Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Anti Joke, and how it can counteract Stereotypical Jokes

So I became aware of the anti-joke within the last few months, because of an internet meme named anti-joke chicken. Anti-humor has existed well before the rise of the internet and even the meme. While anti humor is used with a joke set up followed by a non-punchline. This break up of typical joke patterning is a classic form of ironic humor. The most classic anti-joke is the chicken and the road:

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To get to the other side.

The new version is:

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Because chickens are very absent-minded creatures. the chances are the chicken saw some form of bug or other edible life form from across the road and decided to venture over in that direction. If the road was not there, the chicken would most likely have still crossed that same expanse of ground, regardless of potential consequences.

This rise of the anti joke is due to the fact that we can predict the plot of traditional comedy all too well. So by not trying to hit the obvious answer, and instead actually answering the question with a logical well thought-out answer, the anti-joke hits its humorous mark in that its wholly unexpected. The anti-joke's intent is to be non-funny, which makes them hilarious.

Due to jokes patterning in the past there would be no humor in an anti-joke, because in the past a typical joke were supported by clever use of language, pun, or perceived wit. We have become so used to these patterns that the use of a straight logical answer is in itself, humorous.

Now how does this relate to "Inclusive Activism?" Many anti-jokes are in-fact perfect foils to patterns seen in racist jokes. You brace for the impact of a judgmental hurtful statement given the anti-jokes perceived stereotypical set up, but the follow through is something unexpected and is a harmless logic based answer.

This shows though that racism and stereotypes do exist, and proves we are affected by them. It allows us an opportunity to prove that people who state, "I don't see color" or we live in a post racial society the chance to see that they do in-fact live in a world affected by stereotypes. It also can show how we can in our minds leap to a stereotype, when presented in a specific pattern.

Also perhaps I think this can be an opportunity to counter-act those that might tell harmful stereotypical jokes how the world may not be seen in this same light. It can show that the world can simply be viewed as a place where we are all in fact humans, and we deal with the same issues and troubles.

Some examples of anti-jokes that deal with race and show us all as people are:

Q: Have you seen Steve Wonders' new house?
A: Its really nice.

Q: What is white at the top and all other colors at the bottom?
A: American Society

Q: How did the Mexican get into the USA?
A: Legally on a student visa

Q: What do you call a drunk minority
A: A Cab

Q: What do you call a black man flying an airplane
A: A Pilot

A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam walk into a bar...
The bartender says, "What is this some kinda joke? Muslim's don't drink alcohol!"

Q: How many Jews does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: It normally only takes one person to screw in a lightbulb

Q: Why did the blond get fired from the M&M factory?
A: Repeated absences and poor work performance

A dyslexic man walks into a bar, ordered a beer,
and no one is aware of his affection.

A Priest, a minster, and a rabbi all walk into a bar.
Most bars serve people of all religions.

Q: What do you call a minority on a bike?
A: A hard working individual who found a steady income who has earned enough money to buy a bicycle of their own which he rides to and from his job because he is healthy, doesn't like to waste money on gas and doesn't like the pollution cars put into the air.

Q: What did the hispanic, rabbi, and asian all have in common.
A: As it turns out they all prefer cantaloupe.

These are examples of anti-jokes that when used strategically can reenforce the idea that we are all people, that stereotypes affect us all in our daily lives, and that we in fact are all just people living our day to day lives the best we can. I hope these jokes, although they start off in rough fashions, that they can be used to bridge gaps that keep people from thinking they are different from one another, and that we in fact are all people who deserve a fair shake and to all be included.

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