Funny Power

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On Monday, August 13th commemorated the death of probably the most important political comedian in Colombia, Jaime Garzon. Nineteen years ago, his life was taken by hired assassins because he dared to create humor without a political affiliation.

He did the one thing that many aspire to do but only a few accomplish: becoming the voice of the people and uniting the citizens against the corruption and abuses of the Government.

The key to his success was developing characters from everyday life. He told his brazen jokes through folkloric characters of Colombian society such as a maid, a doorman, a journalist, and the most hated by politicians, a humble shoe shiner.

It’s been almost two decades, and the void Jaime Garzon left in the opinion journalism arena in Colombia hasn’t been filled. Although his humor was irreverent and insolent–a true pain in the butt for any public servant who cheated–he implied truths without disrespecting an individual or a group of people.

Garzon said once that all politicians are like Pontius Pilate, “whatever they do, either they deny it or wash their hands of it“. Therefore, he lashed out against members of all parties equally.

On the contrary, Colombian comedians and cartoonists today lost their humor and take everything seriously. They became bishops in the chessboard of politics and only attack in angles depending whom their king is, leaving many pieces untouched.

And when they attack, they are vicious. They have forgotten every sense of decency and use the most vulgar and vile language in the dictionary. It actually seems like they trying to be copycats of the American comedians and celebrities post-Trump 2016 election.

However, this isn’t new. It simply follows the progressive movement of censorship on everything they deem “politically incorrect”. It has been embedded deep inside the communication and information industries around the world for decades, but they used to conceal it. Now they wear it proudly on air and in print.

This proves that humor, just like journalism, has lost its objectivity irredeemably.

Good political satire is vital in any society. It is the funny power. Nonetheless, it must be even. Politics in America provide enough jokes on both sides of the aisle, so comedians can whip their members as they please without fearing for the lives.

The United States is still the beacon of freedom of expression in the world, even though some members of the past administration yell persecution when their security clearances are revoked.

If they want to know what real attacks on the press are, I invite them to read about Latin America more than 150 journalists in Colombia who have been murdered since 1980 for doing their job.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119

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