When does a joke cross the line?

I heard that the essence of humor is making fun of someone or something. I think being unnecessarily cruel for a laugh is bad. But also I find taking everything so seriously that no one can say the smallest thing for fear of offending is also bad. Where is the balance between the two extremes?

In the recent cause célèbre, I took it as a joke. I took Roseanne Barr was not saying that Valerie Jarrett was an ape, but look like the Kim Hunter character in Planet of the Apes. I don’t understand how this was over the line when W was caricatured like a chimp all the time. Obama had huge ears. Or Condoleezza Rice was depicted with huge lips. Abraham Lincoln was seen as a gorilla. Sure these things are not the nicest of things but have happened for a long time and been part of public life. In no way was this violent like the Kathy Griffin picture with a severed head. (Picture link: http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/mp/_jD15cq53Ell.jpg )

What happens is a joke becomes a serious treatise that must take 5 hours of cable time to parse and feign outrage. “We see from this the following ten things. …”  “America needs to move beyond saying things like this.” “Breaking News Flash the Real Reason the Chicken Crossed the Road.”

Why can’t people give back as good as they get? The jokes just about write themselves if you want to pick on Roseanne Barr.  Let her keep her job and ridicule her.  Use creativity to fire a salvo.  Society is a better place when we can civilly joke with one another. (Do you want to hear my latest Richard Easton joke?)

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49 thoughts on “When does a joke cross the line?”

  1. Valerie Jarrett is an enemy agent and a traitor.  I hope she dies a slow, lingering death as she watches everything she every loved burn.  I’d like to deport her to Iran from low orbit, onto the Iranian nuclear complex.

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  2. OmegaPaladin:
    Valerie Jarrett is an enemy agent and a traitor.  I hope she dies a slow, lingering death as she watches everything she every loved burn.  I’d like to deport her to Iran from low orbit, onto the Iranian nuclear complex.

    Are you from Chicago, Omega?

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  3. Since when has calling a person an ape been over the line? Guys are often called apes. I remember the standard joke with a guy with a lot of chest hair and body hair. “Look, I have found the missing link in Evolution.”

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  4. 10 Cents:

    OmegaPaladin:
    Valerie Jarrett is an enemy agent and a traitor.  I hope she dies a slow, lingering death as she watches everything she every loved burn.  I’d like to deport her to Iran from low orbit, onto the Iranian nuclear complex.

    Are you from Chicago, Omega?

    Yes.

    I watched Obama rise, as armies of people bowed before him, offering their dignity and everything imaginable to him. It was like watching Xerxes in the 300 – horders of people who would gladly become his sex slaves or brainwashed cultists.   I listened to the constant cheering of his assent toward godhood by 99% of the black people I knew.

    I hate the whole Obama cult.  He was a miserable excuse for a president, and I hope nothing good ever happens to him.

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  5. OmegaPaladin:

    10 Cents:

    OmegaPaladin:
    Valerie Jarrett is an enemy agent and a traitor.  I hope she dies a slow, lingering death as she watches everything she every loved burn.  I’d like to deport her to Iran from low orbit, onto the Iranian nuclear complex.

    Are you from Chicago, Omega?

    Yes.

    I watched Obama rise, as armies of people bowed before him, offering their dignity and everything imaginable to him. It was like watching Xerxes in the 300 – horders of people who would gladly become his sex slaves or brainwashed cultists.   I listened to the constant cheering of his assent toward godhood by 99% of the black people I knew.

    I hate the whole Obama cult.  He was a miserable excuse for a president, and I hope nothing good ever happens to him.

    Yes, but what does that have to do with this post? That sounds like an interesting history post.

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  6. What it is saying is that I shed no tears for VJ for the reasons I provided.

    You asked me if I was from Chicago, I thought you wanted more detail on my long, slow-burning disgust with Obama and co.

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  7. 10 Cents:
    Since when has calling a person an ape been over the line? Guys are often called apes. I remember the standard joke with a guy with a lot of chest hair and body hair. “Look, I have found the missing link in Evolution.”

    Yep, guys get called ape. Or moose. Trump is referred to as the “orange chimp” quite often by libs. Complete with little mock ups of his face side by side  with that of a photo of a chimp.

    Some on twitter are saying Roseanne didn’t know Jarrett was black. In any event, Behar said rude things, apologized and was back on the air soon. Several others have done that as well. But ABC/Disney is in the Deep State pocket.

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  8. It was a joke, in bad taste, but a joke nonetheless. Bad taste is Roseanne’s brand, is it not? She erred by issuing a groveling apology. Her show got canceled anyway, which was predictable, apology or no. She should have stuck to her guns, explaining that it was a Roseanne-quality joke and left it at that.

    Scott Adams asserts that about 30% of people have no sense of humor. Is it my imagination or are these 30% concentrated among the Left?

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  9. drlorentz:
    It was a joke, in bad taste, but a joke nonetheless. Bad taste is Roseanne’s brand, is it not? She erred by issuing a groveling apology. Her show got canceled anyway, which was predictable, apology or no. She should have stuck to her guns, explaining that it was a Roseanne-quality joke and left it at that.

    Scott Adams asserts that about 30% of people have no sense of humor. Is it my imagination or are these 30% concentrated among the Left?

    I don’t get it. (I had to throw that in.)

    First you have to convince me they have sense then we can take the next step to what type of humor. And show your work this time.

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  10. 10 Cents:

    drlorentz:
    It was a joke, in bad taste, but a joke nonetheless. Bad taste is Roseanne’s brand, is it not? She erred by issuing a groveling apology. Her show got canceled anyway, which was predictable, apology or no. She should have stuck to her guns, explaining that it was a Roseanne-quality joke and left it at that.

    Scott Adams asserts that about 30% of people have no sense of humor. Is it my imagination or are these 30% concentrated among the Left?

    I don’t get it. (I had to throw that in.)

    First you have to convince me they have sense then we can take the next step to what type of humor. And show your work this time.

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  11. drlorentz:
    It was a joke, in bad taste, but a joke nonetheless. Bad taste is Roseanne’s brand, is it not? She erred by issuing a groveling apology. Her show got canceled anyway, which was predictable, apology or no. She should have stuck to her guns, explaining that it was a Roseanne-quality joke and left it at that.

    Scott Adams asserts that about 30% of people have no sense of humor. Is it my imagination or are these 30% concentrated among the Left?

    And the NeverTrump Right.

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  12. Carol Sterritt:

    10 Cents:
    Since when has calling a person an ape been over the line? Guys are often called apes. I remember the standard joke with a guy with a lot of chest hair and body hair. “Look, I have found the missing link in Evolution.”

    Yep, guys get called ape. Or moose. Trump is referred to as the “orange chimp” quite often by libs. Complete with little mock ups of his face side by side  with that of a photo of a chimp.

    Some on twitter are saying Roseanne didn’t know Jarrett was black. In any event, Behar said rude things, apologized and was back on the air soon. Several others have done that as well. But ABC/Disney is in the Deep State pocket.

    I didn’t know she was black.

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  13. Mike LaRoche:

    drlorentz:
    It was a joke, in bad taste, but a joke nonetheless. Bad taste is Roseanne’s brand, is it not? She erred by issuing a groveling apology. Her show got canceled anyway, which was predictable, apology or no. She should have stuck to her guns, explaining that it was a Roseanne-quality joke and left it at that.

    Scott Adams asserts that about 30% of people have no sense of humor. Is it my imagination or are these 30% concentrated among the Left?

    And the NeverTrump Right.

    They are humorous at times though. 😉

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  14. Among liberals, a sense of outrage has replaced a sense of humor. It can’t be good for their blood pressure or their digestion, so the smart thing would be to invest in the companies that manufacture Diovan and Maalox.

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  15. You know what IS kind of funny, is NOBODY is talking out loud about the Muslim Brotherhood part of the joke.

    Let’s have a National Conversation about that, shall we?

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  16. I find Rosanne’s comments about Valerie Jarrett to be more an observation instead of a joke. I mean look at her!! The only thing Rosanne got wrong was Jarrett’s family is from Iran, and thus highly likely to be Shi’a. The Muslim Brotherhood is made up of Sunni Muslims. Other than that, it would seem that a Norelco electric shaver got a hold of one of those PotA costumes.

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  17. I am investing in fainting couches and artificial pearls.  I’M GOING TO BE RICH!!!

    Read my new book, “That’s not funny: How to be a humorless scold in 10 easy lessons”. Check out the blurbs by the cable ‘taters.

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  18. Robert A. McReynolds:

    Pencilvania:
    You know what IS kind of funny, is NOBODY is talking out loud about the Muslim Brotherhood part of the joke.

    Let’s have a National Conversation about that, shall we?

    Yeah, it’s Huma who is a Muzzy Bro not Val.

    I’d be happy to be inclusive & expand the conversation to Huma & her connections.

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  19. It’s possible the Left’s media hit squad was genuinely outraged and peer pressure encouraged each of them to be more outraged than the last. It’s also possible they simply saw this as an opportunity to destroy a voice for the Right (though Roseanne is disliked by many conservatives). Either way, the most remarkable aspect of the story is the TV network’s eagerness to cut its own profits.

    Generally, self-effacement is a sign of a good comedian. Few comedians practice it these days.

    It is possible for a joke to be directed at someone without a spirit of derision. Again, few comedians demonstrate that.

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