Hyphen Lynks: The Jes' Lynks Edition

July 11, 2010



as someone who occasionally reads the print version of Time (...that sounds antiquated to me, and yet I figure all of us read at least one print magazine...Subscribe), I wonder how many of those offended by Joel Stein's writing have read his prior columns?

As touched on in this earlier Hyphen blog post (not funny), I figure all can agree that laughter is good, and bigotry is bad.  Maybe Joel Stein just isn't funny, but I can't imagine that people think he's truly intolerant - as if Jewish American kids who like Dungeons & Dragons are the type to gang up and beat up Indian American kids like Kal Penn.

Is it ever acceptable for humor to be shaped by generalizations?  How about thought in general - is it ok for thought to be shaped by generalizations? 

I don't think it's the generalization so much as the attitude and whether there's mean spirits and bad intentions behind a "joke".  Take Mother Teresa, Indians, and Ash Wednesday for example - with love toward Catholics and Hindus, there's still bound to be a joke in there somewhere.  Like the young Hindu woman, who converted to Catholicism on Ash Wednesday, got a zit, and ended up with an ellipsis...(?)

Or the son of an imam who experimented with opium and got stoned to death?

Maybe those jokes aren't funny, but isn't that the greatest sin of a humorist - to be unfunny?  If you can't make jokes about age, gender, sex, marital status, disability, race, color, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, height, weight, health, wealth, income, hair, boobs, butts, clothes, shoes, politics, intelligence, hobbies, interests or other similar factors, what's left?

A person walked into a bar and said "ouch". 

I say let's live at least a little dangerously, see if the laughs outweigh the hurt, and see if we can distinguish friends from enemies.


my comment - in response to Indian American columnist who questions Time's judgement but doesn't particularly fault Joel Stein - original column also available through link