“Thoughts before coffee” Part 9: Limits to Humour. Are there any?

I am not a particular fan of political correctness. There’s just something about it that irritates me. I want things to be plain and simple because things get complicated if we are the ones messing up the wires.

Yet, sometimes, I get this feeling that some things are best not said. Jokes about homosexuals/women/Chinese drivers/impoverished blacks etc. I find some of them funny but… are they really? I just can’t tell if I should be laughing at another joke about [insert particular group here]. Still, I do. I do find them funny. Is it because they’re not targeted at me? I can’t really tell. Personally, I’ve been on the receiving end of ‘fat jokes’ for more years that I can remember. They used to anger me, sometimes they still do. But, sometimes, I can’t help but laugh myself.

What is it that makes us find things funny? Is it the fact that, sometimes, the joke’s not on us? Is it merely the fact that some things are so ridiculous that we can’t help but laugh, even though it is wrong? Is it racist if I find jokes about [insert group again] funny? I seriously cannot tell.

I believe that jokes are an important reflection of culture and upbringing. I also believe that people can make fun of others, but still not actually embrace the belief that X group is, indeed, worthy of mockery. I was born and raised in Greece, a country that just loves jokes about Turkish people, yet I bear no hatred towards them, nor do I consider Turkish people to be inferior. Is it wrong, unethical even, to laugh when I hear jokes about them?

Where is the line? I believe that we cross it when we start taking those jokes seriously, when we no longer discern between ‘fun’ and ‘outright racism’. When the things we heard as jokes in our younger days are now integrated to our thoughts. When we actually believe that the target of the joke operates that way in reality. That’s  when, as we say in Greece, ‘the ball is lost’.

We, the ‘luckies’, being all white, and males, and straight, often say things like ‘I wouldn’t mind being mocked. I believe that everyone should be made fun of”. We got it easy. We are the -highly undeserving- privileged ones, we talk from a safe distance. We should start seeing where we got it wrong, myself included. And, in the end, just don’t be mean to each other, OK? The only ones we should be hating are the Alien Overlords that seek to destroy us all.

 

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