NON-NUTRITIVE HUMOR SUBSTITUTE

Posted in Rants on March 16th, 2015 by Ed

The fact that the Ferguson Police aren't smart enough to avoid using government email accounts to send one another racist jokes underscores the vast number of horrible (and horribly racist) being hurled through cyberspace like so many turds every day. Not too long ago, Scott Walker's ex-Chief of Staff was in hot water for sending the following joke. If you'll bear with me, I must quote it in full:

THE NIGHTMARE

In the nightmare I found myself nude in bed, and I was looking at a mirror on the ceiling, and I discovered that I am a Negro, and I’m circumcised!

Quickly I sat up, found my pants and looked in the pockets to find my driver’s license photo and it was that same color, black.

I felt myself being very depressed, downcast, sitting in a chair.

But it’s a wheelchair! That means, of course, besides being black and Jewish, I’m also disabled! I said to myself, aloud “This is impossible! It’s impossible that I should be black and Jewish and disabled!” “It's the pure and holy truth,” whispers someone from behind me. I turn around, and it’s my boyfriend.

Just what I needed!!! I am a homosexual, and on top of that, with a Mexican boyfriend.

Oh, my God …. Black, Jewish, disabled, gay with a Mexican boyfriend, drug addict, and HIV-positive!!!

Desperate, I begin to shout, cry, pull my hair, and Oh, nooooo…I’m bald!!!

The telephone rings. it’s my brother. He is saying, ‘Since mom and dad died, the only thing you do is hang out, take drugs, and laze around all day doing nothing. Get a job, you worthless piece of crap… Any job!’

Mom? Dad? Nooooo … Now I’m also an unemployed orphan! I try to explain to my brother how hard it is to find a job when you are black, Jewish, disabled, gay with a Mexican boyfriend, are a drug addict, HIV positive, bald, and an orphan, but he doesn’t get it.

Frustrated, I hang up. It’s then I realize I only have one hand!!! With tears in my eyes, I go to the window to look out. I see I live in a shanty-town full of cardboard and tin houses! There is trash everywhere.

Suddenly I feel a sharp pain near my pacemaker…. Pacemaker??

Besides being black, Jewish, disabled, a fairy with a Mexican boyfriend, a drug addict, HIV positive, bald, orphaned, unemployed, an invalid with one hand, and having a bad heart, I live in a crappy neighborhood.

At that very moment my boyfriend approaches and says to me, ‘Sweetie pie, my love, my little black heartthrob, have you decided what you are going to wear to Washington to see Obama?’

Say it isn’t so!!! I can handle being a black, disabled, one-armed, drug-addicted, Jewish homosexual on a pacemaker who is HIV positive, bald, orphaned, unemployed, lives in a slum, and has a Mexican boyfriend, but please, Oh dear God, please don’t tell me I'm a Democrat!

When my youngest nephew was about 3, I would tell jokes* to his older siblings and he would observe, not really understanding what a joke is or why the one I told was supposed to be funny. And every time he would laugh at exactly the right moment. He laughed because he understood that 1) what I was saying was a joke and 2) jokes end with a punchline and you're supposed to laugh at that point. It was the format he was responding to.

To me, the only thing interesting about this is marveling at what passes for humor among conservatives. You know my rule – if something is going to be offensive and racist, it better at least be funny. And that, to me, is the most offensive thing about this kind of "joke." It has all of the downsides of something racist, homophobic, and plain old mean with absolutely none of the upsides commonly associated with humor. Namely being funny or witty.

Until a few years ago when most of my family and friends who traffic in this sort of electronic detritus finally knew better, like most people I would receive emails of this type on occasion. And I reacted the same every time, not by saying "Hey this is really racist" (which would be denied flatly and produce an unproductive and overwrought exchange) but with "What about this is even slightly funny?" The email reproduced above looks like it was written by a 14 year old or someone with the mental skills and emotional maturity of a 14 year old. You know it's supposed to be a joke and it even shares many similarities in format with a joke, but it's devoid of everything that would make it even mildly amusing. It's stupid and sophomoric and unfunny to an extent that being racist and offensive isn't even the worst thing about it.

And so whoever writes this shit can rest assured that no actual humor needs to be involved because the intended audience is about as discriminating as my three year old nephew was. As long as they recognize the format and certain key concepts are invoked (farts, poop, black welfare queens, gays, etc.) they will laugh like trained seals and insist that it is Humor.

*Dog and a pony walk into a bar. Dog orders a beer. Pony orders *inaudible whisper*. Bartender says "I can't understand what your friend said" and the dog says "Don't mind him, he's just a little hoarse."