License to edge


John Enright, Reporter

I love to swear, I love suggestive humor and I enjoy playful, well-put-together insults in satire. The more my mom seems to hate it, the more enticing I find it. That’s what edgy basically is, right? It’s that part of our culture that just wants to rebel. The urge to place the thumb upon the nose and wiggle our fingers when someone tells us that “we can’t say that”. It’s not always appropriate. There is always an occasion where a certain level of reserve is necessary and we all must set a moral compass for ourselves. Edginess is an allowance we spare for ourselves when we want the freedom to not take ourselves or others so seriously. But, in this ever-changing world, how does one know when and how to extend that license to be edgy?

Comedians, entertainers and public figures of all kinds will often use controversial statements to emphasize a message or use them for their value in irony and humor. Not every “edgy” statement has this value. It is through careful development of statements within context that gives them value. Context exists on multiple levels. A punch-line alone does not make a joke. One shouldn’t crack a joke while someone is giving a eulogy at a funeral. A joke about Richard Nixon won’t hold nearly as much weight when directed at a younger audience. Vulgar statements wielded by the unwise will always backfire.

Closed rooms are becoming a thing of the past. Through the internet, most of what people say or do can be seen by the world. It is the future of communication, but does “edgy” humor survive in such an open environment? By my prediction, it will absolutely thrive! Now, more than ever, the internet is being divided by niche interests. Sites such as 4chan and Tumblr each attract different user-bases. What is appropriate in one of these rooms would not be appropriate for the other. Some wise advice comes from Arin Hanson and Danny Avidan of the Game Grumps. In their recent discussion on censorship during their recent playthrough of “Sonic and the Secret Rings”, Mr. Hanson put it very simply in stating that one has to feel things through with the audience.

One must know who they are presenting to and be mindful of our culture’s progression. Because “edgy” shouldn’t be malicious or belligerent to other people’s thoughts or beliefs. It’s about being thoughtful and critical of the world around one’s self. Edgy will always be “in”; but, only when used wisely and respectfully will it be cool.

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