Is it wrong to laugh during ‘serious times’?

Laughter-Is-The-Best-Medicine

Well, it depends.

A random tweet I saw this morning:

What I have noticed on Twitter is that people are so angry that even when I make a joke, they say “this is no time for jokes,” this is a serious time. The craziest people on Earth are people who try to mold your Twitter page to their personal liking. It’s absolutely insane.

It’s not just Twitter, though.  This attitude is pervasive all across social media and in real life, too.   Of course people are jumpy, on edge, stressed out, scared, and angry.  That’s perfectly understandable in times like these.  But if you make a joke or try to make light of the gravity of our national and political situation, many people become offended.    And I’m not referring to Trump supporters here.

I understand some jokes are in poor taste.  For example, I would never make fun of the caged children at the border, or the many people suffering right now because of Trump’s cruel policies.  I would never laugh at someone’s funeral.  That’s punching down, it’s bullying, and it’s mean.  That’s the kind of thing Trump does (remember when he made fun of the disabled reporter?  Yeah, that’s punching down and punching down is never funny).

But I will certainly make fun of him, and the powerful people who work for him, and yes, at his supporters too, who I see as willfully ignorant at best, sociopathic at worst.   I will make fun of his terrible gaffes, his inappropriate behavior at televised events, his word salad, his disheveled appearance, his malignant narcissism.

And if you take offense because the situation he has put us in is “too serious for jokes,” then all I can say is maybe you need to grow a sense of humor, and maybe you’ll find out that being able to laugh at the terrible things he does makes this dark time in our history a little bit easier to bear.

I think keeping a sense of humor when things are dark and the future looks uncertain is essential to our mental and spiritual health.   The ability to laugh, even gallows humor (laughing AT the evil and making light of it, NOT at the victims of the evil) is a necessary survival tool. Those who can’t laugh in the darkness are far less resilient emotionally and spiritually, and more likely to succumb to terror, despair, or worse.

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Food for thought during these dark times.
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