What’s So Funny?

If you read this essay you will not become a better person. I will not delineate the most progressive stance that you could take on a recent development in politics or culture, taking into account the various relevant social justice considerations and concluding on a rallying cry. And neither will you be presented with a set of arguments advancing the liberal positions that you already support, but which a less well-informed, or perhaps simply more selfish, person theoretically would not. I will not invite you to feel a sense of personal satisfaction, maybe laced with anguish, about your own right-mindedness compared to that theoretical other person.  At the same time I will not hash out a supposedly controversial, but in fact well-trodden, stance on an element of progressive culture. Likewise I will not lament the overreaches of political correctness through a series of exaggerated or otherwise dubious examples. You will not be made to feel risqué and rebellious for holding a garden-variety regressive view which, particularly considering the influence of both demographic factors and self-interest, it is perfectly predictable that you would hold.  This will not be an essay in which the likes of Foucault and Kant are quoted liberally, to remind you of my steely academic credentials, because in such writing that is where my authority, and hence your interest in continuing to read, derives from. The fact is I don’t have steely academic credentials. No PhD or Ivy League anything or Oxford or Cambridge. Actually I don’t even have an undergraduate degree in this essay’s subject. This is not a piece of writing in which I will use credentialism to flatter your sense of yourself as a highbrow intellectual type. If that is the kind of thing you’re into.  There will be no disclosure of personal trauma, or

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