A Closer Look: Internet Dark Humor and are we getting progressively more sensitive?

Before you click off, I know what you’re thinking: just another senile person complaining about the youth – you might be right. It seems like every generation complains about how sensitive the younger generation is and how the ‘kids’ can’t handle functioning in society back in their day.

This is such an interesting concept especially today where the Internet and technology are continuously advancing. As an avid Tik Tok user, I do find myself deep diving into polarizing topics in the comment section of ‘your cancelled’ to ‘that’s a stretch, we can’t say anything these days’. Let’s explore this concept: are we getting more sensitive? Will we have to learn to censor ourselves more and more each day?

Dark humour, we heard of her, but what constitutes as dark humour? This usually means to poke fun at serious situations. Comedians, influencers, celebrities, and the everyday person, we’ve seen them use dark humour to either cope or just generally make light of a situation that would usually be pushed underneath the rug. Some examples would be making light of racial stereotypes, body weight, disabilities and so many more. Is dark humour okay? In my own opinion, if you’re not hurting and singling out an individual, I think it’s fine. The issue with dark humour is the lack of structure. There’s no formula to making light of a bad situation because it’s so subjective. Putting boundaries to dark humour is difficult because it usually means you must cross some sort of boundary. What’s funny to one, can be offensive to others – how do you gage and manage these fine lines?

The subjectivity of topics is all personal. Take me as an example, I’m a Vietnamese woman with some mental illnesses, there have been jokes made about Asian stereotypes, mental illnesses and sexist jokes as well. Do I find these jokes offensive? Asian racial jokes are annoying and overplayed and I feel the same way about sexist jokes, but mental illness jokes always have me laughing. The usual argument is ‘it’s 2021, it’s not funny anymore’ and while that’s true, there’s many others who think it’s okay to make these statements. While I’m not here to represent all Vietnamese women with mental illnesses, I will say, most dark humour doesn’t affect me but others might find these jokes offensive.

Due to the Internet and advancing technology, I’d say we’re a lot more self aware than older generations. People are connecting from all over the world and finding like-minded individuals. People are now more than ever sharing their thoughts and opinions and building communities. When you build a community through similarities and who have the same core values, it lets others know that they’re not alone. I think with the amount of information we received mixed with having global discussions, may appear as though society is becoming ‘sensitive’. Before, we never had quick conversations overseas through technological mediums. We used to send snail mail and use word of mouth for most communications. Sensitivity has surfaced through discussions with global like-minded individuals, vast amounts of information on the Internet and progressing in society like usual. We’ve passed the point where pronouns are something that’s incorporated in our social medias and racial microaggressions are being heard and pointed out. Yes, it sounds like we’re more sensitive but it’s actually because the information is being spread a lot faster.

‘It was a different time’ phrase rings truer than ever before. We have the tools and opportunities to learn more about people, what’s okay and what’s not along with what needs to change. If we can change how we speak to one another and how we interact, that’s all that we can ask for. So, has society become completely censored and fragile? The answer is no. I believe if we had all the tools in 2021 all throughout the decades, we may see the same results. We have ample opportunity to speak our truth as well as tools to become more self aware. There are always others who do take it to far for example, a claim where ‘bon apetit’ is cultural appropriation and we can no longer use that phrase in the English language or being a cis straight person is a trauma response and you should rethink your sexuality. There will always be anomalies.  The Internet is limitless and holds so much information, the real issue lies whether all that information rings true or not but that’s an different issue entirely.

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