You know, I’ve been slowly coming to realize something. There’s no such thing as “just a joke.” The words we say always have an impact, even on ourselves. Even when we don’t think they will.
“Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.
What we think, we become.” ~Margaret Thatcher
It’s true. The things we focus on will become who we are. The words we speak and listen to, the magazines and books we read, the music we hear; all of it molds us. Even the jokes we tell. This is why Positive Affirmations are used by Psychologists and therapists in many forms of recovery therapies; because if we speak the words often enough, we start to believe them. Jokes are no different. They can either bring sharp focus to important issues, which can be a very good thing, or they can apathetically make light of negative stereotypes. We have to ask ourselves which of those the joke we tell is doing, and if the subjects of these jokes are things we want to consider light or unimportant?
I’ve seen a lot of posts on G+ and Facebook insulting women, various religious/political viewpoints, ethnic backgrounds, or even making fun of serious social issues. There’s a serious problem with that. When I’ve called some people I know on their making light of serious issues, I’ve been told many times to “lighten up, it’s jsut a joke.” Except it isn’t “just a joke” when it’s about a very serious topic, like rape or denying equal marriage rights to homosexuals or any number of other serious issues our society is fighting with today. Saying something is “just a joke” is nothing more than an excuse to make the world apathetic about something that’s just plain wrong. Example: joking about rape is nothing more than a way of becoming apathetic towards rape, and eventually justifying it or ignoring it when it happens to someone.
It’s for these reasons I am violently against the movie “40 days” because (spoiler) at the end of the movie, the main character, a guy, is raped. And NOTHING is done about that. It’s ignored and part of the COMEDY!!! Men getting raped really is a serious issue; it happens more often than people realize, and too many men are too afraid to come forward because even the very idea is ridiculed. I loath how apathetic that movie is to the whole issue.
Another example of how words negatively affect our society and create apathy is how people who live in poverty within North America are told to just be happy because “there are people starving in Africa.” Excuse me, but the fact that people are starving in Africa (and that it’s wrong) does not mean that those in North America who are living in poverty and squalor should be ignored and the hardships that are forced upon them are suddenly negated and/or acceptable. NO! Wrong is wrong, period. Someone suffering worse than you does not negate or justify the wrongs that are done to you, and jokingly making light about something that is wrong doesn’t make it right to do or acceptable to say just because you call it a joke.
“Apathy is the glove into which evil slips it’s hand.” ~Bodie Thoene
“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing” ~Edmond Burke