A couple of hours ago, I responded to the Joke prompt with a fairly standard Alienora bawdy and raucous one! Partly because I felt that the word ‘joke’ elicited precisely this kind of reaction; partly because I believe that laughter is universal, crucial and a great humaniser and partly because I think there is a Grand Canyon’s worth of difference between a joke, no matter how vulgar, and the ills which human beings visit one upon another on an all-too-frequent basis.
To my horror, consternation and anger, I discovered that comments had been closed within an hour – to my post, I assume, since the main site seemed to be breeding like rabbits!
I made it abundantly clear, in my own inimitable way, that none of the subjects I find hilarious in jokes in any way represent things I would either contemplate doing myself or that I in any way condone in others. A joke is a joke! Those who do engage in illicit and predatory activities, be they sexual or related to violence, do not tend to share their ‘sport’ in a humorous way with the general public. In fact, they often have an intensity and fanaticism about their chosen fetish which precludes even the most rudimentary attempt at jest, and become very agitated if they feel others are, if you’ll excuse the phrase, taking the piss.
Joking relieves tension; it bonds; it is a great way of lightening a tense atmosphere; it can lower blood pressure in the furious and calm potential domestic battlegrounds.
What does concern me, yet again, is this: How is it that bawdy, over-the-top, clearly tongue-in-cheek humour is seen as subversive, when the acres of posts (also seen by vulnerable young people) relating to confessions of wrist-slitting, real-life promiscuous sex, overdoses, graphic drug-taking and the like are not?
Reading the limerick I added to my previous post, one thing is clear as clear can be: It is rude, but it is not inciting anyone to try such an activity! Whereas, these Noir posts written by suicidal and self-centred teenage girls (I know; I wanted to be one, but my vulgar humour and plane-take-off loud laugh got in the way!) actually do encourage, at the subliminal level, other teens to think it cool to behave in that way.
Which is better? To encourage laughter at some of life’s absurdities, or to continue this trend of ‘Death and Vampires and Self-Destructive Nihilism is Cool’ confessions?
To which I would, finally, add the most obvious rider of all: If standards relating to sexuality and human behaviour need to be rigidly maintained on these sites, surely using the title ‘joke’ is a little unwise, given that not all people subscribe to the ‘Keep it Clean’ branch of the Society of Jesters, Jugglers and Joculators! As a teacher of English, had I done anything that stupid, I would have deserved all I got.