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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

ISIS is the problem, not SNL

On Feb. 28, “Saturday Night Live” aired a sketch parodying Camry’s Super Bowl ad. The sketch shows a father dropping off his daughter to be picked up by — surprise! — ISIS militants.

The sketch has drawn criticism from some and praise from others who claim, on one side, that it was in poor taste and — that terrible word — offensive while on the other side that it was controversial but right on the nose.

The entire debate is ridiculous, especially the claims that the sketch was offensive. Since when was comedy held to a standard that it must not be offensive?

Offensiveness, as it is, is such a subjective quality. It is impossible to do anything that won’t offend somebody.

And what is it about the American public that its people seem to be offended by things that don’t affect them at all?

Consider that there are only a few thousand ground troops currently in Iraq. If we assume there are about 20-40 people who care very deeply about each soldier (which is optimistic), there will be about 80,000-160,000 people out of the 318.9 million people in the United States who are moderately affected by any commentary on ISIS.

This totals to about .0251- .0502 percent of the total population of the United States. Even factoring in other variables, such as the percentage of the population who has family overseas in the affected areas, the percentage of people who ‘should’ be offended is negligible compared to how many people actually claim to be offended.

Let’s also consider what the sketch actually portrays. The sketch pokes fun at how some disgruntled Americans, specifically teens, have attempted to join ISIS. The number of Americans who have attempted to fight in Syria — not necessarily join ISIS, mind you — currently stands at about 180 people.

The sketch is not making a point — if it is, it's not a strong one. Since that is the case, it should not even be considered satire — it’s comedy. It’s funny because it upsets our expectations that, when the girl gets out of the car, she will be joining the Army. It’s ironic, but irony doesn’t make it satire.

The sketch is not making any significant statement nor is it attempting to promote a specific ideological standpoint and, in the absence of that, there is nothing to be offended about.

The guarantee of freedom of speech aside, the adverse reaction to the sketch is ridiculous. It’s a case of people not having world views large enough to encompass even the most harmless ideas. So, please, for all of you who find the SNL sketch offensive, go invest your anger elsewhere — like in outrage for the continued existence of an organization like ISIS, perhaps.

allenjo@indiana.edu

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