Sunday, July 24, 2011

If You Don't Like It...(fill in the blank)

"Why dost thou laugh? It fits not with this hour." 
Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus

Perhaps you're one of the lucky few who have never put your foot in your mouth, but if you're anything like me, you probably cringe thinking back to a few choice moments when you either said or did something to which someone else took offense. 

Even when it's not our intention to offend, there's no guarantee that we won't do so merely by the way we look, speak, act, the clothes we wear, jokes we tell, etc. Throughout history, people have been judged based off of the viewer's experiences and perceptions of the world. People make rash judgments about what they see and fear. They profile other people (even though that's not considered "PC" in the western world) and treat them according to their worldview, which sometimes is limited if not cruel. 

All I want to know is when did people get so darn sensitive? Even when you encounter a self-proclaimed spiritualist asserting their level of "awareness", there still seems to be a rod up someone's you-know-what when they harshly judge others just for choosing to see the lighter side of life.

Comedians are essentially writers, and writers write what they know. Some of the funniest comedians incorporate their family members into their jokes. They make fun of their spouses, kids, in-laws, pets, vehicles, neighborhoods, parents, and pretty much anyone they've ever met. I don't take it seriously. It's humor. But it's amazing to me how many people, even family members, get miffed about the simplest things in a serious way. 

Take Comedienne, Sundra Croonquist, who was sued by her mother-in-law for making her the butt of too many jokes. Croonquist is half-black, half-Swedish, raised Catholic, and (after converting) married into a Jewish family. Her life sounds like a set-up for a classic joke. Seriously, people! I can't think of a time in recorded history when people weren't making fun of their in-laws. Dating back to Roman times, Juvenal, author of the famous sixteen Satires, stated in Quarrelsomeness...(lines 6.231 - 245) "A man will never be happy while his mother-in-law lives." 

The main difference, other than potentially genre, between authors and comedians is that a comedian must memorize their book (of jokes or skit). It's common knowledge that writing and publishing a book is a tremendous challenge, however, add memorizing your work and it is more so. This is where improv comes in - it's where we draw from what we know or what we know to be cliché in order to find a common ground with our audience. 

While each comedian has their own sense of humor, their own bag of criticisms and witticisms, whether we like it or not, we still need to be mindful that anytime we open our mouths (or post on Facebook) there will always be someone there to tell us we shouldn't have... 

So, to the self-proclaimed "enlightened one" who accused me of being a "racist" for posting a joke about Muslim marriage counseling, I'd like to tell you that it WAS NOT a racist joke. If anything, it was taking a serious subject and approaching it from a place of humor as a kind of coping mechanism. True, it might have seemed a bit insensitive, but there's a HUGE difference between being insensitive and being racist. Still, rather than attacking me, you could have simply ignored the post. Even when I apologized and politely suggested that you remove me from your friends if you felt my humor was offensive, you turned around and attacked me again. Trust me, if you're working on the eight-fold path, you've got a lot of folding to do!

Moral of the story folks, if you're that sensitive, take a chill pill, talk to your priest, rabbi, local Buddhist master...  or just mind your own beeswax!

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