These days, many of us wake up to the fresh sensation of new horror.
We hear of republican candidates threatening our rights to our bodies, making assumptions about the very nature of how a woman’s body can “stop” pregnancy for a legitimate rape.
We live in a frightening climate.
Freedom of speech is something I hold very dear, but I think sometimes we use the right to freedom of speech without thinking about it. I’m not saying places like The Onion shouldn’t exist. But I am saying that in a climate where frequently I want to cry over my morning tea while reading the news, perhaps making up new “hilarious” horrors isn’t the best plan.
When people assume a post is real – they spread the information – they then cause others to either 1) feel the same amount of rage or horror at the statements presented to them or 2) are shamed by their peers when they didn’t get the joke. The spread of the information is what is particularly problematic, because the truth is already scary enough and we hardly need more incentive to fear those in power.
I’m not advocating for shutdowns, or for less humor in the world – I’m just thinking that in a climate where the unbelievable is real, the humorists need to recognize the fragility of the morning coffee break, and give everyone a chance to breathe. Label things as parody, or write about things that won’t raise the blood pressure of every person sitting down to find out what ridiculous notion is being shared with the world this time.