“Haha! Get it? Boo Hoo?”
Ever the jokester, I tweeted this “Knock, Knock” joke a few days ago to provide some mid-day levity and entertainment to my followers. Predictably, most enjoyed it. Some even retweeted it to their followers, and I’m sure a cascade of laughter ensued.
What I wasn’t able to predict, though, was the nature of the backlash I received. Sure, I know “Knock, Knock” jokes aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. But man, some of the replies were brutal.
“Hmm. I wonder if the homeless population — people living without doors — would find your “joke” so amusing #knocktheinsensitivity”
“I can’t believe that in 2012, a “brotha” would be ignorant enough to use “Boo” in a sentence, knowing that “jigaboo” is one of the terms of the oppressor”
“How are you going to tweet jokes on the 37th anniversary of that episode of “Good Times” where that guy called Thelma a cheap floozy and grabbed her ass? I can’t anymore with men who don’t respect women!”
An hour later, a spokesperson from the Riley-Day Syndrome Institute released a statement: “As an organization committed to bettering the lives of people unable to cry, we stand steadfast against any affronts to our mission, and we demand an apology for that blatantly ignorant, insulting, degrading, and violent “Knock, Knock” joke. People afflicted with Riley-Day Syndrome have enough on their considerable plates without being forced to read jokes mocking the tears they cannot create.”
After considerable pressure and much deep thought, I apologized for making the joke and deleted the tweet.
Now, there’s a (slight) chance that I might be making all of this up. And, by “there’s a (slight) chance that I might be making all of this up” I mean “I’m making all of this up.” Yet, as silly as widespread anger over a “Knock, Knock” joke seems, it’s not that far-fetched from the world we currently inhabit where Every. Single. Damn. Thing. Said. seems to have the ability to cause mass protest and “hurt” people deep to their cores.
It’s almost as if “daily outrage over some gotdamn words you didn’t agree with” ranks up there with “food,” “water,” “human connection,” and “reality television” on many’s hierarchy of needs, as there exists a people — a people with a never-ending supply of free time on their hands — who literally can not function without being angry at something, someone, or even nothing.
“So, no statement about or recognition of it being Harriet Tubman’s birthday? #icantwithdonothingn*ggas”
While I can list dozens of reasons why the Fun Police are truly awful people, two stand out more than the rest
1. They’re opinion police who wish to limit dissenting thought and free discourse.
Think about a world where no one ever says or does anything anyone disagrees with or finds offensive. To the sane, the world just described sounds like Hell. To the Fun Police, this world is their Paradise, their utopia; a humor-less land where all drive Priuses, eat organic ice chips, and speak in a language perpetually drenched in enough political correctness and “safe” euphemism to choke an Al Gore.
2. They’re all hypocrites
Perhaps the most deplorable aspect of the Outrage Nazi is the fact that the outrage is selective, and nowhere is this seen more than in their reactions to comedy. All humor (Yes. All.) can be interpreted as offensive to someone in some way. Everything we laugh at makes fun of or makes light of something or someone, but the Fun Police still tell and laugh at jokes if the jokes are directed at something or someone they have an issue with. Basically, they “decide” what’s cool and not cool to laugh at. And, if you don’t agree, prepare to prepare an apology.
3. Their perpetual outrage at nonsense cheapens things we all need to truly be outraged about
Let me put it this way: When a situation such as the Trayvon Martin case occurs — a situation that undoubtedly calls for petitions, boycotts, rallies, marches, and anything else that’ll bring attention to injustice — doesn’t it look kind of stupid if you did the exact same thing a month earlier to “protest” a Starbucks commercial that offended you because they capitalized the “B” in black coffee?
There’s a word I want to use that describes what the Fun Police are leading us to become, but because it will undoubtedly enrage and upset a certain segment of the Fun Police population, I will refrain from using it. Instead, I’ll just say that the word I’m thinking of starts with “P,” ends with “S,” and rhymes with “mouccies.” Was that offensive? Probably. But, as a founding member of the Patrice O’Neal Memorial Institute of People Who Won’t Allow Outrage Nazis to Tell Me What I Can and Can’t Joke About (PONMIPWWAFPTWICCJA for short), I figure now’s a good time to make a stand. Knock, Knock, m*therf*ckers.
Damon Young is the co-founder of the award-winning site Very Smart Brothas and co-author of Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime.” Follow him on Twitter: @verysmartbros