Jerry Seinfeld feature
FIRE’s James Altschul Responds to San Diego State Student’s ‘Politically Correct’ Criticism of Jerry Seinfeld

By June 24, 2015

In a blog entry posted yesterday on The Huffington Post, FIRE Summer Intern and Rice undergrad James Altschul responds to San Diego State student Anthony Berteaux’s “An Open Letter to Jerry Seinfeld.” Altschul challenges Berteaux’s notion of the role comedy plays, while pointing out the various flaws in his argument.

Altschul calls out Berteaux’s claim that comedy can’t be offensive for the sake of being offensive, saying:

The late Patrice O’Neal, a comic and frequent defender of controversial comedy, would often debate political activists over the merits of such speech. Even in the extreme case of Opie and Anthony constructing a scenario of their guest “Homeless Charlie” raping Condoleezza Rice, Patrice still advocated for the attempt at humor. The essential point, in his mind, was that the question of whether a joke was offensive or not missed the point. The quality of a joke should be measured by whether or not it is funny.

Altschul closes with his opinion that Millennials (at least his fellow college students) simultaneously act as innocent children, witchfinders, and rule enforcers—very different than previous generations who tended to rebel and explore controversial ideas.

Read Altschul’s full entry on The Huffington Post.