Here’s another weekly potpourri of thoughts and observations about breaking news and Valley things both great and small . . .
“Write a wise saying
and your name will live forever”.
— Unknown Author
So this coming Monday is April Fool’s Day. I can remember when this was a day of fun, usually at some poor sap’s expense. Unsuspecting victims all over the nation either got dripping wet, or were frightened out of their wits, or were wonderfully embarrassed all in honor of the quintessentially American April Fool’s joke. It’s all in fun! Humor is harmless, right? Well, isn’t it?
Lately I wonder: The times, they are a-changing, after all. Or haven’t you noticed? Listen. Political correctness has crippled humor. Indeed, I read recently that some liberal university has declared jokes to be a form of hate speech. Apparently, making fun of funny things equates to shaming which is a form of verbal assault. May God help us if this catches on beyond the already psychotic halls of academia! Thanks to Millennials (and banana peels!) we have a wonderfully target-rich atmosphere out there.
And now that our sociopolitical environment is such a laughing-out-loud farce, to discourage laughter at this point would be tortuous indeed. In defense of our valiant efforts to squelch spontaneous outbursts of raucous laughter whenever some wide-eyed twit says something particularly stupid, we can honestly claim that it was just a nervous laugh.
These days, a funny joke is like a strap-on explosive. Indeed, the crowd reaction in a social setting would be the same if you said, “I’ll tell you a really funny joke,” as “I’m about to release an epic fart.” Nobody emerges smelling exactly like a rose. Indeed, encouraging some poor sap to tell a joke is a bit like encouraging a suicide-bound rooftop leaper to “Jump!” Joke telling has indeed become a ghoulish spectacle, like a self immolation for some hopeless cause. As some liquor-numbed comedian launches into his latest knee slapper at the old watering hole, you can’t help but quickly check-out the demographics of his audience. Who may be likely to laugh? Who is going to throw the first punch? Who is bound to recoil in offended outrage? Who might dial 911? Who may file suit? Who will write a new law?
In the good-old days, did all the usual butts of jokes just shrug it off as inconsequential? Were all the morons, Italians, Poles, Irishmen, women drivers, Eskimos, Indians, blonds, priests, rabbis, golfers, and politicians simply less sensitive than they are now? Have they been conditioned through the brain washing of relentless political correctness to be hypersensitive to anything, however innocuous, relating to their ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual proclivities, intelligence, or stereotypical quirks?
OK, listen. This priest approaches a hooker standing in front of a Starbucks. Now did the beginning of that joke just make you feel a bit uncomfortable? Why? Is everybody listening to this a hooker, allergic to coffee, or a priest needing directions? Does effective humor (that is, the rare stuff that makes you laugh out loud) first demand a modicum of trust? Do you often think, just as some fully relaxed bon vivant launches into a joke, “Holy crap! Do I really want to hear this?” Lately, the answer to that question almost always is “No.” And most importantly, are we, as a culture, diminished by that?
I love funny, creative, edgy humor. A really good joke ideally should leave the room just littered with skewered rascals who were eagerly anticipating skewering somebody else. A good joke is really folk literature, cowboy poetry, a street song, verbal graffiti, and an important subtile underpinning of society. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater by simply (and fearfully) staying serious during otherwise frivolous moments is a sad and tragic capitulation to the growing mob rule currently masquerading as Political Correctness. Honestly! It’s soon to be April Fool’s Day everybody! Plan to pull a funny (and harmless) “Gotcha!” on someone while it’s still legal. Just for fun!
—That has been this week’s radio blog, and this is Skip Gorman (firstname.lastname@example.org) returning you all now back to a quieter and gentler place. . .
The views expressed are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the official stance of the Daily Independent.