Nationals Baseball: Fine, I'm not here to offend

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fine, I'm not here to offend

But I'd still like a discussion on this.  This is how I deal with things, with humor.  Even the most terrible things I try to find something amusing, not for a cheap laugh but to keep from being overwhelmed on how horrible the thing actually is.  Is the only proper way to act to pass off a short statement of concern then never say anything again?

For those that are offended by humor, what did you think of the Onion's 9/11 response?  Certainly it was funnier but were you offended by that as well? Is it time? Tone? Or is humor never acceptable when dealing with difficult situations?

26 comments:

Todd Boss said...

Seriously?? You're making f*cking light of a man being kidnapped and having his life put in peril?

Classless.

Harper said...

Just trying to deal with a terrible situation with a bit of levity. We all handle things differently. I would hope my initial post made it clear that I understand this is a deadly serious event and that we should all be hoping for the quickest and safest resolution to it.

Anonymous said...

Not the least bit funny or entertaining, with respect to Ramos or Screech. It is totally distasteful, disrespectful and unprofessional. If I were you, I would take it down and hope people forget you said something so crass....

Wally said...

I didn't see your original post, but I think time is pretty relevant on when humor in a bad situation is accepted, at least if you are going to use it widely or publicly. Especially when the situation is as fluid as this one, and the outcome uncertain.

I use humor similarly, but it always feels like some amount of time has to pass, usually coupled with resolution or context, before I can go there. Unless it is about me personally (maybe scared about something medical), then I can use it immediately.

Harper said...

Thanks - I appreciate the response. I do agree time is a major factor. A joke about the war Afghanistan won't be received in the same manner as a joke about the Revolutionary War, even if constructed in the same manner. The immediacy is lost, and with it, the ability to be outraged.

I also think there is just an audience gap that can't be bridged. I am notoriously difficult to offend and in college I once wrote a column about it using a particular example. The responses ranged from "People are just too sensitive" to "That example just proves you're a terrible person". And reading though them it was hard to see how these views shaped and hardened over decades were going to be changed.

In order to get along we tend to have to shape our public persona to fit the expectations of those most easily offended. The question then becomes how "public" is a personal blog. Given the fact that the blog is open to everyone and the fact I've only made minimal attempts at including personal information, I'd say it's pretty public. Hence the removal of the original post.

Hoo said...

I was initially amused by it, but there's definitely a too soon factor.

I'm getting more nervous about this as generally I think criminals underestimate the notoriety of a kidnapping like this. They've done the easiest part and now things get a lot more difficult as more attention is focused on them.

The difference between big wars or 9/11 is that those events are either so big as to be almost anonymous or are already over.

Anonymous said...

As far as the 9-11 Onion goes, it was its delicacy that was truly miraculous. I don't think it made light of the situation at all, it made light of its effects. The surreality of it. ("life turns into michael bay film") The magnitude. ("Massive attack on pentagon, page 13.") The powerlessness we felt. ("Not knowing what else to do woman bakes american flag cake.")

I'm ok with using humor in a bad situation, but it has to help the situation somehow.

cass said...

Honestly, I've thought of a couple jokes about the situation that were a lot worse than yours, probably, but shared them with no one other than my spouse. Just too poor taste, unfortunately, since Ramos is still being held captive.

I even thought of a reply to your post (I was going to suggest Clint instead of Screech) but decided not to post it cause, yeah, poor taste.

I think I think of these jokes for the same reason as you - a way of dealing with the tragedy. But I don't think we can really share them, certainly not on a public blog, like you say.

If you'd like, I can email ya the awful jokes I thought of, though.

Harper said...

Hoo - definitely ongoing situations are more sensitive. There's a continual tension, so for some people levity isn't a break, but a unecessary and unwelcome distraction.

Anon - that's why I used the Onion's 9/11 as an example. I thought it was masterful at providing a few laughs while keeping the right tone. If someone could be offended by that then there's definitely no middle ground that someone like me could reach with them.

Harper said...

cass - you don't want things this serious to happen, so if you make a joke or two it makes it a little less serious. If you can joke about it everything should turn out ok, right?

I'll just have to be more cognizant in the future about what goes to people who will understand that I'm not trying to be flippant, and what goes out to people who don't have the background with me to have that understanding. Just another lesson for me. At least I'm still learning, I guess.

Anonymous said...

It should be okay to crack wise now

Mark in Arlington

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Robert Czopek said...

Just trying to deal with a terrible situation with a bit of levity. We all handle things differently. I would hope my initial post made it clear that I understand this is a deadly serious event and that we should all be hoping for the quickest and safest resolution to it.

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