Monday, April 16, 2007

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That!

"Humor is a very serious thing. I like to think of it as one of our greatest earliest natural resources, which must be preserved at all cost."

-James Thurber

Well, humor has taken quite a beating this week... hasn't it? The whole mess with Don Imus, and those ill advised "humorous" remarks he made have caused quite a stir. It has brought about a national debate about race relations, sexism, and what constitutes "poetic license," in America. What weight do our words carry? Does it matter if we speak them or sing them? Is it acceptable for a certain race to utter raciest and demeaning words, if it is referring to their own race? Where are the lines drawn?I have been thinking about all the dynamics of the situation with Imus, and I have to say, in that particular case, I keep going back to one of my favorite quotes...

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

-Eleanore Roosevelt

I am a Woman, a Democrat, a Liberal, a Christian, and a Housewife. I am Short, Caucasian, and I have big BOOBS. All things which are the subject of humor from time to time. Is it insensitive? Yes. Does it hurt my feelings? Not too often. Sometimes, something will be said that will strike a cord in me, and I will feel sad, mostly because it can be frustrating to feel like I am being defined by whatever stereotype that is being flung at me. On the other hand, I have seen the humor in every one of the above examples of what describes me, because I can see the truth in the joke. There has to be some truth in most humor, to make a joke truly funny. All those things on their own, do not define me. I am also creative, intelligent, funny, caring, sarcastic, and Jewish.

LOL. I am Jewish. I found out that little bit of information when I was 36. That was quite a day. Seems that my mother, who had suffered from mental illness her whole life, decided not to share with me or my siblings that little fact. Sigh. I laughed that day, at how funny life can be sometimes, and I cried a bit about how sad life can be sometimes. Life is both. In almost every situation, we have both comedy and tragedy. That's Life. Life, on it's own, will never change people who are consumed with hate. It will never change the sexist man or woman, who refuse to consider the other human in the dynamic. It will never stop someone from remarking on our personal appearance, if they feel we don't fall into a perfect mold of perfection, at least by their standards. So, what's a human to do?

Well, to begin with, we need to stop wasting time allowing ourselves to be victims. There's a reason I didn't listen to Don Imus very often, I simply didn't care to listen or watch him when he aired. Others offend me on a regular basis. Bill O'Reilly for example. He does a "serious" news show. He, in my opinion, is mean spirited and nasty. He has said things I believe could be interpreted as treasonous. I wouldn't mind seeing him kicked off the air, but I have to admit, it's because I am tired of his big mouth, not because I feel he doesn't have a right to say whatever stupid thing he wants, unless of course, it is truly treasonous, which apparently is in the eye of the beholder, a lot like humor is.

I think Don Imus should have apologized to the Rutger's Women's Basketball team, because what he said was hurtful, especially considering their vast accomplishments, but it should have been left between those ladies and Imus. Al Sharpton had no place getting involved. Those ladies didn't need a champion to act for them, they are strong enough to stand up and say... "No Mr. Imus... we want an apology, you went too far!" I think they showed a great deal of courage and grace to accept his apology... I can't say the same for Rev. Sharpton. To ask for an apology, then refuse to accept it, is a slap in the face to God. It is a fundamental responsibility as a Christian to forgive. As a human, it is the first step in healing, after we have been hurt by another. I can tell you from deep personal experience, true healing begins, when you allow forgiveness to take place. It took a lot of character on Imus's part to admit he was wrong, and offer an apology in earnest. He was sorry... and he meant it. How often will someone admit they were wrong, let along say, "I'm sorry."

I was the victim of a crime a few years ago. Everything changed for me overnight. I was sad, scared, and as a result of my experience, I climbed inside myself and closed off the world. I hurt so bad, I stopped feeling all together. I wished Elvis would run away, because I couldn't bring myself to care whether he was here or not. I pushed Alan away, I pushed my friends away. I stopped leaving my own house, because I was so afraid that I might be hurt again. I made myself a victim. Any time we allow the actions of another, to change how we feel about ourselves, or diminish our plans for a happy and fulfilled life, we become victims. If I were to advise the Rutger's girls, I would tell them that, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Stand up for yourselves, ask for an apology and then move on with your life, safe in your own knowledge of your own self worth.

My humor runs the gambit. I find a lot of different things funny. I make some folks who visit me here on Ellipsis laugh, and I have gotten emails from some who have been offended by me. What can I do? Some times I have put myself in the other persons shoes and try to see why, or how they were offended. Sometimes I have gotten my feelings hurt, after all, I am not out to hurt anyone when I attempt humor, but in actuality, I have no control over how my words will be interpreted. Humor, beauty, politics, hatred, and life are in the eye of the beholder, we have the right to tune out what offends us, but who do we want in charge of our thoughts? Who has the right to tell us what's funny or not? Who has the right to tell us what to feel and when to feel it? And who dictates what defines us individually? I don't think we Americans are playing the "race" card or the "sexist" card as much as we are playing the "victim," card.

***On a lighter note, there is a new poll on my sidebar. Go take it. It is a simple poll about which comedian makes us laugh the most. :) For the results of last months poll, "Who Had The Best Hair Style Ever" click here.


1 comment:

deslily said...

i don't think Imus should have been fired. He was hired as a shock jock 30 yrs ago and has done so all that time.. he has always said things that turned me off and so I stopped hearing him when I was young! Everyone has that option to turn him off.
He did appologize right away..
you are right Sharpton had no place in this one.

it's not right to fire someone over a slur that was appologized for. If that is the case what about the slurs to others? to religons? to other races?.. those were all ok, and now he gets fired? nope. I don't like the man, don't like what he said, but nope fire him for ALL he's done or ignor it like all the millions of other slurs he's said and done.