- Joke: noun. Something said or done to provoke laughter; especially a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist.
At best, jokes are fake-news, involving as they do a fictional narrative designed to ‘provoke laughter’; at worst, jokes are hate-speech, because ultimately they offend others. It is not enough to ban only those jokes which are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, speciesist, minor-attractedophobic, Islamophobic, antisemitic; every single joke is capable of giving offense and is therefore a self-contained criminal act that must be punished.
To prove this, we will test an apparent ‘innocuous’ joke.
Q: What do you do if you see a spaceman?
A: You park your car, man.
Notable astronauts such as Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova, and Neil Armstrong devoted a great part of their lives to space exploration, opening new frontiers and embarking on incredible discoveries. It is therefore grotesquely offensive to their memories that we should belittle their achievements with a ‘play on words’.
Apologists for jokes contend that, if we find them ‘amusing’, it is because they always contain a grain of truth. Well, let us test this argument. The featured image above shows the fictional Star Wars character, ‘Darth Vader’, alongside a caption ‘First Black Guy To Admit He Is The Father’.
In addition to being deeply racist, the ‘amusing’ caption is simply false. We can prove this is a lie by reference to almost any person of colour. However, let’s take just two examples. Did Obama ever say he was not the father of his beautiful daughters? No! Did Malcolm X disown his progeny, Qubilah, Ilsayah, Attallah, Malaak, Gamilah Lumumba and Malikah? Once again, no! Both Obama and Malcolm X were loving and supportive fathers who would be grossly offended by the featured image.
Few things better epitomize the wretched condition of personkind than ‘humor’. All other species are content to get on with their lives without the need to raise merriment at others’ expense. When was the last time you heard a horse pass an´amusing’ comment about a fellow stallion’s girth, for example, in order to get some cheap laughs?
We need to learn from our non-human species and cut the humor from our lives. We progressives have largely done precisely this and can be proud to be devoid of all amusement.