There is a line between laughing at someone and laughing with someone. That line is empathy.
Normally I wouldn’t do this, but today I would like to share a personal post that I put on Facebook yesterday:
When one goes to post on FB, it says “What’s on your mind?” So I am going to share what’s on mind, rather than just fun happy stuff this time, because I feel compelled to. Perhaps it is because the whole Will Smith/Chris Rock thing has been so prominent today. I have been thinking about humor that makes fun of people, a very common type of humor indeed. I never liked Don Rickles. He wasn’t funny, he was just mean. I don’t like teasing, because it fundamentally involves making fun of someone for something they don’t think is funny. “C’mon, I was just teasing, can’t you take a joke?”
And now I am going to do a 90-degree turn. I am part of a group that is one of the last groups which it is still socially acceptable to make fun of. All late night comedians do it. Comic strips that I otherwise like do it. It is, apparently, hilarious to make fun of vegans. And if I don’t find the jokes funny, it’s because vegans have no sense of humor (another common punch line–haha, all vegans are self-righteous jerks.)
So, please understand I am not trying to persuade anyone here to not eat animal products. All I am asking is for respect and understanding for people who find it important not to do so. (Parenthetical disclaimer here: you all who are my friends don’t make fun of me for being vegan, so don’t take this personally. It is a general concern.)
Ok, this is really long already, but one more thing. What actually spurred this post, in fact: On the news tonight, they were talking about the bird flu which is hitting domestic chicken flocks again. A spokesperson said, in order to reassure consumers that they wouldn’t be eating diseased chickens, that if bird flu were found in a flock (while the video showed a barn stuffed with hundreds of chickens), they would “depopulate these flocks of birds.” Depopulate! A sickening euphemism to me for mass killing of animals.
I was so upset about this that I wanted to post here, on my Facebook feed, about it. And then I thought, I can’t do that, I better just post it to my Vegan Minnesota groups.
And then I thought again, no I just have to say something.
So there you are. I guess this is my final plea: if you want to find humor making fun of someone else, have some empathy and ask yourself if they would really think it’s funny.