Sunday, January 8, 2012

I'm Not Laughing: Jokes Involving the Swastika


The other evening, I was having a humourous times with some mates when the conversation turned to Chat Roulette. Chat Roulette is an online service that connects you with random strangers via webcam.

One of the lads in my company talked about how he and his friends would try and get people to do stupid things... like draw swastikas on their head.

That's when I stopped laughing.

Yes, I know the swastika originally had nothing to do with the Nazi's and still doesn't exclusively pertain to them. But in this circumstance, and in general, the Nazis are who people think of when they think of the symbol.

It's connections to the Holocaust are direct.

And it's not something I find funny at all.

So I said that. "Sorry, I can't say I find that funny." And I explained

We've gotten so used to laughing at any joke, these days. But the fact is, a lot of things we take lightly are not light matters at all.

Millions of people died in the Holocaust.
Millions.
They estimate around six million Jews died, plus a million more.

Does that number not rattle you?
It is inconceivable, to me, that that even occurred.

And it was brought upon by people who chose the swastika to represent themselves. And because of that, I find there to be nothing, nothing worth laughing about when it comes to that mark.

When someone makes a joke about something that isn't, in any way, funny, I think we ought to actually call them out on it. Not in a way to bring shame - but to alert them. Many people aren't aware or haven't given much thought to their actions. They don't realize that they're being offensive. I'm not for being over-sensitive and easily-offended, that's annoying - but when words step out of bounds, it's ok to speak up about them. We should speak up about them. There are things worth laughing about and others that you should never joke about.

2 comments:

  1. I feel the same way you do on this issue and others. I hate how some jokes have become "socially acceptable", even though they're far from it.

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  2. I think it's the context of the joke that matters. George Carlin said that ANYTHING can be turned into a joke... it depends on what the exaggeration is and what is the context of the joke. When Mel Brooks made a film called THE PRODUCERS he dressed in Nazi garb and even portrayed Hitler. Some may find this offensive on the surface level, and the shock is what draws you in to look deeper at the context of the joke. The more we parody Nazi though and theory, the more it robs the Nazis of any power they had over us.

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Your words make me grin.

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