Status Anxiety

In Alain de Botton’s 2004 book, Status Anxiety, he argues that humorists, such as stand-up comedians, talk show hosts, and cartoonists, can serve two purposes. These purposes include to entertain but mainly “to convey with impunity messages that might be dangerous or impossible to state directly”. As he goes on, he explains his belief that since these humorists are saying things many people cannot, they play an important role in shaping society.

I, myself, agree that humorists do shape society through their words and action by being role models; however, I believe that these role models can use this to their advantage by uplifting and encouraging or depress and discourage. Botton claims that these humorist’s dangerous messages are unpunished, but I believe that every deed is noticed or eventually noticed to a point where a consequence or reward can result. One type of humorist includes stand-up comedians-a popular show in which many people love to listen to.

People go and see famous comedians such as Daniel Tosh and Jim Gaffigan. While Tosh being a rather crude, yet truthful, person, his show is very popular and he gains the sides of many while antagonizing the beliefs of others. On the other hand, Gaffigan creates humor from his opinions without using foul language and avoiding offense toward anyone, which sets him to have a good persona. With both of these people shaping society’s values, they chose whether or not they want it to have a disrespectful outtake on life, or a whimsical and pleasant view.

Another group that easily shapes society and how it functions are talk show hosts. Some popular talk show hosts of the day include Ellen Degeneres and Chelsea Handler. Degeneres uses a positive humor that avoids hurting the ego of others and refuses to put up with bullying. She not only is a lesbian who stands up for gay rights, but she also influences other to do good through sincere happiness. Being completely the opposite, Chelsea Handler uses explicit language and discouraging humor to gain the side of those she isn’t making fun of.

Instead of talking about ideas and events, she talks about people and leaves her viewers feeling uncomfortable due to her immaturity about immoral topics. Both with the power to do good in this world, some choose to inspire others such as Ellen Degeneres, while others like Chelsea Handler are rebellious and dismay the hopes and dreams of its viewers. The last group of individuals that have a great impact among society include famous cartoonists such as Seth MacFarlane from Family Guy and Walt Disney, who created the famous Mickey Mouse.

As MacFarlane allows his cartoons to do provocative things and say raunchy sentences, he influences the television viewers that it is okay to act in that manner. Being rather old-fashioned, Disney created the Mickey Mouse cartoon to entertain kids in a friendly and joyous manner. Lifting the spirits of others, Disney has become so famous that his inspirational cartoon of a mouse has created its own television series, Disney Channel, theme parks such as Disneyland, and many other things.

Making society cherish its values of respect, encouragement, and positivity, people such as Jim Gaffigan, Ellen Degeneres, and Walt Disney, are incredible and great role models. Through their words, actions, or drawings, they chose to do good in the world that was beyond entertaining their fans. I believe that these groups of humorists do have others purposes than to entertain their guests like what Botton explained. As they say things that others might not have had the courage and confidence to say, I believe, however, that their powerful choice of words are what serve as a vital function to society.

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