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The Shut-Up Gun Vs. Comedy

Currently in development in Japan is a handheld non-lethal gun that is able to disrupt someone’s speech via a re-emitting of their words on a brief delay. More simply put, there’s a “shut-up gun” and the Japanese never cease to develop technology that makes us Westerners say “What the F?”. The potential uses are intended to promote courtesy in conversation, though aiming a gun-like device towards someone would more likely cause someone to scream “What the F?”, Westerner or not.

Certainly, this could be used to keep people quiet at rallies, protests, or even disrupt the President during a speech. An Orwellian dystopia with such a device isn’t too far off. A time and a place where one can literally be silenced based on what they’re saying would certainly be possible if a more manageable, concealable version of this device were invented.

Even worse, the topics of which we could even joke about could be severely limited. (Look, obviously, the silencing of voices in the political discourse of a nation is much worse than censoring that of which we make fun, but I write about comedy here at the Nerdist, so just go with it). If there were a palm-sized version of this gun, I have no doubt that nobody, because of the government and corporate interests at stake, would be able to joke about:

  • Network sitcoms that aren’t funny
  • Network sitcoms that are funny
  • Cable sitcoms that aren’t funny
  • Cable sitcoms that are funny, but don’t support the dictatorship
  • Reality TV (in the sense that is a completely manufactured presentation of reality)
  • Dora: The Explorer
  • All other subliminal children’s programming
  • Summer tentpole movies that pit all the forces of evil against one man
  • Summer tentpole movies attempting to be movie franchises based off a teenage book series
  • Teenage book series, even the worst, most derivative ones
  • Vampires, zombies, and any other mythical creature responsible for stimulating the economy via some for of media
  • Movies starring Matthew McConaughey
  • Movies starring Ben Affleck
  • Movies starring Jennifer Aniston
  • Movies starring Julia Roberts
  • Movies by Michael Bay
  • Battlefield: Earth
  • Poorly written and designed billboards promoting anti-drug campaigns
  • Poorly written and produced commercials promoting anti-drug campaigns
  • Bus ads (Mostly anti-drug campaigns)
  • Any ad copy that tells you to buy anything
  • Monsanto sponsored food
  • Spam (both the food and on the Internet)
  • Scrapple
  • Food based aphrodisiacs
  • Penguins
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Bears
  • Any animal whose likeness is made into a top-selling plush toy item
  • The similarities between 1984 and now
  • The one, true religion (that will be decided by whatever dictator is in power)
  • Politics (so long as it doesn’t prevent legislation from getting passed)
  • Thoughts that aren’t subversive
  • The poor naming of drugs by pharmaceutical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies responsible for the zombie apocalypse
  • Suspicious buildings that may or may not secret government agencies
  • People randomly disappearing
  • People randomly reappearing with a different personality
  • The fact that the government is enjoying the fact that they don’t have to dumb language down due to the Internet
  • Fox News
  • Everything else in existence
  • Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’


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  1. anon says:

    While this could be useful for making a presidential speech dissolve into stuttering, it can’t keep a crowd quiet. The device relies on the speaker hearing their voice, and only their voice. So if Obama is standing behind bullet proof glass, this won’t work. Or if the crowd is yelling, you’d have to point individual speech jammers at each person, which wouldn’t work because of the interference of the crowd noise and the speech jammers themselves (and interference with the mic). And, of course, the speaker could simply wear earplugs. Really, this device is mostly just a novelty or a good prank for college kids. Like a vortex cannon that seems like it would be a great weapon if scale-up (it isn’t).