Many people believe that cracking a joke about others provides them a platform to prove themselves as smart. In fact, a good sense of humor is definitely a positive characteristic trait in a human being and people do like to enjoy funny things, no matter how trivial they are.
Unfortunately, people sometimes behave in an inconsiderate manner and say jokes or play practical pranks that hurt others. We must appreciate that every individual has a dignity and it is everyone’s right to be respected.
Hurting others will cause discord among humans and, therefore, one should not try to get smart on another person’s cost, just to get attention by cracking an indiscriminate joke. We have to acknowledge the basic fact that the feelings of others are more important than whether or not a joke is funny or effective.
Though a good sense of humor is a trait that everybody admires, we need to exercise control in using it with wisdom. All humans possess their dignity irrespective of class, creed or social status to which they belong. A joke a person says is a trivial matter, which has no significance other than providing a little fun for a short time.
However, if a person cracks a joke that hurts another person, it may last for a life time and hurt that person both emotionally as well as psychologically. When someone gets hurt listening to a joke, people often say, “It was a harmless joke. Why should he make such a big fuss about it?” The perception of harm may not be the same for everybody.
For example, if a person from a poor background is made fun of for miserly conduct, he may feel hurt. On the other hand, if a rich man hears such a joke, he may not feel anything because he knows that he doesn’t spend money despite having a lot of it with him. Therefore, we need to honor the feeling of others and never try to hurt them through our jokes.
Humans have a natural, inherent quality of evolving into newer and better philosophical profiles as time elapses. What is a trend today becomes obsolete or ‘out of fashion’ tomorrow and what becomes a fashion tomorrow will be a ‘thing of the past’ in the next day.
Earlier, with enough time to spend and not much outlets for entertainment, people have had a tendency of prodding into the private affairs of other individuals and passing remarks (sometimes lewd) on them, and pretending it was a smart thing to do. In a way, they have been deriving a secret pleasure out of this habit.
The latent motivation in such people who disregard the feelings of others is to grab attention and obtain a cheap sense that they are important. Now, with passage of time, the relevance of such trivialities has become insignificant because most people do not have the time to listen to jokes as they are busy elsewhere in a fast paced world.
As Warren St John rightly argues in his essay titled Seriously, the Joke is Dead, “To tell a joke at the office or a party these days is to pronounce oneself a cornball, an attention hog, and of course to risk offending someone, a high social crime.” (426).
In the modern world humans are less bothered about finding flaws in others and more focused on minding their business and doing the things they have to do. Therefore, in the pursuit of their goals and objectives, they hardly have the time or inclination to indulge in telling jokes and risking the chance of offending others.
Despite the human tendency to change constantly as per the need of the hour, one thing will definitely stay constant. Humans, by nature, adapts easily to ‘give and take’ policy. This is a common trait in every single individual.
Therefore, if a person wants to be respected, he or she has to respect others. Thus before attempting to crack a joke to elicit the attention of others, we should realize the fact that if people are offended by the prank, we stand to lose the respect they have for us. If we bear this simple fact in our mind, we will eschew the habit of hurting other by telling jokes that cause humiliation.
From the above discussions it becomes apparent that indiscriminate jokes results in hurting the feelings of others. As sophisticated individuals, the human being should not indulge in such activities which may result in losing the respect that others have for us.
In this fast paced world we must focus on positive matters and attend the call of our duties rather than wasting time to seek out the shortcomings in their lives and tell jokes about such matters. Being civilized people, we should respect others and acknowledge the fact that their feelings are more important than whether or not a joke is funny. Otherwise, we stand the chance to losing the respect that others have for us.
St. John, Warren. Seriously, the Joke Is Dead. 22 May. 2005.