I like a good joke about AIDS. I mean a GOOD joke. I think jokes about domestic violence, murder, rape, homophobia, sexism, racism, disability are all fair game. Just make sure you can laugh at yourself and that if you’re going to that place… it’s really fucking funny and you’re prepared to stand up at take the consequences like a man.
Over the last few weeks, if you’ve skim read my blogs, you’d be forgiven for thinking I was a member of the internet joke police. I stand by everything I’ve written. However I am not against humour. By sharp contrast, I have used it as a defence mechanism against life, all my life and in pretty much every situation. I find humour in everything. I have laughed during funerals. I’ve made inappropriate comments at weddings and job interviews.
I also believe in equality. I believe that men can marry men, women should get equal pay and racists should be treated to a KKK style lynching, just to bring things full circle. I also believe in equality of humour. Everyone should be equally part or victim of the joke at some point. I don’t want someone tip-toeing around my sexuality for fear of offending me. That’s almost more offensive. Watch the ‘The Last Leg’ on Channel 4. Disabled people don’t want to be patronised. They are fully aware of what their condition is. They live with it. Laughing at the human condition is healthy.
However the human condition is prone to be oh so offended. This is where balance comes in. The jokes regarding Oscar Pistorius hours after Reeva Steenkamp’s death were ill-timed. The poor woman’s corpse was barely cold and for some reason, a load of recycled Heather Mills jokes came into play. Make a joke about his legs to his face. Or go back 6 months when you all proclaimed to watch every minute of the Paralympics and were swooning over the curious site of wheelchair fencing. I didn’t hear any anti-disability jokes then.
The age of Twitter has seen a race as to who can make a joke the fastest. Pre-Twitter/ Facebook era there was almost a gentleman’s agreement that we should wait for the dust to settle. Madeline McCann jokes popped up once her parents had become fully fledged celebrities. Suddenly it was fair game and no-one compalined. I still await the Dancing on Ice appearance from Kate McCann.
However this and the recent Caitlin Moran “AIDs” issue, may convince you that I’m a filthy liar have become a fully paid up member of the Internet Joke Police. This is far from true. Joke away. My issue with Ms Moran was that she was rather hypocritically unable to defend her joke and ignored any follow-up as “silly”. It wasn’t funny and it certainly wasn’t offensive.
I find the whole offence alert thing on the internet alarming. The title of this blog Malicious Communication refers to the communications act which can bring so many of us down on the internet. Well fuck that. I miss the days when the internet was an exclusive clubs of geeks with dial up and anything went. Those days are over and sadly caution is a necessity. It’s a real shame, but that’s the way it is. Fight the system with a racist joke? I’ll pass.
In the last 24 hours, the only thing to have genuinely offended me is the bastions of the nations moral sanctity and probable friends of Cameron mumsnet accusing me of being precious. I await for your kids to get old enough, so I can make child rape jokes to your face. Or at least till they can stand.
Offensive jokes can be utterly wonderful. Be a cunt about life. Make me question if I should be laughing about it. Just make sure you can stand up and laugh at your own shortcomings. Make sure you can stand (or crouch if it’s a wheelchair gag) in the face of the person you’re joking about and crack that gag. Deal with the consequences. Learn. Have some fucking respect in your disrespect. Most of all please be funny.
Therefore I am walking away from my brief flit with the internet joke police. Indeed I encourage the most offensive jokes to be posted without haste. Fuck you and good night.