Humor in One Direction
Updated: Apr 6
I recently watched Champions, a sports comedy film in which a basketball coach completes his community service hours by coaching a team of players with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). Rather than posting a movie review, I want to think through one issue using this blog entry to guide the direction of my thoughts.
At one point in the film, the sole female player with IDD (“Consentino”)—who fulfills Hollywood’s now overused trope of a sassy female (her name alone signals “consent”)—states, “If you come near me, I’ll ‘MeToo’ your ass,” when preventing the coach from entering a locker room wherein predominately male basketball players are gathered.
She’s allowed to enter the space, though a male isn’t, because it’s been declared a “players only” space. Consentino’s threat of false sexual allegation results in the coach cowering in acquiescence.
As a key component of my social work graduate studies, I was taught to critically analyze works of art in order to find the oppressor-oppressed dichotomy. This activistic practice seeks to highlight perceived injustice and can distort one’s experience when viewing films.
Keeping in mind that it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting to actively seek out interpreted wrongdoing, I don’t get too caught up in unnecessarily picking apart works of art to the degree by which I disturb myself into an uncomfortable experience.
Therefore, when I critically assess a film like Champions, I do so as a means to gather perspective rather than as a call to action. Additionally, I keep in mind that humor is subjective and not everything I consider unfunny is actually humorless to others.
These matters stated, I wonder about why it appears as though modern movie humor seems to lean in one direction. For instance, when Consentino threatens to falsely accuse a male of sexual harassment, assault, or possibly rape—all directly tied to the MeToo movement—I imagine a progressively-minded person chuckling.
Perhaps my awareness of power dynamics addressed through social activism leads me to conclude that someone may think when hearing the female basketballer’s quip, “You go, girl, because it’s about time men experience the fear that we girls and women endure on a day-to-day basis.”
Maybe I’m wrong. Still, and presuming the reader grants my imagined premise, I wonder how it is considered humorous to falsely accuse anyone of a MeToo-related allegation.
A slogan said to arise from the MeToo movement is “believe women,” in regards to accepting women’s allegations of sexual harassment, assault, or rape at face value. One imagines the “believe” standard also applies to girls, as ‘believe females’ could cover this sex and gender-related matter.
The logic underlying the “believe” standard is straightforward:
Premise 1: When hearing allegations of sexual harassment, assault, or rape—in a MeToo-esque fashion, believe all females.
Premise 2: Consentino threatens the coach with an unfounded allegation in MeToo-esque fashion.
Conclusion: Consequently, believe Consentino.
Not only might Consentino’s dishonest claim end the coach’s career, he could face unwarranted legal action. Even if through an arduous and expensive legal process the coach is able to evade punitive damages, his social reputation as the man who apparently violated a female with IDD would likely never survive the allegation.
Is that a funny outcome? Is the possibility of such a social justice travesty even considered to be humorous by you, dear reader?
I wonder if it would also be open to humorous consideration for me to claim that such an idea of false MeToo claims is “retarded.” Given sensitive context regarding Rosa’s Law, one may gasp and exclaim, “How dare you make fun of those with IDD in such a manner?”
How dare a film advocate false MeToo accusations? Why be outraged at syllables uttered from my mouth or letters typed into this blogpost, though remain willing to overlook the very realistic occurrence of males being falsely accused of MeToo allegations?
#MeToo—a movement that comedian Owen Benjamin is credited with having described as “pound me, too”—is essentially a farcical campaign without a punchline that I think is humorous. Then again, what do I know?
Rather than advocating censorship while feigning outrage over Consentino’s absurd allegation, I support mockery of foolish ideas. Believing all females is worthy of mockery, as is the precarious notion that no female would lie about MeToo allegations.
This is how I keep from self-disturbing—by thinking through matters in a rational manner—when experiencing sociopolitical humor in one direction. Would you also like to know more about how not to upset yourself when encountering absurdity others may find humorous?
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Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
--. (2018, March 21). Pound me too movement [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/1vhAfSlsL0k
Daily Journal of the United States Government, The. (2017, July 11). Rosa’s Law. The Federal Register. Retrieved from https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/11/2017-14343/rosas-law
Enriquez, A. (2021, October 25). Q. How does fair use work for book covers, album covers, and movie posters? Penn State. Retrieved from https://psu.libanswers.com/faq/336502
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Hollings, D. (2023, January 5). Pessimistic perspective. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/pessimistic-perspective
Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance
Hollings, D. (2022, November 14). Touching a false dichotomy. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/touching-a-false-dichotomy
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Believe women. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Believe_women
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Champions (2023 film). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champions_(2023_film)
Wikipedia. (n.d.). MeToo movement. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MeToo_movement
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Owen Benjamin. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owen_Benjamin