I recently saw a joke post about a baby being left in the car and some “Good Samaritans” coming along to save him, only to realize that the baby was wearing a competing sports team shirt so they decided to leave the baby. Now, obviously the baby, though crying and not happy about the joke was not in any danger. At the end you realize that it is clearly staged, and I’m not here to talk about this particular post but more about the comments made on the post.
Some people were completely horrified that anyone could even jokingly do anything like that to a child. Others found it in severely bad taste as babies are dying almost everyday under the same circumstance, and yet others thought that the neigh-sayers were just “snowflakes” and needed to get a sense of humor.
There is a mentality out there that people are not allowed to be offended by a joke or allowed to take themselves or the joke seriously. Now, clearly no one was hurt in this particular joke, which is why I’m choosing not to comment on these actions, however.. a joke is not always innocent. Sometimes people get hurt.
In the same week I read another story about a pre-teen girl and her friends who played a joke on her 11 year old “boyfriend”. She [posted on her social media page that she was going to kill herself and her friends backed up the joke by saying that she did. The 11 year old boy was so distraught by the whole situation that in good ole Romeo and Juliet style he ended up actually killing himself.
This is an example of how a joke CAN very easily go to far. It was one thing to start he joke, it was something else to keep it going after the boy was clearly distraught. The girls in question are now being charged in his death… I don’t know how I feel about that, but I am completely disgusted by the adults who have commented on the page more concerned about “why does an 11 year old have a girlfriend?” and “where were the parents? why weren’t they watching him?”
The whole event took place in about a half hour.. it’s COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE for an 11 year old to be in his room alone for that amount of time. As far as watching his social media accounts.. he was on with other kids from his school not the creepy unknown stalkers who parents are trained to look out for.
There was yet another story about an internet meme of an 11 year old girl that turned very bad very quickly and pretty much ruined her life. Most people would say, “what’s the big deal? It’s just a joke.” It’s not a joke.. this is bullying. And it’s the worst kind of bullying, because it’s not even taken seriously. If someone gets assaulted or their lunch money gets stolen then other’s can empathize. They wouldn’t want that to happen to them. If someone is tormented or trolled as a joke then there is no empathy. There is no understanding. There is just more bullying about how the victim has the problem and needs to learn to lighten up.
I could possibly understand this if it’s done to an adult. I understand that by the time we reach adulthood we need to learn that what other’s do or think shouldn’t bother us.. but these two instances are not adults. Most of the time bullying isn’t. And, yes, a joke at someone else’s expense is mean. It’s bullying and it should not be tolerated.