Monday, December 6, 2021

Making people laugh

You know how much I have lamented the fact that people seem disinclined to laughing, going by how little they care for humor books. (Mine? Yeah, sure, of course that is why I am lamenting. When is the last that YOU lamented about something that did not affect you directly? There!) I mean, there is hardly any argument that a humorist to beat PG Wodehouse was never born but let us have you tell me about all the literary awards that he won. The indisputable GOAT (Ah, how this thing has changed. Greatest of ALL times? In my day, if I made a goat of someone...leave it!) in this genre and...

Anyway, that's not what I intend talking about now. I mean, yeah, I do wish that people cared a bit more about those who make them laugh but I can hardly say that any way of making people laugh is welcome and utterly harmless. I mean, there was a time when making fun of 'challenged' people was not a thing and, if you hark back to the movies of those times, nine out of ten movies 'made people laugh' by making fun of the aurally challenged or people who stuttered or people who were keratin-challenged. (Yeah, why should I not find a politically correct way of referring to people like me whose scalp is exposed to the elements?) Well, they were all making people laugh but the question is whether opposing their 'fun' is bad.

What was that? All ways of making people laugh are not necessarily good? Especially if you are laughing AT other people? Well, go back to your favorite jokes and list out the jokes that are NOT making fun of other people. From where I stand, those are the ONLY sort of jokes that make people laugh. I mean, I sit around trying to write what is called 'dry humor' and the most I can evoke is a smile that seems more like a grimace. If only I found it comfortable to make fun of other people instead of making fun of circumstances and the ironies of life...The problem with making fun of people is that you can make all people laugh, perhaps, with the exception of the chap who is being made fun of. Except, of course, if the joke is seen as being complimentary to him by that person. Like the ones about the vocabulary of Tharoor or the all-powerful nature of Rajinikant...

And when it comes to making fun of groups of about that? Nice way to make people laugh? All those Sardarji jokes, jokes about are really taken by that sense of humor, right? If you are not, you must be in a minority OR a Sardar OR a Woman as the case may be. Trawl for the most popular jokes and what do you find? Exactly!

You know, the funniest thing in the world is other people's beliefs. Beliefs, by definition, are things that are not facts. You do not just believe that if you jump off a building, you will fall down; you KNOW it. Now, yes, there are beliefs which are outright disproved by facts and making fun of someone who continues to hold to that belief is probably a favor to the world. Taking him seriously is to validate an incorrect belief. There are those, though, which have not been conclusively disproved. So, why not make fun of those?

Yeah, why not? I mean, what with this being politically incorrect and that being hurtful and all, it is rather tough to find what you CAN joke about. So, I was rather glad to find that there were some people, at least, who thought that even the icons of other people's faiths - gods, more often than not - should not be above humor. I had always thought of my own god as someone who would have a wonderful sense of humor and can take a joke on himself. The problem is that followers of icons tend to be humorless when it comes to the icons they follow. THAT was proved to me when I made a harmless joke about the coiffure of one of the atheistic icons and found a staunch supporter of 'making people laugh' jumping on me with spiked boots. Ye Gods!

I lament about it to another person and he tells me 'punching down' is in bad taste. Hmmm! By punching down, I thought he meant that that the more powerful should not misuse their power to make fun of the less powerful. Somewhat like a boss making fun of your English, the entire crowd laughing and you having to act as though you find it funny. But, 'punching down' is a strange beast. If a crowd of those who belong to historically under-privileged classes gang up to make fun of a lone member of the historically privileged class, it is 'punching up' and, therefore, not bullying. Me, I am myopic and can only see that in THOSE specific circumstances, THAT person is the one who is powerless. What is true in societal terms is not the same in individual terms. And, thus, when I make fun of someone else for his beliefs, I may perhaps BE punching down. Simply because HE may not have the privilege of the education that I have had.

That essentially leaves me with very few choices to make people laugh. I mean, I find MOST of the options to make people laugh are either odious to others or to me. So, the only safe subject to make fun of seems to!

That shall probably always be the case. A joke is funny only as long as YOU are not the butt of it. Alas! Humor, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder!

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