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Prof. Geo Tkach smiles in front of flowering shrubs at Hatley Castle

Communications expert and School of Communication and Culture Prof. Geo Takach wrote an article for The Conversation in response to a recent stand-up comedy show at a Winnipeg comedy club , where American comic Rich Vos hurled racist “jokes” at female Indigenous attendees, furthering “a longstanding practice of  spewing bile and ignorance disguised as entertainment .”

Here is some of what he has to say:

“I argue that ethically, in civil society, this mantle should come with a responsibility not to abuse it. Comedy’s societal credibility and contribution — its proven power as a force for positive change — comes from punching  up  rather than kicking  down .

“Comedy is a social corrective exposing the gap between what  is  (injustice, poverty, environmental disaster) and what some think it  ought to be  (fairness, equal opportunity, gentle breezes). This gap, which may be history’s largest mass case of  cognitive dissonance , remains our omnipresent duality.

“In addressing this gap to inspire positive change, comedy  promotes new ideas and offers hope . That entails punching  up  at privilege to call out abuse, not kicking  down  to perpetuate it.”

Read the full article in The Conversation or the National Post .