Monday, June 20, 2016

For a Better America, Don't We Need Better Americans?

                David Cross' sense of humor definitely falls into the dark humor category, his jokes take a cynical and skeptical approach and make light of the problematic nature of developing culture in the US. The politically liberal approach to controversy that Cross takes is hardly uncommon among the most successful comedians we see in Netflix specials and live theater showings. One could even say such an approach becomes a necessity for success in a nation where comedy news shows such as the Daily Show reach huge success and liberal audiences while conservative news shows make no attempt to compete on the comical side of news television.
                Obviously, comedy is meant to be funny, but you might have noticed that most comedians generally try to convince their audiences of one thing or another at some point. Cross' "Make America Great Again" show fires off criticisms of the Trump Campaign and the NRA for almost the entirety of the show, but he rarely gets into the roots of the politics or anything more specific than references to statements from the people he roasts. Perhaps Cross only targets the politically liberal audience for its marketability, but this quote from David Cross suggests otherwise: “At least 25% of America has always been ignorant, racist, xenophobic and backwards, people prone to demagoguery. That’s not a surprise. The surprise is that there’s this loud, brash, arrogant narcissist giving these people a voice and making them feel proud.” The crowd Cross brings in is likely to agree; most of the conservative ideas Cross targets in his comedy hardly need any convincing to see how ridiculous they are.

               Cross' humor focuses on the way culture surrounding irrational ideal and policy has developed. One of Cross' bits draws attention to is the perception of the Pope in the media. Cross' criticisms of the Pope as a "cool" and trendy public figure draws attention to the mechanisms by which powerful organizations side step logic and controversy with a large portion of Americans. Early in the show, Cross reassures his audience, expressing his doubt that Trump will even come close to winning the Presidential election. Clearly, Cross does not need to convince his audience not to vote for Trump. However, putting Trump at the center of his comedic focus raises concerns about the problematic development of a subculture that has become a strong following for Trump. The cynical focus of Cross' brand of comedy does not attempt to push any liberal agenda or pander to the liberal public, but instead works to draw awareness to the worrying condition of American intelligence in today's developing culture.

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