Humour is a powerful tool. Not to the extent where you can consider it mightier than a sword (don’t even try it), but fairly powerful, to seduce some, and to scare some away. A joke (I mean your life), is more complicated than it first seems. You may argue that what is the point of getting into the complications as long as we can laugh and have a good time. Agreed. Now go and finish your homework first. Others may continue to read, unless there is a porn video being buffered on the other tab, in which case, you can send me the link. All right, let’s get to the point (not THAT), and talk about jokes and what they are all about.
Jokes speak the truth. Jokes are funny because they are true and for the same reason they offend people. The truth however, can be disguised or camouflaged or ciphered, but the joke will always speak the truth in one way or the other. Consider this for example:
What is the difference between a politician and a mosquito? One is a blood-sucking parasite and the other an insect.
Now, it is obvious that the joke will offend some people, or the political class (I am still learning how to be specific), but you know why they will be offended – because there is (at least some) truth in it. The joke won’t be funny if I use scientist instead of politician and of course, it won’t offend anyone. For the same reason the jokes on Poverty in America, Buddhist Terrorism, Racism Against White People – won’t be funny (for most people), because they are not true for most people. Remember, any joke that you find funny will trouble someone because it’s about them – for everyone else, it’s just a joke.
Jokes tell a story. A wise man once said – story telling is joke telling and vice versa. And it’s true (does not mean the rest of the things here are untrue). No joke will sound funny if it weren’t for the story. As I said earlier, jokes tell the truth. But it cannot be plain truth. Because the truth is often disturbing and equally boring. There has to be an art of concealing truth in a story. This art, is what we refer to as Humour. Let’s see this one:
The phrase ‘All men are the same’ was invented by a Japanese woman when she lost her husband in a crowd.
Once again, you will find the truth in it. You need to remember that the truth is never absolute. It varies. Like in this case, Japanese will say – no, we have identified our people, at least the family members. But there will be people like you and I, who think – yes, Japanese do look alike. But if I had said it directly, it wouldn’t sound nice, would it? It may appear racist, right? But the truth and social conventions do not go hand in hand, and hence, we choose the art.
Jokes are all about surprise. And the surprise is usually a pleasant one. If there’s anything that can kill a joke, it’s the predictability. The oldies might say – there are certain things you can always joke about. True, but the more surprises you can bring to your humour, the funnier it gets. Irony is often used to bring that surprise but there are other methods too, some of which are really simple as the one below.
When I hug someone from behind, I want to hear a ‘thank-you’, not someone shouting at me – what the hell are you doing in my bathroom?
Bottom line, there is more to a joke than we usually think of. Which is precisely the reason jokes get stuck in our heads for a long time. A joke is meant to make you laugh – that is its primary purpose and that is what it will always be. Yes, it is an art – you can appreciate it, ridicule it, hate it – but this is the only art, which you cannot take seriously.
Why did a write a post on it then? Oh shit!