The Butt of a Bad Joke
[Editor's Note: The Stay-at-Home Dads mailing list has recently seen vigorous debate about the possibility of political action to have fathers included in K-Mart's "Baby of Mine" club for mothers. In response, Justin Ross weighed in with the following post.]
Heya all, how are you feeling? Calm? Relaxed? Happy?
Time to change that. There just isn't enough anger on this list. [ED: this was originally posted on the Daddys List]
OK, inclusive, exclusive, parentism, etc. etc. etc. etc.
Biggest problem in America?
Largest waste of time?
Special interest groups.
Most pointless arguments I've heard?
I wonder if this is happening because that final shred of maleness is being torn away. We get upset when we hear "aww that's nice, giving mom the day off?" and now we're upset that we aren't included in marketing groups.
This is beginning to rank up there with 'sexist' jokes.
SHUT UP! Damn it, the point of humor is to point out stereotypes and make you laugh at them. Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps it helps point out our foibles, our weaknesses? Humor points out things we'd prefer to ignore. It sheds light on things that we don't talk about because of fear. And no I'm not talking about lame sitcoms (although they do that to an extent).
Now someone is going to whine about how it targets a 'minority' and how can anything that ridicules one cultural group be amusing, blah blah blah. Right now I want everyone reading this to think about something they've laughed at and admit that NONE OF YOU can say you've never laughed at anyone else's misfortune within the context of the joke.
And no, I'm not advocating racist jokes, sexist jokes, yaddah yaddah yaddah. Someone said 'why is male-victim humor funny, if you swap 'male' for 'black' or 'female' people would be outraged'. Here's the secret: BECAUSE IT'S NOT EXPECTED!!!! THAT'S HUMOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the past few centuries the targets of 'group specific' humor have been, in no specific order: ethnic minorities, females, different nationalities, and many subcategories - blonde jokes etc. As we became more politically correct and educated (HA!) we realised that targeting these people was wrong, so they stopped. In England there was a huge backlash in the early 80's. Suddenly performers who had national TV coverage were dropped and satire became the only humor that you could get away with ... while TV execs scoured the comedy clubs for something that was both funny and palatable. Guess what? Humor HAS to piss someone off!! Especially oversensitive people.
Remember the 'you can make some of the people laugh all of the time and all of the people laugh some of the time.....' thing? It's true, no matter what you say, no matter how safe you play it, it's going to piss someone off. And I will laugh at those people :)
W.A.S.P. male humor is nothing new, at least the punchlines aren't. The context is still considered 'new' because damn it, everyone else had to put up with our BS, it's our turn. And you older guys out there tell me you've never EVER so much as snickered at a racist joke. That includes anyone who is a minority, because humor being what it is needs targets, when we have ours taken away we'll create new ones. WE NEED OUR TARGETS!!!!!
Here's the challenge again -- find me something funny that doesn't victimize someone in any way, shape or form. Until then, relax and enjoy your hair.
Back to K-Mart....
In a perfect world every envelope from Huggies will be addressed to 'The primary caregiver for your infant'. You will only be able to buy baby clothes in neutral colors. The word Gentlemen will become Gentlepeopleofindeterminatesex. Diapers will go back to unisex design. The words Mr and Mrs will be phased out and replaced with HEY! YOU THERE!! Marilyn Manson will record a CD of hymns to an unnamed deity. The 700 Club will earn its rightful place on Must See Thursday, replacing Seinfeld with new anchor people.
You know what I mean, marketing is marketing. Why we feel the need to have the world revolve around US makes sense, but please, understand that unless you're campaigning for the war to stop in Bosnia, or a letter writing spree to the president of India to ban nuclear testing, or various other things, the basic fact is that you're offended because you're not part of some exclusive shopping club.
There are maybe 1.9 million SAHDs and many million more dads out there but I haven't seen that many picket lines outside of K-Mart trying to enforce this thing. It's a known joke that if men had periods then tampax would be free to everyone....hmmm why doesn't K-Mart include men? BECAUSE MOST MEN DON'T CARE!!! KMART IS RUN BY MEN!!!
I'll talk to K-Mart on the same day I speak to Victoria's Secret about making their stores less pink and putting a video screen up that will play nothing but ECW so I can shop in there without feeling like a transvestite. (Anyone who's a TV here, you know this isn't me oppressing you, personally I look crap in a leather teddy ... evening gowns are a different story but aren't rugged enough.) Remember money makes the world go round.
IF you really want to do something, don't write letters, don't bitch and moan about the sudden lack of identity you're struggling with. Take it to the front line. IF changing rooms are only in women's bathrooms then go in there and use the changing room. And so on and so forth.
So, identity is going to be the next rant... I'll sign off now
P.S. Those of you thinking this is an inflammatory post without any redeeming factors are either a) missing the larger point b) taking me far too seriously or c) completely correct. It's your decision.© 2005 - 2012 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.