing to being simply amazing; however, still underline your thesis statement.
Avoid a catalogue essay which simply provides examples of humor or instances of people being offended. Charge the essay with your opinion, personal examples, and refined rhetorical skills and superior style.