‘…if you leave your socks on.’

I quite honestly hate the internet sometimes.

Mainly for the collective sense of humour of its inhabitants. In days of yore, sure, you might go down the pub and trade insensitive jokes with your friends. You’d share that kind of humour in the privacy of your own lives where no-one who might get offended might hear. And the vast majority of people would candidly admit that they didn’t think that kind of humour was right or respectable even while they would quite happily join in with it with their mates. I am quite comfortable with that as a concept.

But ‘it’s not rape if…’ and Dead Baby jokes and racist humour and so on are utterly rife and exploding on the internet. And again I suppose in theory I don’t mind that so long as I’m not likely to come across it. By and large you just accept that there are some websites you’re just not going to find amusing. That’s fair enough. I’m not some kind of internet vigilante and I don’t want to be.

I don’t think photo groups on facebook are the place for that kind of thing, firstly. But again, accepted, not everything everyone says is ever going to be to my taste. But commenting after something that isn’t in any way witty or clever, but is just grim, and which has been followed by ‘I hope that doesn’t make anyone throw up’, by egging the commenter on and saying something like  ‘Are you new here 😛 ? I don’t think that’s going to make anyone throw up’ – this attitude that just being insensitive, gruesome and entirely intolerant without also being in the least bit witty is something to be defended and actually encouraged… I think that’s new. And I don’t think it’s healthy.

I don’t like that I now feel the need to point out that I’m not a total prude and it’s not like my sense of humour isn’t sometimes a bit rough and ready and that this isn’t just good-little-Christian-choirgirl-me having a bit of a rant. This is me a decent, mature human being who has been quite honestly appalled by what is deemed acceptable.

I guess it’s just that this kind of thing didn’t used to get written down, it wouldn’t reach such a wide audience, and to an extent I suppose that also means perhaps the jokes wouldn’t snowball to this level of hate-filled witless idiocy.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “‘…if you leave your socks on.’

  1. Lucy

    Agreed, although I have to say I don’t find it any more pleasant in person and for me “Well, I’m drunk!” in an excuse on par with “Well, it’s on the internet, nobody cares!”

  2. To be fair I was in the pub with some friends and acquaintances the other night and things got a bit out of hand. I was the only woman there and so comments and jokes got increasingly ribald and then in the end pretty offensive and directed at me (though in a way that I dno’t believe was meant to offend). I decided in the end – later than I should have done in retrospect – that it was time to make one or two barbed comments, my excuses, and leave. When these sorts of comments and such started no-one present *was* drunk although by the end they all were. But I don’t feel that I was allowing the excuse ‘Well, I’m drunk’. Being drunk is not an excuse for any kind of behaviour really, much as it may be an explanation, and I’m speaking as someone who does drink, after all! I was more saying that I tend to feel you can say what you like between friends – however offensive I might find it, I don’t have to listen. If it is a group of my friends making those kinds of jokes, equally, I can say to them that this isn’t appropriate and I think most of my friends (with the possible exception of the group mentioned above) I’d get a genuine apology and a change of subject. I can’t get facebook to apologise and only say nice things to me!

  3. I agree with you.

    On the other hand, in my experience, that’s not what “Are you new here?” means. In my experience of pretty close-knit internet communities where new people turn up every so often, it means “You can’t have been here the last time we had this whole discussion, or the time before… or the time before… or the time before…” – it’s about flogging the dead horse, not about not caring.

    There are some places where saying some things is okay. I suppose it’s the context, when you have a whole history that says something is disgusting and uncondonable, but you’re going to make fun of it in that knowledge, and then someone turns up and doesn’t have that context, it’s going to mean different things to different people. There are some jokes I have with friends on the internet where the joke is about the shock-factor, not the content. But of course there’s only so far that can extend, you have to draw the line somewhere, and if something is on the borderline and someone gets offended, the appropriate response a lot of the time should NOT be “man up and live with it.”

    I get what you mean when it’s friends, though. I was staying with a friend last term, and some of her friends – all male – were watching Machete at four in the morning, pretty drunk, and invited us in to show us some bits. I had to leave. It’s awful when you feel really strongly about something but feel like you can’t say anything. If they were by themselves, and it wasn’t affecting anyone else, there wouldn’t be a problem. But I am female, bisexual, and I was highly bloody offended by some of the things they were saying. Ugh. I hope your friends were properly ashamed of themselves afterwards. Did you talk to any of them about it?

    Anyway, essay! In my risqué forum of choice, it’s called Perfume Cap Humour. You probably don’t want to know why.

  4. It’s not rape if… she says yes?

  5. Martin, I think that may be the only ‘it.s not rape if…’ joke I’ve ever appreciated. If ‘joke’ is the right word :S!!

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