Handler tweeted “2 Chinese guys were arrested in Berlin for making nazi salutes,” Handler tweeted Sunday. “Wouldn’t it be nice 2 have laws here for people who think racism is funny?”
My first reaction was that it would be nice if we had one for people who think it is okay to use the number 2 rather than the word “to.” (Yes, even on Twitter)
My second response was that it was not clear if this was a joke. If so, Handler has not said it was meant as a joke. If so, it was not very funny. If it were not a joke, Handler is an example of how some are increasingly embracing the criminalization and regulation of speech.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. Ironically, we have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).
What is also strange is that race is a common feature among comedians who often push the envelope of social commentary. Bill Burr is a popular example. Comedians have the most to lose from the trend of the criminalization of speech in the West. Indeed, Mitchell and Webb made Nazis a common source of comedy, including a question censoring, a loving comedian might ask “are we the baddies”: