Humor and tragedy are uncomfortable bedfellows for most people.We’re never quite sure when it is okay to laugh after a tragedy or if it is okay to laugh, or even what we are “allowed” to laugh at. YouTube, in particular, personifies this sort of uncertainty with most commenters steering well clear of any lightheartedness in the wake of death and human tragedy. Perhaps as well they should it’s apparently a touchy subject. In fact, the only post I could even find concerning the events of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in a joking manner was this terrifying video of a lunatic who spends the first five minutes of his eight and a half minute video explaining why he should even be allowed to make these sorts of jokes at all (he also goes on a rant against Christians). Oh and did I mention that this Nathan Hale-esque motherfucker is doing all of this behind a creepy blue mask? To lend credence to the notion of his sheer insanity, he does the whole routine with his face concealed to hide from the “prosecutors and the haters,” and yet he’s got 17 other videos attached to his page where he shows his face completely.
This fascinates me. No, not the mask-wearing moron, but the fact that in the now two months exactly since the shooting took place (December 14th, 2012), this is the only YouTube video I can find that mocks the massacre in any capacity. Certainly much is made from other fools about “conspiracy theories” behind whether the shooting actually happened, but this guy stands alone in his YouTube insensitivity. Now I won’t dispute that there are a lot of creeps online who posted in other forums and venues all the jokes our masked friend rattles off (he’s nowhere near that clever); but as for YouTube, there seems to be, if not a measure of sympathy, then at least a lack of malice. Could we all have truly learned after Dane Cook got lambasted for his jokes in the wake of the Aurora massacre?
Even the Christopher Dorner humor is surprisingly sparse. If we are unwilling to laugh at dead children online, certainly we can laugh at a spree killer and his story, right? Apparently not. Here, the insensitivity comes only in the form of this racist video detailing the various disguises Dorner might have been wearing during his time on the lam (afro, bigger afro, etc…). And once again, the poster refuses to show himself onscreen.
Have we all just become smarter? Do we now finally realize that video is here to stay, and that there are repercussions to not what we say, but how we get filmed saying it? There will always be gallows humor, but maybe in the future the humor will be relegated to back rooms and poker parties where signs pointedly declare “No filming allowed”?
As for the “when” regarding the appropriate moratorium on humor in the wake of tragedy, I don’t have a finite answer for you. I don’t think there is a set period of time. For some people, Sandy Hook will never be funny. For others, well, clearly, their humor is a coping mechanism or a crutch. I tend to be a bad gauge for things because I traded my soul for man boobs and a bad haircut years ago. Anyone know any Holocaust jokes?