Culture is an extremely vague notion, but overall, it can be understood as the human heritage of all times. It may include art, technologies, or, for instance, social habits, or, for instance, political traditions. In this piece, culture is perceived as a poll of ideas and movements present in the current state of the Western world. However, it is also vital to define our time’s superheroes: considering the COVID-19 situation, one could reasonably say that doctors are the answer to this question. In this context, it appears to be appropriate to include the opinion makers from different from probably a bit surprising sphere: from the realm where people tend to express their opinions a lot – comedy. As at the times of unpredictability and day-to-day tragedy, the ability to laugh can be considered a superpower.
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To begin with, Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedienne who discusses various social issues in her stand-ups: patriarchy, history of art, or, for example, life with autism. So first, her vision of the culture of silence on some topics is very critical. Through her monologues, Gadsby shows how important it is to maintain a culture of consent, telling the story of her rape. She teaches her audience about the culture of tact when speaking to strangers by making jokes about the episodes in her life when people would tell her to stop taking antidepressants. Finally, Gadsby brutally criticizes online shaming and the cancel culture movement. In other words, she is a voice for a vast part of the global population and its views on the modern culture of public dialogue and respect.
What is more, it is fair to consider Joe Rogan as a superhero of our time as well. He is a comedian and an individual who spreads ideas on health and mindfulness via his podcast, that is known to be the most popular in the world. For many times, Rogan, with his guests the problem of culture with his guests: for instance, he criticizes the concept of cultural appropriation as, in his opinion, it prevents people from truly appreciating another culture. Another point he made had to do with the cancel culture movement as well: he finds this manner of communication toxic. Therefore, Rogan discusses the problems of dialogue culture.
Finally, considering how much was said about the perception of cancel culture, it is interesting to analyze the way Louis CK understands this movement. He himself was “canceled” after an ambiguous scandal involving him and his colleagues. In his monologue, Louis CK demonstrates how a public figure can overcome a cancel culture scandal. His reflection over the situation proves his point that dogmatism in any idea is destructive, especially when ambiguous cases take place.
To conclude, understanding the notion of culture is a challenge itself, to say nothing about the search of today’s superheroes – it is unclear whether boldness or contribution to the social transformation should be the criteria. Thus, it is essential to set the frames, and this piece analyzes the comedians’ perception of the currently popular ideas and social movements in the Western world. Firstly, Hannah Gadsby demonstrates how joking about the culture of silence, and the tabooed themes liberate a discussion and a community. Secondly, Joe Rogan criticizes the discussions on the cancel culture movement and the concept of cultural appropriation. Thirdly, it is interesting to observe how Louis CK reflects on his own experience of being a part of the “MeToo” and cancel culture movements.