Generally, humor is funny. Is that an obvious statement? Maybe—maybe not. Humor has taken many forms over the years. Humor has relieved tension, built relationships, and even unified previously estranged peoples. In general, psychologists view our ability to laugh at ourselves a sign of good self-esteem. It is okay, after all, to not be perfect.
A joke is a joke. We all joke about some stereotypical characteristic about some thing or some group. Cultural sensitivity and sense of timing is important; however, there is an “understood” limit as to when a joke is offensive. Not many of us can clearly define pornography, but we all know it when we see it. All nudity is not pornography; all jokes are not tasteless. A joke is just that—a joke.
Sometimes a joke is not a joke anymore. Over the years, our society has, in fact, drawn the line on certain types of humor in certain environments. For example, several decades ago, it was commonplace for men to joke around about slapping around their wives (or girlfriends). Obviously a detestable act, the country at large revolted against this kind of humor. It is no longer “socially acceptable” to use that kind of humor. Wife-beating has made it onto the list of other topics that—though at one time many people in our society considered them to be “funny”—are not a joke anymore. Whereas a joke about beating one’s spouse might get you dirty looks, make a joke about a bomb anywhere near a school or an airplane, and you could be looking at jail time. Sometimes, depending upon numerous varying characteristics, a joke is not a joke anymore.
The anatomy of a joke is complex. Although jokes can only be comprised of a limited number of combinations of several components—people, places, things, and animals—the results are infinite. Jokes can range anywhere between two extremes of a number of different continuums such as the clean-dirty, child-adult, innocent-insidious, specific-general, corny-clever, plausible-implausible, chaste-lewd… you get the picture. Furthermore, timing and delivery of the joke, the audience and the context all contribute to the joke’s overall humor value. Socio-political and socio-cultural norms as well as laws may also play into the jokes overall humor value.
Considering Jeff’s jokes were currently socially acceptable, stereotypical, clean, innocent, plausible, chaste, gender/hair color-based delivered in writing to a general audience of educated (or getting there) people who are charged with forgiveness, love and humility, under circumstances where a representative from the allegedly offended group first passed these jokes to Jeff, I think a survey of 10,000 Americans (blondes included) would reveal that blonde jokes are still acceptable and funny in most situations and under most conditions with the possible exception of funerals and Marilyn Monroe conventions.
However, if we go to the extreme by banning all jokes pertaining to hair color, the following subjects of jokes are now off limits as well: ethnicity, gender, age, relationship status, income, height, weight, and any reference to the size of any body part including, but not limited to the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, feet, hands, etc.; the ability (or lack thereof) of eye-hand coordination, athletic ability, ability to sing, dance, draw, speak in public, write, or talk; all occupations, interests, hobbies, talents (or lack thereof) are off limits, as are anything to do with politics, religion, science, engineering or education; all jokes about, pertaining to, or containing references of animals, fictitious characters such as cartoons or superheroes, pop stars, politicians (local representatives to the president both in this country and internationally), movie stars or musical artists are forbidden; any humor directed toward the deceased or yet to come, the past, present or future, about anything that creeps, crawls or flies, anything below the surface of the ground, water or skin and anything below, within, or above the clouds or outer planetary atmospheres are also off limits; jokes repeated within and about certain industries such medical, engineering, law, restaurant, higher education, performing arts, psychology, theology, and business/organizational life (sorry Dilbert) are also forbidden; moreover, any and all references to any person, place, thing, animal or idea that someone may or may not have an unhealthy connection, association, or otherwise dependence on are also strictly prohibited…
Gimme a break!
In the final analysis, God enjoys humor. Since most of us are Christian, He should be our final authority on the matter. In fact, there is undeniable proof that God does enjoy humor and playing jokes… just look in a mirror. Enough said :)
By the way, I am an Irish-German, short, overweight, bearded (sometimes), non-athletic, non-coordinated, fashionably challenged, four-eyed, slightly balding, mildly intelligent, moderately educated, partially asthmatic, newly Christian, politically confused, middle-aged, married man, who is only aesthetically pleasing to one woman (God bless my wife). I would love to hear your jokes… thanks in advance for your submissions.