We had a brief douchehound visit yesterday from a fellow whose incisive commentary on the Obligatory Beauty post amounted to “hur hur, British people have bad teeth.” When called on the fact that this was a) stupid and b) kind of exactly what we were railing against, he took a familiar stance: “Oh, you just need to get a sense of humor.” Because feminists just can’t take a joke, right?
Here’s the thing. You know how, when you keep having the same bad relationship over and over, people will eventually encourage you to consider that maybe it’s you? How, in fact, you’re supposed to be really wary of people who seem to have nothing but Psycho Exes, because it’s far more likely that they’re the psycho? How you wouldn’t hire someone who talked shit about all their unfair bosses, because it probably wasn’t really the bosses that sucked?
If no women laugh at your hilarious jokes, it’s time to face up to the possibility that maybe you aren’t fucking funny.
Of course, different people laugh at different things. There exists a subsection of the population that thinks Larry the Cable Guy is a hoot, so that right there tells you that humor is not universal. Even among those of us with an ounce of sense, there’s a fair amount of variation. Some people find the Marx Brothers boring. I’ve met people who don’t like “Mr. Show.” I can’t stand “Seinfeld.” De gustibus non disputandum est, right?
But I think one thing that everyone can agree on is that there’s nothing less funny than a stale routine. There’s no single agreed-upon definition for humor, but most successful humor does incorporate some kind of surprise. Trying to elicit laughter with a tired old joke is like trying to tickle yourself — lacking the element of surprise, it’s just annoying. This is why thinking people are not generally amused by jokes about airline food not being very tasty, or women going to the bathroom in groups, or British teeth. Or, for that matter, humorless feminists. This is why you were ready to strangle that guy in college who wouldn’t stop saying “we are the knights who say ‘Ni’!” — even good material goes sour eventually. This is why, in fact, dusty old humor like this has become a source of humor in itself, as good comedians poke fun at the mediocre comedians who rely on dated gags.
When you were a kid, did you used to say “the last time I heard that one, I laughed so hard that I fell off my dinosaur and broke my wooden underwear”? That retort is now so old that IT’S not even funny anymore!
I’m not even going to talk about people who don’t understand why feminists refuse to laugh at the violent exploitation and rape of women. If you can’t understand that, please feel free to fuck yourself. I want to talk instead to the people who get miffed when we don’t guffaw at jokes about hairy-legged feminists, overly emotional women, women who just won’t shut up, women who are princesses, women who are fat and desperate, women who only like bad boys, women who are grasping gold-diggers, women who should know their place. Is it really that we have no sense of humor? Or is it just that you’re beating the same sad drum that has been entertaining and comforting misogynists since women started getting rights, and we’re waiting to hear where the humor comes in?
It’s not that misogynist jokes — and racist jokes and gay jokes and nationality jokes and jokes about the mentally disabled — are unfunny because we’re just soooo politically correct. It’s not even just that they’re mean and offensive; mean offensive humor can be done well. It’s the fact that, though you as a privileged person may not realize the extent of it, these jokes are just SO FUCKING OLD. They’re tired. They’ve been done before, and we — whatever “we” the joke is aimed at — have heard them a million times. We’ve lived them. Heard the one about the busty blonde and how she’s dumb and only good for sex? Heard the one about the black guy who’s a criminal? Heard the one about the fat lady who can’t stop eating? Heard the one about the feminist who can’t take a joke? Fuck you, we didn’t even HAVE to hear them, we’ve been the butts of those jokes since birth. (But yes, since you ask, we’ve heard them too.)
I know it’s comforting and easy to blame your stony reception on our fundamental lack of humor. These bitches just can’t appreciate comedy gold, right? Wrong: what you’ve got is comedy turds that you didn’t even bother to gild. Put in some effort, people! Give me something worth laughing at, and I’ll laugh. But if the closest you get to wit is a recycled gag dredged up from some rotting stereotype, I’m sorry, but my opinion doesn’t even enter into it. You are objectively not funny. You are intellectually lazy. And you’re kind of an ass.
In other words, not only do I have a sense of humor, but it’s a fuck of a lot better than yours.