As the Taliban continues to change every single thing about Afghanistan and effectively turning back the clock in terms of progress by decades, they just issued a new set of guidelines (though we bet they’re more than just “guidelines”) to be followed by Afghan media (via Variety). The most alarming part is their move to end Afghan dramas/soap operas featuring female actors, which aggressively continues the shift backwards to an explicitly patriarchal theocracy. That’s a whole can of worms that we have a hard time imagining sustain itself in 2021. If the Taliban don’t already have their own Internet that grants them the power to limit any global influence, they’ll need it if they want to keep up such a ridiculous, outdated ideology going.
They’ll especially need such a tool to keep up another one of the directives they issued on Sunday: banning comedy shows in which people are humiliated.
One could argue that someone will always be a little bit humiliated in comedy given how there are always power dynamics at play in the DNA of humor and comedy. Sure, we didn’t think they would go for anything like Roast Battle in the Taliban’s Afghanistan, but relegating comedy to what would very likely be just observational humor of animals and inanimate objects will, very likely we think, be an unintentional seed of discord. Naturally, people will want to joke about more than that and, at some point, find a way to do so.
Even under threat of religious police in different Middle Eastern countries neighboring Afghanistan, people have organized secret comedy shows in the desert and been getting away with it for years. It’s hard to say what sort of humor will secretly manifest itself in Afghanistan, but we have no doubt that it’ll pop up somehow. A secret political cartoon of how poorly the Taliban are ruling? Other secret shows a secret cave where people can joke freely? We’ll see in the hopefully not too distant future.
Just like it’s pretty ludicrous to wage a war on a concept like terrorism, it’s just as futile to try to ban humiliation in comedy.
That all said, we’re sure that men will probably be able to openly joke about anyone that stands in opposition of Taliban values and the “guideline” will very likely not be applied in that case.