Monday, September 3, 2007
When does humor become offensive?
I guess that can be a tough question? Some modern comedians truly put that question to the test at times. Political satirists, political commentary, a few off color jokes, and profanity do not bother me. Ethnic jokes at times do, especially if they imply racism.
I guess the difference is that it is aimed at an individual or group in an effort to belittle them, or to imply superiority. Jokes directed at the president, et al, can be funny because, even though they are directed at a particular individual, most of us see that he can be funny at times through his words and actions. Also, he can defend himself if need be.
What am I getting at here? I recently was in a Gettysburg tourist-trap gift shop. The kind of place (and there are many) that cares little about the history and sacrifice, but who's only concern is to milk the visitors and make as much money as possible (SHAMEFUL! to say the least). I saw a set of caricature style birthday cards. A few are shown at the top. I don't know, I can see the humor, but I think they are tasteless and highly offensive. Those on the cards saw more hardship, felt more loss and suffered more than any of us can possibly imagine. They were involved in some of the most brutal days in American history. Their hardships and sacrifice should not be made into a joke for a good laugh on a birthday. Once again, I think we owe them and their memory more.
By the way, there is no caption on the Sherman card. The Grant card says, "time for you to surrender another year...unconditionally." Of course, he has a flask and a cigar. Pickett's card says, "Sorry I didn't get you a present. I couldn't charge it." I can't even think of what to say about that one!