On a recent Sunday, while engaging in some early morning contemplation time, humor and laughter came to mind. I was reminded of a couple recent experiences I had related to the topic. First, I watched comedian Russell Howard interview Matthew McConaughey. In the interview, while discussing the importance of humor and it’s ability to help us cope and persevere through difficult times, Russell recalls a time at his Grandfather’s funeral where his newly widowed grandmother was not only dealing with the loss of her husband but also battling a sore throat. She says aloud during the service, “has anyone got something to suck” at which Russell’s brother says (so all can hear) “Grandad picked the wrong day to die”. At which I laughed hysterically as did many of Russell’s family and the funeral’s attendees. Irreverent, right? Friggin’ hilarious, right? Don’t know. I thought so. What do YOU think?
Second, during a recent MenLiving virtual call, a newer member (a man in his 80’s) tells the group “I’m going to start ending these calls with a “daily chuckle, but tonight I’ll tell the joke right now”. Okay, he proceeds. “The other day my girlfriend calls me a pedophile. I said, “that’s strange, coming from a minor””. Not funny, right? Well, at least one other member didn’t think so and said as much. Now, I can guess by the overall reaction of the 20 or so guys that were there that he probably wasn’t alone. What I do know is that at least 1 person did think it was funny. The guy who told it.
We can say collectively that pedophile jokes are NOT FUNNY. We can say that. We can also say racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic, heteronormative, blond, fat, small people, mentally impaired, ugly jokes aren’t as well. Where do we draw the line? Can we all draw the same lines? Do we want to draw the exact same lines? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I’m just interested in the asking and contemplating them.
Mind you, this article is written from a person who leans more towards the serious, careful, politically correct, rule follower, “there’s right and there’s wrong” side. This is also coming from a guy that wasn’t sexually abused as a child and didn’t think the pedophile joke was funny. I just don’t honestly know if that was because it was a pedophile joke or because it just wasn’t funny.
What I do believe to be true is this:
· Now (maybe more than ever) what we need in our lives is humor and laughter.
· When I put a stake in the ground and say “that’s not funny”. What I’m also saying is “I’m right, you’re wrong”.
· Now (maybe more than ever) what we need is less “I’m right, you’re wrong”