There is something about Dave Chappelle. It is a quality of detachment that inspires great confidence in his audiences. It is largely because of this trust that Chappelle can venture into subject matter — such as race or the trans issue, even Donald Trump — that makes most celebrities send out apologetic press releases, without being harmed.
Even his most recent controversy, bringing Elon Musk on stage at a recent show, to a chorus of boos, has left him unscathed. What Chappelle is really able to do is tap into the Id of Left-leaning Americans, to let them linger on thoughts they aren’t supposed to have.
The Id, in Freudian psychology, is essentially the instinctual pleasure center where base ideas and desires exist. It is regulated, or is supposed to be, by the SuperEgo and that conflict produces the Ego, which moderates these contrary internal drives and motivations. Progressive ideology, particularly in censorious applications, operates very much like the SuperEgo. The speech codes aren’t just meant to protect others, but to cleanse oneself.
For American progressives who have turned safety, including from ideas, into their overriding concern in all matters from moderating content, to climate change, to altering the basic understanding of sex and gender, Chappelle is dangerous because he only discovers what was already inside of them. They laugh when he gets edgy, in large part, because they are thinking about things they aren’t supposed to think about in ways they shouldn’t think about them.
In his preface for “Anti-Oedipus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia,” a high mountain top of postmodernism, Michel Foucault calls for philosophy to combat fascism, and not just “historical” or political fascism, “but also the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.”
This is a blueprint for later theories like white privilege, intersectionality, and white fragility, in which those in power — basically white people — are meant to expunge from their minds certain ideas or thoughts, not through a process of investigation, but as a moral obligation complete with rituals for confession and atonement.
“In a series of stand-up shows at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, Chappelle made jokes aimed at trans people for at least 20 minutes, Vulture reported. He made explicit jokes about trans people’s bodies and referred to trans people as “transgenders,” among other comments, Vulture said.”
“Netflix released Chappelle’s special ‘The Closer.’ In it, he goes on an extended tangent about transgender people and makes several jokes at their expense. He misgenders a trans comedian, once again makes explicit jokes about trans women’s bodies and defends TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” CNN reported.
Notice anything missing? There is not a single quote from a single offending joke that Chappelle told. Why? Because the entire premise behind the outrage is based on the idea that challenging trans ideology, at all, is literally an act of violence, therefore CNN could not include the material, even in an attempt to tell their readers what had transpired.
This is a rhetorical SuperEgo that is out of control in our society. And what happens to a person, movement, or society when the Id is so completely repressed is depression, isolation, inability to work with others.
For the 90 or so minutes of a Dave Chappelle show the Id is allowed some space, some freedom to be explored. And if one, by the curtain falling feels, maybe I shouldn’t have laughed at some of that, they can ask themselves why, and truly rule their own ideas instead of being ruled by them.
Prior to his controversial jokes, the biggest story surrounding Chappelle was him abandoning a $50 million contract with Comedy Central in 2003. And the two are related. As an artist, we know that Chappelle means what he creates; he’s not offending people for fame or fortune, but because great art tells the truth. Chappelle’s great gift, for all of society, but even more for progressives who give him a special “anti-wokeness” pass, is that he can allow their Id to come up for air, to stop being suppressed beneath the boot of conformity and Newspeak.
We should suspect that Dave Chappelle is not finished getting himself in trouble, but maybe trouble is the wrong word — maybe it’s, more simply, the subject of accusations of impropriety. But that’s a good thing, because he keeps coming back. And deep down even most of his critics know that his unique form of comic therapy is ultimately good for all of us.
David Marcus is a Brooklyn based columnist and author of “Charade: The Covid Lies That Crushed A Nation”
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.