Northern Light

Satire as integration?

Is satire promoting integration of immigrants or is it discriminating and marginalizing minorities struggling to become part of the receiving society?

That’s the question that has divided public opinion in Denmark since December 1. Denmark’s Public TV is broadcasting an advent calendar show – 10 minutes every day – dealing with young second generation immigrants in the suburbs dreaming about a career as gangsters. One of them is even an islamic radical being up to mischief. The title is Yallahrup Ferry Port, a reference to a Christmas show for children that was broadcasted 33 year ago. This one, though, is for grown-ups, and it is focusing on integration, democracy and crime.

Some critical voices have denounced the show as racist. Others have defended the satirical take on some of the hottest issues confronting European countries. Yesterday the daily Berlingske Tidende ran an editorial commenting on the show.

”The show offends the political correct, and there is nothing strange about that. Political correctness is on a collision cource with satire and humor. The essence of satire is that nothing is sacred, nothing is too serious to be free from liberating ridicule and laughter. We insist that laughter is liberating because humor and satire can take off the pressure. It can do away with gravity and self-importance and vent concern, tension and conflict.”

It continues:

”Humor is anti-authoritarian. Critics will say that in Yallahrup Ferry Port it is the stronger who laughs at the weak, the majority of Danes is laughing at the exposed, vulnurable minority. This criticism needs to be rejected by insisting that making good-natured fun of people is a way to take down barriers and include people in the community.”

And the editorial concludes:

”If immigrants and theirs descendants are being defined as a group having the right to demand special treatment, it will only encourage division and separation in Danish society. It preserves a situation of not knowing other groups in our society and will only promote annoyance and mistrust of one another. Self-respect and respect from others are closely connected, and citizens will get neither if they are turned into victims.

In the final analysis political correctness is a form of racism, even if it sees itself as the opposite of racism. It implies that specific ethnic and cultural groups don’t have the same access to the community and identity creating traditions as native Danes. Yallahrup Ferry Port is a vigorous rejection of this sacredness detached from reality.”

Well said. The cartoons of Mohammed wasn’t published in vain.