Humor and Culture

There are times when humor is refreshing and funny for a group, but offensive and painful for another. In this case, there is but one mountain range that separates the two groups. And that is when things can get rather complicated.dylan-moron-480x295

For there to be humor, there must be common elements between the narrator and the audience. We know that certain soccer fans suffer when they go see their favorite team and it loses, and we know that in countries where there were dictatorships, soccer fields were used to torture people. Without knowing these facts, there would be no joke.

Now the problem lies in the fact that when one of these known facts is unbearable for a certain community or group of people (for example, in the case of this joke about suffering and soccer fields will not sit well with the family of someone who was killed or tortured in such a place, even if it happened over 30 years ago). Humor and offense are sometimes close relatives when you do not know the face or the identity of the recipients.

So, bloggers and newspaper columnists receive complaints all the time, especially after they publish stuff of a humorous tone. There is always someone who finds it offensive. Until the advent of the Internet, there was domesticated humor (on TV, newspapers, radio etc.) and real life humor (in the street). On the media, you cannot make a joke about murders or terrorism, for example; on the streets, it is ok and people do it. Politically incorrect, sure, now as far as morals go, who can tell? In any case, nobody dares make politically incorrect jokes in public, while where there are no constraints, like in private or among friends, people do it mostly all the time. Freedom of speech is disappearing fast.