Is this post a joke?
Let’s begin by looking at the definition of comedy on Urban Dictionary (My Bible of Dictionaries – that is a joke).
Comedy is the portrayal of humorous subject matter for the purposes of amusement.
An adjective used to describe something funny
Ok, fine. But what if my comedy is offensive? What if I am being funny by making fun of someone else? Let’s look at that definition:
Here is where comedy gets really tricky. What if I say something that I believe is funny but it is offensive to someone else? Who makes the rules on what is offensive and what is funny? I once put a note on the office refrigerator that said, “Please clean up after yourself. Your mom doesn’t work here.” An employee ripped it off and said that was offensive because her mom was dead. I replied, “So is mine.” I didn’t put it back up.
Let’s look at a couple examples. It is funny (I guess) when an African American comedian uses the “N” word. It’s practically a felony if a white person says it in any context. Why? Well, this is one of the rules of comedy. A person can make jokes about their own issue but they may not be able to joke about someone else’s. This is getting stricter every day.
If we apply this to every issue we only have self-inflicted humor. White on White, Black on Black, Gay on Gay, Women on Women…you get it.
Here’s another issue. The rules change every day on what is offensive. When I was younger, it was funny to use the “F” word for a homosexual (is that term offensive? – sorry). Now it is offensive and anyone who says it is a bully. Oh no – time for another definition.
Somebody who hurts others either physically, mentally or emotionally. They can ruin a person’s life, just to make themselves feel better
A person who makes fun of others based on their own insecurities about life.
To humiliate, persecute, underestimate, harass, lower, tease, desocialize, hurt, discriminate, jeer, ridicule, bother, disturb, molest, trouble, embarrass, mishandle, insult, weaker, injure, harm, affront, torture, offend, prejudice, torment, intimidate…
You see how tricky this is getting? If my humor hurts someone it is offensive and I am a bully. If my humor is based on my insecurity I could be a bully. This is very complicated. What if 99 people laugh at a joke but 1 person is offended (remember the refrigerator note?) Do we kill a joke because one person is offended or do we wait until we reach a higher number? What if half of the crowd thinks it is funny? What if a joke is funny in New York but it isn’t in Alabama? What if an old person loves a good Polock joke and a young person thinks that is awful? What if a blond woman is offended by blond jokes?
Again, who decides? Who regulates? Public opinion? If we can only joke about our own issues that is pretty limited – I can joke about middle-aged white men that are bald, overweight, conservative, Christian, self-employed, parent, grandparent…. If you are a single African American woman who is a Muslim liberal skinny employee you can’t joke about any of my issues and I can’t joke about you. Right?
One more example: I have been a property manager all of my life. When property managers/landlords get together, we call each other slumlords. It’s a joke that we all understand. When someone outside of the industry calls me a slumlord, I am very offended because it is not true. I’ve heard the very same testimony from lawyers.
You thought this was going to be funny but it is very serious. It’s no laughing matter and people are getting more offended every day. If you are offended who will you call?
1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”