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?)