Knowing Which is Which.
By Kimboak Benham
Those of us who read on the regular, either for pleasure, hobby, education, news, or work, at times also find ourselves enjoying a well put together satirical piece— such as provided by The Onion — for laughs. Many of us don’t even ask ourselves why we read such materials, we just do. We do it because often enough they provide timely comedic relief. Granting us momentary breaks from the excruciating demands of our seemingly never ending cycles of wayward and frustrating days. In exchange for a little of our down time we are granted a reprieve filled with an abundance of hilarity.
When the weight of the world, real or imagined, gathers upon our shoulders, to help us as we try to wind down, we inwardly yearn for the relief of a laugh. Though we may conceal this yearning, denying our truth to others, it sits in wait inside us. (So too it sits in wait, inside of them.) Then along comes the right words and the bucket is tipped, all spills out. A much needed uproar of laughter is had. Releasing our agony, and cords of pent up frustrations, we smile.
Why? Is laughing a magical salve? At times it seems as though laughter slows down the approach of death, stretching the distance between now and eternity, defeating the efforts of decay. I don’t know the physiology as to why, but it does.
Those are the good things about laughter, about satire, about our needs for it.
Then comes the downside of satire, letting us know it can be misused. As when mockery becomes insulting. As when images are altered, not as a humorous caricature, but to show a relation that isn’t in any form funny. A good example would be the recent depiction of the young Royal couples first born child as “The Royal Chimp”. Invoking racism as humor never works. Only outing racism can be funny, and even that is hard to do, and is only positively affecting when it is done as a coping mechanism by the offended. Images of babies as gator bait (no links provided because the images are inhumane) isn’t funny, but during earlier times in American history, unaffected people had a good ole laugh about it at the emotional expense of others. And today, in current times, we have youthful college kids who are clueless as to what wearing blackface as a mockery means. It isn’t funny. It was originally meant to be a derogatory representation of dark hued people. Those of whom I inherited my look from. Just don’t do it. It’s not that hard not too!
Recently— through the use of the internet — some would be political advocates have found it acceptable to pass off doctored images or videos of politicians they adversely view; not as satire, not as humor, or even as a readily identifiable outrageous fabrication; but as real representations of them. Done to insultingly mock them. Such is not funny. It is beyond the scope of humor. It is nothing but a political assault. We as a people and a nation should be beyond this.
Be reminded if need be.
If any of you reading this ever feel the need to use a monkey to describe a black person, please don’t. I shouldn’t need to tell you why. You should know its history. It isn’t funny.
If any of you should ever feel the need to steal images from some person’s phone and put them on the internet and tell corny jokes about them. Don’t do it. It isn’t funny. You wouldn’t want it done to you, would you?
Finally, if for whatever reason you don’t like Nancy Pelosi’s politics, and you feel a need to slam or shame her in a comical way, feel free, there is nothing wrong with doing that. She is a public person, it comes with the territory. But if you should feel the need to alter her images and videos in order to create a representation of her, or her actions, that are blatantly false, as someone’s recently done (suggesting that she was caught on film drunk), stop right there. Stop yourself in the act. That isn’t funny. That is a sad reflection on you, the responsible party.
As is said in advisory commercials about safe drinking habits, “know when to say when”, I advise us all to know the same. When it comes to being funny, you must first find where the comedic line of demarcation lies …and don’t cross it.