Laughter can be very good for the soul. But, that doesn’t mean we laugh at everything.
People often joke around, sometimes on the things that they aren’t supposed to and think that they’re just being sarcastic and there’s nothing serious. But, not everything a person finds funny would be of the same sense to someone else. Though humor is a crucial defense and one of the healthiest coping mechanisms of anxiety, it might sometimes result in absolutely the opposite.
For example, we know about Ragging, seniors poking fun at the juniors at the start of a school/college year. Students have to perform some funny tasks in front of everyone given by seniors. But then, they start crossing their lines and what was so before didn’t remain “funny” anymore. It started to become a process of humiliation for the students causing them a trauma, suffering from anxiety, depression leading to isolation, and an increase in suicides becoming the reason behind making ragging illegal any further.
By this, we would have understood that it’s not just a joke. It can’t be blamed upon the students being mentally weak to not be able to handle just a ‘Joke’ and that there is no one’s fault. Yes, there is. Once people start exceeding their limits, it’s for sure things are not going to be the same. Not everyone thinks in the same direction or has the same thoughts. Everybody is different and so are their methods of dealing.
Similarly, if we talk about the case of a clown. Not every clown is a clown by choice but can be to make money and feed his family. In any case, he still makes you laugh. But in return what do we do? Make fun of him. We use the word “Joker” as a means of an offensive word to degrade someone. But, why even is it so? Why do we call someone a joker, not because to appreciate him for making us happy, not for making us forget all our worries but to ‘Humiliate’ him instead?
Humor varies from person to person. It can make us feel better, especially when we’re spending a good time with our friends because apparently, they appear less harmful that way. You can say whatever you want in front of your friends. Isn’t it so? No. Not always. All jokes don’t make everyone comfortable in the group. As long as we understand this and consider mutual as well as distinct feelings, we’re good. But, assuming that everybody will be okay with it wouldn’t be the best way to look at it.
Then there are bigotries, asking “What is so offending? What is there to cry about? After all, It’s just a joke. Not my problem if you don’t understand humor or take sarcasm seriously.” But then, the same “Joke” upon them is intolerant; humiliation, if not less.
Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.
A study states that there are only 3 main reasons one could crack a mean-spirited joke:
INSECURITY: People who are insecure about something or someone tell a completely tasteless joke just to make themselves feel better or to help to ignore the actual fact that is right there in front of them.
LATENT ANGER OR FEAR: People know that it’s not correct to denigrate someone irrespective of being a group or an individual. So, they crack offensive jokes instead to mask their hostility hoping that no one would notice them being sexist, racist, or hypocrite but for a sense of diplomatic instead.
SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS: People that aren’t funny or have no sense of humor generally become the victim of humor. So, in order to ‘Fit in’ or rather ‘stand out’, they try cracking jokes which most of the time turns out to be worse than usual. They lose their carefulness while speaking and create a disaster.
It can be intentional or unintentional, but to understand the difference and then taking care and thinking about a thousand times where to speak what and when helps reduce the chances of offense and disastrous situations.
There’s a quote that says, “Since incongruity involves an unexpected shift of outlook, we may infer that what people find funny indicates where their ideas or belief systems are flexible." So, if there is something that one finds very funny and the other finds stupid, just defines their idiosyncrasies related to the actual joke. It is not about judging, but the different aspects that a thing carries and different perspectives of what people can see even if it’s a joke.
Humor might not cause any physical harm but can leave a huge impact mentally. A thing that is stuck in one’s mind can be stuck for ages leading to overthinking repeatedly, which might make one’s mind unstable. Demeaning or belittling someone using the form of jokes or sarcasm has no humor in it but just an apathetic attitude.
A joke on someone’s religion is divisive. A joke on a person trying to seek help from a psychiatrist for his mental health is demeaning. A joke on violence and rape against women is disgusting. A joke on LGBTQ and its supporters is disrespectful and promotes discrimination. A joke on feminism by dint of fake feminism or pseudo feminism is discouraging equality.
There are many other jokes that can be categorized as such which shouldn't be considered funny or even a little bit humorous. So, No. Joking is not always funny.