Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Last Laugh

Death. It's one of those topics that few people like to think about, or to discuss. It makes people uncomfortable. Most people don't like to be faced with their own mortality. Unfortunately, it's something we're surrounded by, day in, day out.

So, we do what we always do when faced with something that makes us uneasy, or uncomfortable. We make a joke about it, try to lighten to mood. Share the laughter. Anything is material if it's funny, right?


When does the joke go too far though? When do people pause, and think, remember that the subject of that joke that they're texting / emailing / tweeting etc is a person? A real person, who has just died. Died. When do they stop, and spare a second to think about that person's family, their friends?

I would love to know why it's acceptable to send crude, vulgar and generally unfunny jokes about a person recently deceased. I know that generally, the people at the heart of these 'jokes' are people in the public eye (most recent examples, of course, being Michael Jackson, and our own Stephen Gately). Sure ordinary people just aren't as interesting, are they?
But, regardless, it's NOT ok. Life in the spotlight or not, death is something that should be respected. Mourned, not joked about.

I shared this opinion recently, and was told that it was 'laughter in the face of tragedy'. I just think laughing in the 'face of tragedy' and making crude jokes at the expense of someone who has just died are entirely different things.

Am I the only one who finds it disgusting, and disrespectful in the extreme? How would the people sending these jokes feel if it was THEIR loved one who had just died? Would it be ok then? I highly doubt it. I think a little compassion, and some empathy could go a long way.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not some boring old prude who can't see the funny side of things, and my sense of humour can be as warped as the next person's. I just think that maybe, the next time you're about to hit that send button, send that 'hilariously original' joke about someone not even buried yet, you'll stop. Think. Remember that at the end of the day, a fellow human has just passed away. Maybe then, you'll change your mind?



Jonathan said...

Well said, Far to many ppl seem to forget that it is a subject that we need not joke about.