When funny Jokes stop being funny
I have been accused by friends of losing my sense of humour. I no longer laugh to certain jokes, and I have now become a very acerbic person – they tell me. I find this to be true, but not in the sense of my acquired inability to mirth, but in the sense that I no longer find certain jokes funny. Jokes that have roots in doctrines of oppression and negative-dominance – these kinds of jokes I no longer find amusing.
This, I believe is a result of a rise in consciousness on my part concerning certain issues that are rife and important, but has been dumbed down to travesties within our societies.
Recently a friend of mine made a comment: the difference between a knife and a woman’s argument is that a knife has a point. Everybody busted out in laughter. My immediate, knee-jerk, response was “stop perpetuating misogynist bullshit like that”. The laughter stopped immediately. I began to think maybe the word misogyny seemed foreign, or maybe it was the ‘bullshit’ that caught their attention. But there and then, I was the kill-joy, hence the enemy.
Another incident of this sort happened again. Some dude had been posted by the National Youth service scheme to a remote secondary school for his government mandatory service year – a requirement for all Nigerian university graduates. He did not like the school for reasons that I would consider nonsensical. But he was a dude, and guy code (I feel so embarrassed using those words) stipulates that I feel empathy for him and listen to his story. He just had to mess it up.
The proprietor of the school had come to report him to the service inspection officer at the regional headquarters and the ordeal which took place was tense. He came out of the office talking brashly about what the women (the proprietor and the service inspection officer) said to him. How could they give him such an assignment, it was nonsense – he railed on. I listened passively until he said: u know as women like dey do now? (Speaking in Pidgin English) – applying a deprecatory signature to that statement. Immediately my passive switch – as if powered by automatic sensors – became active.
I replied “NO! I no know as women dey do”. That stopped him cold in his tracks. He became confused and could not continue with his obtuse story. Somehow I was supposed to understand implicitly that the behaviour of women in general who stand by principle and refuse compromise – even though it is not always a popular position for anyone to take (talk less of Nigerians) as these women had laudably done – was something despicable.
Finally I came across a blog post by a friend of mine that made me realise indeed we have an epidemic eating the very fabric of our society that we do not even know exists. I feel my friend would explain it better.
When one speaks against these stupid jokes, it seems one is a tight-ass who cannot just have a good time. I find this not only bankrupt by any code of morality ever devised under the sun, but also barbaric and pernicious at best.