"momma told him not to come."
Millennium Fools Day
If jokes were roses then April Fools would be the pricks. So wrote Sartre and, in all seriousness, I am bound to agree with him. But as a Post Existentialist I would go even further: All forms of joke have by necessity a victim and for the victim a joke is no joke. Every joker is a persecutor, a little Hitler, who can only feel big at some one else's expense.
Have you noticed how often people will laugh at a joke that they don't find funny or that in truth they find offensive, did you ever wonder why? It's because they are afraid of the joker. Then there are the people who laugh heartily some of whom will be identifying with him or her (usually him) and some will be sucking up to the joker. Most of them, however, are laughing with relief at not being the butt.
Sadly many people confuse jokes with humour, the difference is not just one of form or content. Try this experiment: Next time someone tells you a joke carefully observe your reactions and note:
a) Where do you laugh from, belly or chest?
b) What emotions do you experience?
I realise that not everyone has developed the ability to be reflective so here are some clues. The reaction to humour comes from the belly. The emotions evoked by a joke is likely to include anger.
If none of the above makes any sense to you then maybe you should read my book "The Somatic Joker in the Pack" (not available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble).
It's time that we all took a serious look at jokes. What do they do for world peace, hunger and understanding. Not a lot I hear you grudgingly admit. Dead right. Not much bonding in "did you hear the one about the Australian, the Finn and the tub of ice cream?" See what I did? It's that easy. Just imagine that on a world wide scale, at this very moment maybe over three hundred million men and three hundred women are telling a joke and each one is a put down. What happens to all that negativity? It does not dissipate but spreads insidiously over the planet absorbing goodwill.
Which brings me to the Internet. Did you know that there are more jokes on the internet than there are people connected to it? It's also a fact that if all jokes were removed from the Web download speeds would increase by over 400 per cent. Just think about that. Happily, a healthy reaction has begun with the setting up of the alt.soc.nojoke news group whilst the popular www.nojokers.com gets a healthy 6000 hits a day. Nojokers.com is the creation of Finnish freeware filter developer Thor Thorsensen whose JokeAlarm firewall should hit 13000 downloads by April 1st. This fully configurable TSR program is able put up a joke warning before your browser has time to display a web page. A useful feature of JokeAlarm is that it allows the user to pre-program up to 100 acceptable non-joke websites, which can be randomly accessed when a joke is detected.
Thorsensen is also spearheading the drive to persuade the UN's International Day Committee to designate April 1st as International No Joke Day. (Day Committee Chairlady, Chi En Chou of Queensland, Australia, is said to be sympathetic.) It is hoped that this will commence from 2001 so humanity can enter the next millennium without turning it into a joke.
© 1999 - 2006 Charles Ivermee