I’ve been writing and re-writing an entry for weeks now about how I feel like the internet has redefined “funny”. It seems more and more lately that we’re poking fun of, or mocking, things that people do or say or wear. All for the sake of a laugh. And I’m not talking about the freaky trolls who get off on hurting people, I’m talking about ordinary people who write entire entries about how hideous it is that people wear leggings as pants.
I’m torn because I laugh at that stuff sometimes. And I’ve written it myself. But lately, it just seems like it’s become more and more common. And the more common it becomes – that we laugh at a general pattern of clothing or hair styling or speech patterns – the more I flashback to 7th grade summer daycare and the cruel SK8TER BOI who made fun of my acne, my hair, my clothes, and propensity for reading The Babysitter’s Club books. That side of me would really like it if the grown-up Zoot would quit laughing at the expense of others.
Jezebel had a very thought-provoking piece about how that tragic occurrence of the guy eating the other guy’s face…immediately became a joke. And I get that! I was freaked out and I cope with humor too! But this did seem…just sad. One of the commenters put it best in response to people defending it as gallows humor (which I used often when Dad was sick…I get gallows humor):
I would agree with you if that were the case here, but most people aren’t making these jokes as a way of coping with the horror it. It’s a story that fits into a funny, pop culture narrative – that’s where these jokes are coming from.
YES. That’s what it felt like to me, too. Now…did I laugh at some of the jokes? YES. I am human, after all. There was one tweet in particular that E showed me that had me choking, I was laughing so hard. But then? Later? I felt like shit. Why was I laughing at it? This was HORRIBLE.
And on a far less extreme scale…we just tend to go for mocking humor more often than not lately. And again – I’m human – I do it too and I laugh when others do it. But lately the 7th-Grade-Zoot is becoming more and more sensitive. Maybe because it’s becoming so common, maybe because sometimes I’m in the group being mocked.
Over the last few months I’ve gotten stupidly defensive about stupidly innocent things said on the internet. Mainly twitter…but also the periodic Facebook status has upset me and made me possibly respond with possible hurt feelings kinda like a pouting 8-year old when her big brother makes fun of her Beiber posters.
“SHUT UP! AT LEAST I’M NOT UGLY LIKE YOUR FACE!”
It’s just that it seems more and more common lately to use the platforms to openly declare your hatred for things. And it seems like every day someone is proclaiming that they don’t like something that I just happen to do/say/wear and I suddenly find myself wondering…”Am I the most annoying person in the world?”
Here is the list of things ridiculed online that I have found myself getting very defensive about:
- The Twilight books – I swear when I first started writing about liking them everyone liked them. Now it seems like everyone thinks they’re stupid. Where did my peeps go?
- Shortened words like ‘whatevs’ – On twitter the go-to joke is that “It only takes one syllable off! Why shorten it?” Um. I’m not saying “Whatevs” because it’s shorter…I’m saying it because I like the word. Same as I like the word “brilliant” over “good”. It’s just word choice. Why do I have to justify that word choice over any other? And even then…it’s slang. Are we against slang now?
- Being a fangirl – Someone felt that word had become annoyingly ubiquitous. And I use it all the time! But it’s the perfect word for me! I obsess over things: Harry Potter, Starkid, Doctor Who, Glee…I am the ultimate Fangirl because I totally go Screaming Tween about all facets of these things. Why can’t I use that word to describe myself even if everyone else uses it too?
- Scrunchies – I know! They’re from the 80s or whatever reason why you think I shouldn’t wear them. But I like them! They’re easier on my hair than rubber bands! BAH.
- Glee – DUDE. People really hate that show. And they bash it openly everywhere. But you know what? I like it. I know it has it’s faults, a lot of them, but it gives my kids solid gay couples in semi-real relationships (they never kiss, which bugs me, but I’ll deal with it) and there’s nothing else like that right now. AND I LOVE THE SONG/DANCE NUMBERS. Okay? That’s really all I’m in it for.
Here’s the thing…Am I being too sensitive or are we getting too snarky in our old age? The balance of Times Zoot Laughs and Times Zoot Feels Sad seems to be shifting. I started feeling sad/sick with every Zombie joke I saw about the incident in Florida. I’ve also been getting defensive when people make fun of people reading 50 Shades Of Gray and I don’t even want to read that book! (Not against smut, mind you…just not THAT kind of smut.) But when I see someone mocking those who do read it? I think about how irritated I get when people mock the group of us who like the Twilight books.
I just don’t laugh as much at it anymore. Either because I’m getting too sensitive, or because it’s getting too common. I’m not sure which.
What do you think? Are we using other people for humor more and more now? Whether because of what they’re wearing, or because of what drugs/mental illness has driven them to do…I just feel like the internet is slowly forgetting that those are people on the other side of those jokes. And even if you’re just mocking me for using new slang…I still kinda feel sad about it. So, if I’m mocking something, isn’t there probably someone that feels sad because of my joke? Can’t I find a more polite way to say I don’t like something without sounding like I’m making fun of people who do? And maybe when tragedy hits – no matter how bizarre it is – I remember there are loved ones whose lives are forever changed because of those bizarre news stories. And those people don’t find my tweets funny.
Maybe…when I want to make someone smile…I should share with them something that made me smile. Not at the expense of others, but because someone created something wonderful at the expense of no one.
So, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll leave you with my two go-to videos lately for when I need a pick-me-up.
(Watch the whole thing! It gets cuter and cuter!)
(Watch the whole thing! It gets cuter and cuter!)
I guess I’ll just try to stop using that crutch to lean on for writing material. See if that makes 7th Grade Zoot feel better. And maybe I’ll hunt down the jerk from 7th grade on Facebook and see if there’s anything about him I can find to make fun of. Because HE deserves it…stupid poop face.