The other day, I got taken to task for giggling a bit over this story: a transgendered woman is running against an openly gay man for public office in Maryland. My comment was, “Boy, it gets harder and harder to stand out.” This was, according to my critic, an unacceptably unchristian way of mocking a human person who struggles with a heavy cross.
And I thought I was just having a larf. The funny thing is, even the people involved thought it was kind of funny, too:
“It’s strange and comical at the same time that I happen to be living in a district with a gay senator,” Beyer said. “The fact that both of us are LBGT probably neutralizes the issue completely. I think it says a lot about how far America has come.”
Well, we can debate that. But I see no reason that, in order to be Christians, we have to take a cheese grater to our sense of humor — just shear it right off until we’re smooth and harmless. Can we treat people like they’re subhuman, just because they’re different? Heck no. But funny stuff is funny stuff. People are funny, life is weird, and when we’re not free to notice that and have a laugh, it’s harder to find a reason to live.
So, that was last week. What’s the latest from the world of exquisitely sensitive metajournalists? Stop laughing at Sochi! Just stop it, you insensitive meanies!
Taking pictures of horrifying, orange drinking water in a country that is trying to pass itself off as civilized? And giggling over lousy accommodations in hotels that are only halfway built? Oh, the humanity! It would be so much more humane, in some way which I will figure out later, if people pretended there is nothing bizarre about stumbling across this lugubrious grove of undistributed coat racks.
According to hey are supposed to avert their eyes and think about suffering . . . always, always think about suffering.
Under pressure to quickly build a glorious Olympic village from a patch of mud, Russian corporations ended up denying their 70,000 workers wages, sanitary accommodations and, in many cases, basic human rights. As Ukrainian worker Maxim told Human Rights Watch about his experience in construction for the Olympics: “People work, they don’t get paid, and leave. Then a bus comes and unloads a fresh group of workers to repeat the cycle.” If you worked under such conditions, would you take the time to distribute the coat racks?
She goes on to explain that other funny stuff is also not funny, because something something shame on you.
Note to recent journalism graduate: this stuff is funny. It’s okay to laugh at funny stuff. Nobody is making the case that Russians are subhuman, or that they deserve to live in such a backassward country, one that is willing shell out billions on ritzy, pretentious Potempkin hotels, but is so mired in corruption, it can’t supply clean water or basic utilities. Nobody is taking pictures of starving people and going “wacka wacka!” Nobody is saying, “Ukranian worker Maxim is so stupid, he doesn’t even know how to put coat racks away!” The joke is on the Russian government, who had years and years to prepare — and on the Olympic commitee, who, for some reason, picked Russia. Russia.
Man, I am pretty, pretty tired of this “don’t ever laugh at anything ever ever ever” stuff. Geez, the Russians laugh at themselves. That’s part of what makes them Russian. Finger-wagging joke stompers with their Masters in journalism, though, are a hell of a lot less appealing.