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At what point is a joke innapropriate?

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What it says on the tin.

If you know me, you know that I make a lot of jokes and references. Constantly, all the time. Real life of a piece of media I've heard of, I like to be comical and not take things seriously.

But other people do take many more thing seriously. As a religious person, I have my own boundaries set at places relating to that. At what point does a joke or reference go from clever to controversial?

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When it becomes insulting/demeaning/disrespectful/prejudice/racist*insert more adjectives here*

I typically hate jokes that drag on forever and especially when were any of the above, toilet humor, or just plain stupid... I hate it people beat a dead horse

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i think people should be able to joke about anything, pretty much.

Which is a valid point, I myself am willing to let quite a bit slide if I think it can produce a laugh. But I'm not everyone and everyone is not me, which I were things become a bit more complicated.

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There's a difference between harmful and socially inadvisable. Regarding the former, the short of my opinion on it is that generally, a joke ought to punch up, as opposed to down. On the latter, I'd try to keep your audience in mind, whether you care about offending them or not, and look at how you're coming off (and how you'd like to).


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I suppose in order to be careful about the whole thing is to observe where that person's sense of humor lies and whether or not you can take a joke or make a joke in whatever the joke is about... after all, joking is supposed to be all in good fun

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Jokes are only inappropriate when there are those around to take offence to it. Now, I am just repeating what 2-3 other people already said.

Serious discussion over ):

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If you have to ask yourslf "is this joke inappropriate?", then it probably is.

Basically this.

However...

I have to say that some of my favorite jokes would probably be considered to be inappropriate, in bad taste, or offensive - sometimes incredibly so - by a vast majority of people. For many of these jokes, I would agree with this assessment wholeheartedly.

That doesn't stop them from being absolutely hilarious.

(Note that just because a joke is inappropriate/offensive/etc. does not make it automatically funny, or even make it more funny. Obviously.)

There are some lines that I personally would not want crossed, but I would have a hard time defining them, and they're often flexible.

See also: Cards Against Humanity - it provides examples of both, for me.

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Posted (edited) · Hidden by Shuuda, January 27, 2014 - Off topic
Hidden by Shuuda, January 27, 2014 - Off topic

In the sciences (economics, medicine, physics, chemistry), there are 15x more Nobel Prize winners affiliated with Trinity College, Cambridge (30) than there are Nobel Prize winning Muslims (2).

Edited by Chiki

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if you joke about islam, you're a dead motherfucker

It is not polictically correct to joke about islam. It's better to be safe and joke about christians instead.

Jokes are only inappropriate when there are those around to take offence to it. Now, I am just repeating what 2-3 other people already said.

This is more complicated than it seems when you are around a lot of people, or when you are responsible for a humor website/show/media. Some people are overly sensible to jokes and find everything as an insult, while others don't. Especially now, with all the politically correct bullshit that makes you feel like an horrible person for saying 'black coffee' instead of 'coffee without milk', or calling your friend 'nigga' with zero racist intent and when he's completely fine with it.

I prefer to play it safe, being polite at first and trying to perceive how others' reaction would be. Then I joke. It's way better than commiting a faux pas.

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if you joke about islam, you're a dead motherfucker

Christianity too in certain rare contexts as it turns out. But the difference is there - traditional Islam knows no difference between religious life and public life. Any inconvenience or, God forbid, threat to public life is also simultaneously blasphemous. This was the case some time ago in the West, when the lack of certain civic respect or values would get one labelled a heretic even without them pulling off anything remotely theological. Nowadays you keep that stuff to yourself (if you even have anything to keep to yourself at all; the silence only accelerates the loss), whatever it happens to be, and talk about your wiener instead.

Anyway, one thing that seems most consistent between completely distinct people and communities (because there are such ones that go way beyond what I would personally consider appropriate) is that repeating the same joke all the time makes it unfunny. Never applied to me though, because the more I repeat something the more it makes me laugh. A thing needs development to get better, and humour is one such area.

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It's alright as long as no one goes home offended, for example, I've been in a group before, and they didn't know I was kind of into Nintendo games, so they start dissing it up, yadda yadda yadda, stereotypical Nintendo fanboy rant. Point is, people don't like things they enjoy or care about, or even I guess you could add ARE in there, and when people start insulting those things, they get offended and then a joke's gone too far. Or if you're offending a majority of people, like, "yeah, X people are so dumb because". It works with religion, race, sexual orientation, even gender.

Honestly, if no one's getting laughed at, and here's the main point, if no one WHO CARES, is getting laughed, it's still within alright boundaries.

Oh yeah, and I don't feel like abortion is grounds for an appropriate joke

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When it becomes insulting/demeaning/disrespectful/prejudice/racist*insert more adjectives here*

This is pretty much it.

Yes, inappropriate is an opinion and relative to many variables. It actually doesn't have to offend anyone to be inappropriate but due to the nature of it, if it can offend someone, somewhere, it will. Just because no one in your group takes offense to the dead baby joke you just made doesn't make it appropriate. It didn't do any harm so it's accepted but it's still not in good taste.

I've only listened to him once but if anyone has heard Daniel Tosh do stand up... oh my gosh that guy is very inappropriate. It's the kind of "tragedy to them but comedy to you" jokes that are certainly only funny to those not affected. I didn't take offense to it because I can't relate to any of what he joked about but it was very distasteful to me and I wouldn't listen to him again.

My rule on this subject is that if I feel like the joke will offend someone I just don't say it. I would have to be 100% sure it wouldn't be insulting to say it.

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I can't remember the last time I saw Daniel Tosh do anything that wasn't either punching down like his life depended on it, or being rather less-than-masterful at slapstick, possibly in an attempt to make up for the down-punching. I think somebody should tell him it might not work quite like that, man.

My big gay thesis statement on comedy is that it's an incredibly important and wonderful tool to help us make sense of the world, to help us draw connections that can make big, complicated, scary ideas more understandable and more manageable. It's best used (and used to great effect) to break down barriers, to cut people who might be otherwise invulnerable or too powerful to reach down to a size that others (like people who they might be victimizing) can reach, to regain perspective on ourselves when lost, to lay dumb and toxic ideas bare for what they are, and to give us a stress release valve that can be communally shared; it's something that can lighten perceived mental pressure and help to put minds at ease, even when doing so otherwise would threaten to break the rules of social decorum.

On the other hand, comedy is IMO not a good excuse to harass or goad just anybody into a fight, especially not for the simple reason that one's capable of it. It's not an inherently benevolent or justifiable act, and it's not itself socially immune to criticism. Not that it's some kind of social nuclear option, or that people need years of monastic training before they'll be good judges of whether to tell any joke, it's just that jokes don't exist independently of who we are and how we're to be judged/received- they're merely a tool of communication. They also don't come from nothing- a (good) joke isn't like, say, a spirit that decides to possess us at just the right time and gets us to blurt it out. They come from our minds (as in, from us/people), and therefore whether we think they're funny or not can in part depend on who we are.

(fortunately, that also means it's within our power to change and customize them. like, say, to make them less or more likely to offend)

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^ Whoa, very well said.



EDIT:

Allow me to elaborate.

it's an incredibly important and wonderful tool to help us make sense of the world, to help us draw connections that can make big, complicated, scary ideas more understandable and more manageable. It's best used (and used to great effect) to break down barriers, to cut people who might be otherwise invulnerable or too powerful to reach down to a size that others (like people who they might be victimizing) can reach, to regain perspective on ourselves when lost, to lay dumb and toxic ideas bare for what they are, and to give us a stress release valve that can be communally shared; it's something that can lighten perceived mental pressure and help to put minds at ease, even when doing so otherwise would threaten to break the rules of social decorum.

On the other hand, comedy is IMO not a good excuse to harass or goad just anybody into a fight, especially not for the simple reason that one's capable of it. It's not an inherently benevolent or justifiable act, and it's not itself socially immune to criticism. Not that it's some kind of social nuclear option, or that people need years of monastic training before they'll be good judges of whether to tell any joke, it's just that jokes don't exist independently of who we are and how we're to be judged/received- they're merely a tool of communication. They also don't come from nothing- a (good) joke isn't like, say, a spirit that decides to possess us at just the right time and gets us to blurt it out. They come from our minds (as in, from us/people), and therefore whether we think they're funny or not can in part depend on who we are.

(fortunately, that also means it's within our power to change and customize them. like, say, to make them less or more likely to offend)

I'm at a loss of words by how true all of this is especially the part about using it as an "excuse to harass or goad." A joke becomes inappropriate when the victim/target/butt of the joke is brought to legitimate suicidal tenancies (whoa that escalated). But it saddens me when someone uses the excuse "It was just a joke, It's not my fault they couldn't handle it."

I don't want to be a downer but yeah when you tell a joke you want to know your audience, kind of like when you behave differently when you're around different groups of friends.

Edited by The Merc

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I'm probably in the minority in this, but as someone who finds dark and frankly highly offensive/tragic jokes hilarious, ill pretty much let any slide. Then again, as much as I will laugh at a joke abou Ethiopian starvation, or something worse that makes even me wince, I don't think it's right to support the ideals they portray. I would at just because you found a racist/homophobic joke kinda funny, doesn't mean you support or condone the message it portrays.

(Though if anyone likes some messed up jokes I have a few to share :3)

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It also depends on how well your audience knows you. If someone knows you don't mean something offensively, it's less likely to go wrong.

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it all depends on who's receiving the joke. but there are no lines to be drawn in terms of offensive jokes. it just depends on the audience. you're bound to offend anyone on anything. xfactor is still shown on tv and that offends me

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