Sometimes it’s hard to be funny in a world that is either ultra sensitive or ultra cold. Especially when you really want to laugh. I certainly understood when the age of political correctness reared its head but then I quickly ascertained that humans do not know how to say no to the second cookie. One is good, two is fattening. I don’t need to explain that metaphor do I? Because Jay Leno’s late night antics speaking to folks on the street who haven’t a clue what our Constitution means or even if Hawaii is a state, leads me to believe that some of our seven deadly sins are alive and well in America. There isn’t much I fear, but that is a fear. And what does this have to do with being funny?
We all get those emails from folks who read a joke and then throw it out to all their cyber friends to share in the sender’s perceived vision of humor. I grew up in a very funny family, lead by my mother who had a joke about everything and everyone which she justified by saying- “well, they are probably making fun of me too.” In other words, it’s ok to laugh at others if you laugh at yourself. As a guideline of laughter and ethics, it is pretty straightforward. But, as has been stated many times, the difference between animals and humans is that humans are supposed to have the ability to reason. When it comes to these cyber flying jokes, I don’t see an animal/human distinction and it makes my skin crawl. Especially because these “jokes” and off color remarks are not limited to the internet. I see them on television and hear them on the radio and when my friends start choosing sides based on racist, religious, economic driven propaganda then I wonder how long it will take the human race to filter out the garbage that has corrupted our souls.
Laughter, I believe, truly is God’s gift. I love to laugh and there is plenty to laugh at. That being said, I don’t need to make fun of someone’s situation, albeit tragic unforeseen circumstances or personal intent just to get a giggle. Likewise, I don’t think handing someone a flower is the best way to punish a criminal. I have very strong views on people who criminally and maliciously hurt others and I have very strong opinions about personal responsibility, especially when it comes to having children- but that is where my strong opinions end and my compassioned reasoning takes hold. It amazes me how many people I know, who truly have walked in another’s shoes, still enjoy making fun of other people, especially when it is so easy and anonymous to just hit send and throw stereotyped judgment out over the internet. When we were given free will- I don’t think it was meant to be used to freely bash other people- I think it was meant for us to self-explore; analyze, seek knowledge and philosophize about love versus fear.
My mom went on disability at age forty-seven. It was because she had emphysema- yet she still smoked. Because my father had abandoned her with no resources and six children, it was difficult to make ends meet, especially in Silicon Valley in the 1970’s. Now on disability she couldn’t afford to take care of us because she only received three-hundred and sixty dollars a month. So, she got a fake SS# and began working again.... I was fifteen and I was very angry at her for the next ten years for being a liar and a fraud. When I left home and drove away to college in June 1980- I was so self-righteously stubborn and zealously ideological about personal responsibility versus criminal malfunctions..I was going to rid the world of anyone who did not adhere to the letter of the law...then I moved out on my own where I was forced to open my eyes. My struggles with my "sexuality” versus my desire to know God enhanced my philosophical ideologies that played music more with my soul than my prideful and survival enhanced ego. I began reading everything I could to understand both sides of every issue that was important to me. This is when I veered from my childhood dream of being an attorney.
As the years went buy I realized that mom’s first responsibility was to take care of her children and because she had tried to live the way her generation said- be good to your husband and stay home with your kids- and that that "philosophy" did not account for the fantasy that was not always attainable mom did the best she could. She never held a gun to anyone’s head, she never stole money out of someone’s pocket, she never hurt anyone- but she did commit fraud. I still struggle with her actions- but in the end- I know they were taken because she loved us. And when you love someone- you can't always be a "perfect citizen" - especially when current views about patriotism and being a perfect citizen means abandoning your morals and ethics of love...hence- Nazi Germany.....
So when I see and hear people pointing fingers and looking for scapegoats for their current situation or perception of fear based on losing their wealth or job, I cannot jump on that train. I won’t. Even if it comes in an email joke meant to be funny. Because everyone has a story and everyone’s story can change.