An important part of growing up for me was the teasing matches we had. It was an opportunity to show how creative you could get. Many nicknames arose from those sessions. Size didn’t matter, age didn’t matter. If you chose to take part, then you were fair game. There was always the warning of “if you know say you go cry, no follow talk o.” We also had an unwritten rule that you didn’t beat someone up just because they gave you a good ‘wording’. Try it and you got excommunicated from the community of neighbourhood children.
If I were to have been born in the last ten years, this activity would have been labeled harmful to my self-esteem and the kids involved would have been termed ‘bullies’ (I wonder how that would have worked because it’d have meant we would all be victims and perpetrators at the same time).
That was before I came into contact with ‘Political Correctness.’ I couldn’t say the truth about someone to them because “you just don’t say stuff like that to someone’s face.” But it was okay to say it behind their backs. Or I had to wrap what I had to say under layers and layers of polite sounding words. Now, the line between being blunt/truthful and rude is a wriggly one. But I believe that hardwired into every human being is the ability to sieve through information and know when someone is ridiculing you because they’re petty and when they’re not. Unfortunately, that ability, along with the one that detects bullshit, seems to be fast disappearing from humans. I listen to conversations among my peers and read discussions on social media and I’m sad. We’re so busy making sure we don’t step on anyone’s toes we’ve become great at dancing around the truth. Take ‘fat’ for instance. A more acceptable word is ‘big-boned’. I wonder where the bones are when all I can see is jiggling. Unless bones jiggle. Someone makes a grammatical error and you correct them and you’re the bad guy because well, poor grammar is cool (in the name of text speak).
All of a sudden, I feel like I’m surrounded by too many sissies; sissies that can’t take the truth, even when it’s presented as satire, which is interesting when it’s done right. It’s fresh, funny and truthful. Not everyone gets it but what annoys me is when someone gets that what he is reading is satire and still proceeds to leave a scathing comment; either insulting the writer or warning against ‘corrupting the next generation.’ Why pay money for tickets to a comedy show if you’ll end up looking for reasons not to laugh?
But we have to protect the weak among us. It’s one of the things being adults is about, having an internal filter so you don’t inadvertently hurt others with your words (or drive them to suicide). I understand this, and I accept that diplomacy, as tasteless as the word is in my mouth, is an important part of our lives. Let’s not however in the name of being diplomatic take all the fun out of words, all the joy out of jokes. Let’s not become the people that find something funny but have to look around to see if others are laughing before we laugh.
NOTE: 1) Bullying is a terrible thing and I don’t condone it among children or adults. 2) Hiding a wicked intent to hurt someone or make them feel bad behind honesty is a no no. 3) There are people who are overweight because of health issues, I recognise that. 4) There are people who can’t speak ‘good English’ because they didn’t have the opportunity for formal education like I did, I recognise that 5) There are some really bad jokes and really bad satire. Even I would tell the writer/comedian off; without resorting to insults. 6) I hope I’ve covered all my bases, if I haven’t please feel free to point them out.