Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Got Me Thinking...

So, yesterday I wrote about the site Stuff White People Like. Many of you confirmed what I already believed - it is just tongue in cheek humor about the stereotypes of White People, ahem, I mean Euro-Americans.

But all this has got me thinking...

When I was a kid, I heard and also repeated dozens of Polack jokes. I didn't think there was anything wrong with them because my parents told them all the time. As a kid, I didn't know any better. Or, maybe as a kid, there wasn't the PC stigma of telling jokes about a person's heritage. Yes, in today's society this would be considered terribly offensive.

Would it make a difference if I told you that my Grandmother was an immigrant from Poland?

How about this: You hear a man making jokes about gay people, no one specific, just gay people as a group. Stuff like "interior decorator" and "loves Broadway plays" and "a girl's best friend." You think this is completely offensive until he tells you, "Well, I'm gay, so it's okay to just poke fun at myself."

Or, like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry's dentist, Tim Watley, converted to Judaism, but Jerry held out that Dr. Watley only joined the faith so that he could openly make Jewish jokes without apology. But when Jerry made jokes about dentists, he was called an "Anti-Dentite." I laugh just typing it.



So this makes me ask: are we ever going to lighten up? Be less sensitive? As intelligent adults, are we able to laugh about our own weaknesses and poke fun at ourselves? Because I think it's a tough line to figure out. Where will it be crossed? Let's see... I'm part Irish, part German, part Polish, Caucasian, a woman, a blond, a stay-at-home mom, and a female driver. How many jokes could be made about me? And, some of those jokes form out of ignorance and hate but some of them are based on actual observances. I swear, every time I'm trying to change lanes and the car in the next lane speeds up and practically mows me down instead of just letting me in - it's a woman driver. And yes, I know I'm one too. But that's my point. Are we all going to spend an increasing amount of time and energy getting offended by other people's comments about us? Or, hopefully, will be get to the point where if the only thing damaged is our egos, can't we just let it all roll off our backs like water off a duck?

Of course, I understand that spreading hate is not okay. But, really, how much of those comments are hate? And how much are they people just wanting to laugh?

And why are some jokes okay but others are not? Why would it be laughable to be offended by a blond joke? But what if someone told a blond joke, then next called someone a "retard"? Or identified someone with a racial slur? So, some stereotypes are okay to make fun of, but some are off-limits? Don't stereotypes have equal access to the joke pool?

Here's my vote: set up a call center of 1-800-OK-JOKES (this will create jobs! Go economy!!) for people to call in and ask "Is this joke alright to tell in mixed company?" And the person on the other end could answer, "Yes" or "No" or "Change the punch line to "I told you it was EAR wax!" (Think of the old commercials for TBS - where people called in to see if their situation was very funny, marginally funny, or not funny at all. Same concept).

We've upped the offensiveness quotient. But hey, we've created a few jobs!

15 comments:

Scary Mommy said...

Your 800 number is pure GENIUS!!! Or at least a really good SNL skit. :)

Chris said...

When you started talking about the 800 number, I immediately thought of the TBS commercial.

BTW, you forgot about the whole Texan thing... =D Just, helping out ya know.

My favorite comedian is Josh Blue. Now, while I hate hearing people make fun of disabled people, Josh makes me laugh til I almost pee. Is it okay because he's making fun of himself? I'm not sure. But it sure is funny!!

I agree. Some people need to lighten up.

Sturgmom said...

A good laugh could do everyone a world of good. So have you heard the one about the rabbi, the lawyer, and the blonde woman...

Kidding!

Karen (KayKay) said...

Oh, I love the 800 number idea. That would be really helpful. I'm thinking that the whole country needs to lighten up a little right about now.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

hopelessly ordinary

Jen said...

You are right, people so need to lighten up. Life is so much better when you can laugh about it.

Jennifer said...

I love the 1-800 number as well.

I think the line is in the same place that the disturbing the peace line is in. Kind of like your right to make a joke ends where the other person's right to be joked about begins. If that makes sense. That's why I just like to make fun of myself.

Kathy B! said...

I think we have a consensus in favor of establishing the 1-800 number.

You should start a petition :)

I'm not sure how I wandered over here, but I love your blog :)

Following...

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

yep seems we all the the 800 number!!!
(I also love Seinfeld...we only have 2 more seasons to go and we will have the whole collection)

anyway great post!!!!

jen said...

I'm all for the SNL skit. That could be hilarious! Send your idea to them. It could get you your camera and a tripod to boot!
Thanks for visiting my blog.
I'll try something a little better after I've waded through all the bodily excrement!

anymommy said...

Sounds like fun to me! I have a bunch of Jewish jokes...but my Dad is Jewish, so it's okay... ;-)

E said...

nice mama..I am with you here

Mama Kat said...

So funny! And so true! I did a whole post about how large black women scared me and I ended up deleting it for fear of being misunderstood. I mean I love black people...my cousins are black...so it's ok.

E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E said...

The girl Daisy, is already paper trained. Charlie is working on it. Plus they are baby gated into one area of the kitchen. And they are not on solid food yet, so it is a very minor thing right now to keep it clean and tidy. Hopefully as soon as they are eating it will be warm enough out in the chicken house for them. It is cute now but I can already imagine a time when it might be...umm.....not so much

E said...

I should also say we take them outside several times a day. It sounds worse than it is.....