Sunday, September 23, 2012

Humor of Extremism and Polarization

     Polarization is a serious issue that alarms the American public. If two sides will never agree on anything, American's worry that nothing will ever be changed for the better, or no problems will be solved. However, some people on the web would rather take a lighter stance, and show the funny side of polarization. As silly as these video's may seem, they do offer their own interesting insight. 

      In this video, John Cleese presents a seemingly silly idea that people are extreme just for the joy of opposing a group. However, Cleese's ideas are right in line with Robert Hart's rhetoric of hate theory. Hart said that every group that exists has a group that's against it, that they can use as a wall to push themselves forward. Cleese agreed with this idea, and demonstrated the sheer number of groups that polarized parties use to make themselves "feel good" or in hart's words to push themselves forward. 
    This humorous video shows that no agreement or middle ground can be found if two groups remain so polarized and narrow minded. In reality, it's pretty rare that either one of the two groups demonstrated here are this narrow minded on any issue. However, I believe that one side of polarized issues (in this example Obamacare) sometimes really do believe that the other side is as narrow minded as shown here. This only adds to the polarization. More often, however, one side's goal is to make the other side seem narrow minded. This use of subversion is a prime component of extremist rhetoric. By making the other side seem narrow minded and dull, the users of this rhetoric can make themselves seem rational and the ideal cause to join. 

   While these videos are humorous, they offer insight into the world of extremism and polarization. These videos are vast over dramatizations. However, some of the same ideas can be seen in the extremists of today and in the past, and they show that sometimes super extremism and polarization can truly be silly.

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