Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hate Humor?

Bizarro is brought to you today by The Elephant Boy.

It's been hate mail week here at Bizarro International Headquarters. I got a few letters on each of the first two comics posted here.

Several people thought that the Elephant Snowman cartoon was insensitive to people suffering from deformities and found it incomprehensible that I made fun of them in this way. I politely explained that I was not making fun of deformities, but simply finding a funny way to lampoon a famous line from a movie, David Lynch's The Elephant Man. It was suggested in strong terms that I apologize to all of the people who suffer from so-called "Elephantitis" (Proteus syndrome) and after a little research I found that there are about 100 such people living in the world today. If any of them are readers of Bizarro, I hope they understood the cartoon the way it was intended. I'm kind of guessing there aren't any but you can never be too careful.

A side note: I did not receive complaints on either of these two cartoons on the same subject. One. The other.

I thought the hate mail fest was over, but then I got a couple of letters about this spoof of the La-Z-Boy recliner. Apparently people who are related to people suffering from mental disorders, like schizophrenia, object to the term "crazy." That makes sense, I suppose, but I would contend that this is not a joke that perpetuates the poor treatment of those with mental illnesses, it's just a silly pun on "lazy". As with the PC language movement in general, I don't believe changing what people call people does much to change the way they react to them. I think it's a chicken-or-the-egg situation: the term "negro" was polite until bigots used it with enough frequency that it became a slur. "Black" wasn't derogatory when African-Americans chose it for themselves in the 1960s, it became derogatory because it has been standard for decades and bigotry is still common. Eventually, "African-American" will be thought of as derogatory as well. Etc., etc., and on and on. A large percentage of us are jerks, no matter what language we are taught to use.

For the record, I'm not a jerk. I don't knowingly discriminate against people for things that are beyond their control like appearance, ethnicity, mental or physical disabilities, sexual orientation, height, etc. I often discriminate against people for their beliefs and behavior, however. I'm a discriminating discriminator.

Looking for a smooth segue? How could you ask for a smoother one than from that last discussion to this cartoon about gay horses? I'm so glad that our government has finally joined the 21st century and repealed the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If someone is willing to wield a gun to defend me I don't give a damn what turns them on. Of course, it won't end discrimination, but it's a baby step in the right direction.

In summary:
I apologize to victims of Proteus syndrome if my joke bothered you.
I apologize to the mentally impaired and their loved ones if my joke bothered them.
I'm a bigot toward bigots and I don't apologize.
And while I'm at it, it occurs to me that this post wasn't very funny so I apologize for that, too.

So very, very sorry for so, so much.

If you'd like to peruse many fine products with the above cartoons emblazoned thereupon, click the cartoon.

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20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can I buy the bones of the elephant snowman after the next thaw?

Sincerely,

Tito Jackson

Horse that has not come out of the barn yet said...

I am deeply offended by your "gay" horse joke. As a gay horse currently serving in the active military I take this very personally. You should not make fun of the military, horses or gays. In fact you should not make fun of anything. Humor should be outlawed. Would you like it if I made fun of short cartoonists who wear funny hats and smoke cigars? I didn't think so!

Kyrie said...

Oh, yes, I do hate humor.

All these signs for
PSYCHIC READER -
I thought of you when I saw another one yesterday -
how about:
PSYCH-OT-IC READER?
Maybe you did it already.

behrmark said...

The world - especially the U.S. - has gone to "politically correct" hell. How did we get to the piont that anyone with any kind of issue can get their panties in a wad if they feel slighted? I swear, I long for the olden days of retards, spazzes, and dorks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan,
I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you! I also love your comics. I love your blog, too. I especially love the Crazy-boy Recliner comic, since my rather unusual husband bought a reclining sofa. You love animals, too, and I love you for that.
Love,
Carmen

ahclem said...

Yeah, well, screw 'em, if they can't take a joke.

Princess Pamela said...

I'm sorry that you felt the need to apologize.

Anonymous said...

Jokes are jokes. OK, sometimes I do find some offensive (not necessarily yours), but I do try to take them with a grain of salt.

Prospero said...

I think you also owe an apology to gay military horse, but that's just me...

Yet Another Steve said...

Ah, screw 'em all. You're funny, your cartoons are funny, and your blog is funny. I've never seen any evidence of malice in any of them. Some people are just out to be offended, and if they can't find anything at which to take offense, THAT offends them. There is nothing to be done for such people, except to ignore them as politely as possible, and, if that doesn't work, hit 'em in the head with the shovel and bury them in the back yard. It works in the movies.

KatyDid said...

I am outraged by your quasi-apology.
It is appalling that someone who was only 16 inches away from Bill Maher would feel the need to apologize at all!

I’m kidding. But getting people mad is a great way to draw attention to your work and your blog, so… go for it. Start an ongoing insult war with Glen Beck or something.

I notice you don’t have a tag category for “elephantitis” yet, so you still have plenty of room for more outrage material…

Horse that has not come out of the barn yet said...

I'm waaaaaating for my apology!

You also wear funny glasses!

shipping troll said...

I say send the haters one copy of your comic, and a dildo. If they don't like the comic, they can go fuck themselves!!

Sly said...

The problem with "African American" is that it assumes that all black people are African. Since y'know there aren't any black people in Jamaica, or Australia, or the Middle East. PC wording is so clunky and ridiculous...

Plan 9 said...

Safe humor is boring humor. Once you castrate your sense of humor out of fear of offending, you become Jay Leno. You're better than that.

Hermite said...

Love mail:

I found the crazy boy recliner joke laugh out loud funny. My ex is a psychopath. I say it loud, I say it proud: he's CRAZY.

Remember, if you ain't pissing them off, you must be doing something wrong.

NormanLake said...

"I'm melting I'm melting!" I would like to see you post the hate mail you receive from the P.C. crowd. Call ME crazy, it will only incite me to find an appropriate name to call you.(Not "you", but any person). I am always on the alert for idiocy, wherever it arises, and thank you, Biz, for pointing out the world's ills with bizarre humor.

Anonymous said...

...Horse out of the barn, indeed. I scrolled thru my dvr available documentary section las year, and the name of one in particular escapes me, but the program was about animal "love". A group of (I call them weirdos) Horse lovers would get together and one guy in particular was exposing himself (hands to the barn wall) to a horse in hopes of a consumantion, which eventually happened with predictable results. Some of the "lovers" would watch this tableau, in hopes of witnessing the horror. How do you make fun of that particular sickness, and would you get hate mail about that.

Anonymous said...

As an atheist I keep my bible within easy reach. Your last link shows a pic of 2 bigots holding signs with scriptural references that have NOTHING to do with what they are bigoted about. Thus this is yet another example of taking things out of context, or of assuming that you know your stuff when you really don't. The correlation between bigotry and lack of quality education is confirmed yet again. --Ronny

Katherine said...

I adore you, and the Cra-z-boy recliner joke. I have plenty of loved ones with mental illnesses, and I'm sure they would find it funny, too.