Thread: Seriousness When is HUMOR in "Bad" taste?
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:23 PM   #39
LazyScot
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I suspect that everything is offensive, unfortunately. And what is offensive can change both as society changes and as personal experiences sensitive people.

I remember the film The Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin. Was the way it made fun of Hilter and what he did offensive? He didn't think so when he made it; I didn't when I saw it (in fact I thought being able to laugh at him was probably essential for some people). As I remember it, Chaplin later said if he'd know what was happening, and that Hitler liked it, he would never have made it.

In a similar vein are jokes about cancer offensive? It depends. For some people, a joke about something that is killing them or a loved one is offensive. For others, it is the easiest way to cope with what they are going through.

So when is humour in bad taste? When the person hearing/listening thinks so.

But is bad taste bad? It can be an important way to challenge and change society. Certainly it can backfire, but it can also work. At the time, I found Harry Enfield's "Loadsamoney" offensive, and I still do, but I think in both challenging and caricaturing such people I respect what it was trying to do. I believe the same is true of several other people and jokes.
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