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Thread: Morbid Humor

  1. #11
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    Morbid, disturbing, absurd, offensive or all at once? (Don't click the link if you're easily offended people. No blood and gore, but it's still "wrong". (One of the naked running children of 'nam , holding hands with Ronald McD and Mickey.)
    http://www.intpcentral.com/uploads/feeling5.jpg
    OK, here is where my question arises.

    I don't think that pic is at all funny. A person that finds humor in that is sick and twisted. But what annoys the HELL out of me is if I say that picture is offensive I'm being the uptight asshole (at least according to some people here).

    Deconstructing the picture I can understand why someone may find that amusing. A young woman walking around naked probably in pain, suffering, humiliated, anguished during a war while holding the hands of the very symbols of childhood innocence. Yeah ha ha ha, it's funny.

    I've got no sense of humor.

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    Senior Member JustDave's Avatar
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    We are all guilty.

    Some of us need to be more considerate of the feelings of our forum members. And others should be more patient and understanding.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    There are several people on the forum who use morbid humor very well like Mort Belfry. Others I just want to take an acid rinse and wonder if they're truly joking or wrapping their seriousness in humor to make it more palatable.

    What differentiates this brand of humor from others? What is it's purpose?
    It aims to disturb, and make you laugh, and the fact that you find it funny, is usually disturbing to you. So you remember it. That is how it serves its point. It made you think and question your boundaries?

    Personally, an example today in popular culture would be Tim Burton's films.

    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    OK, here is where my question arises.

    I don't think that pic is at all funny. A person that finds humor in that is sick and twisted. But what annoys the HELL out of me is if I say that picture is offensive I'm being the uptight asshole (at least according to some people here).

    Deconstructing the picture I can understand why someone may find that amusing. A young woman walking around naked probably in pain, suffering, humiliated, anguished during a war while holding the hands of the very symbols of childhood innocence. Yeah ha ha ha, it's funny.

    I've got no sense of humor.
    Nothing - I wouldn't say you're uptight. (Oh dear, does that mean I am).

    I found that disgusting actually. Perhaps part of it is cultural too - have been to Vietnam, seen, spoke with the generation and their children who lost families etc in that war.

    The fact that American symbols are used there, when they were the ones who dropped Agent Orange on the girl running naked in pain, and are holding her hands, can be construed as a mockery of the Americans who always cast themselves into the role of the hero, perhaps. When in this case, they were the Judas goat betraying those who needed protection?

    I don't know.

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    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    OK, here is where my question arises.

    I don't think that pic is at all funny. A person that finds humor in that is sick and twisted.
    I don't see why, but I guess I'm sick and twisted then. As are the people at somethingawful.com which I believe is where I found it. It makes me wonder what term I should be using for the people who do really sick and twisted things though. Maybe we're all one huge group of deviants who should be put out of our misery.

    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    But what annoys the HELL out of me is if I say that picture is offensive I'm being the uptight asshole (at least according to some people here).
    Well, I wouldn't think of you as uptight for not liking the pic, but I do if you think your opinion and interpretation is the only possible and valid one.

    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Deconstructing the picture I can understand why someone may find that amusing. A young woman walking around naked probably in pain, suffering, humiliated, anguished during a war while holding the hands of the very symbols of childhood innocence. Yeah ha ha ha, it's funny.
    Yes, that's part of it. It's also got a political subtext. American cultural, economic and military imperialism, the running girl in Vietnam being the symbol of the military kind and Mickey and McD the cultural and economic kind. Not everyone in the world associates Mickey and McD with childhood innocence.


    Edit: Ah, elfinchilde snuck in and covered it better than me.
    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I've got no sense of humor.
    That's the thing. You've got a different sense of humor, but that doesn't mean others won't or shouldn't find this kind of humor funny.
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I don't think that pic is at all funny. A person that finds humor in that is sick and twisted. But what annoys the HELL out of me is if I say that picture is offensive I'm being the uptight asshole (at least according to some people here).
    I think your judgment has some validity if you think they're laughing at the pain of the poor girl in the middle. I don't find that part of it funny at all.

    What makes me laugh (in a very dry way) is that the images are entirely discordant and do NOT belong together whatsoever. They're entirely inappropriate.

    I think this is a style of humor you overlook. I guess it is more of an impersonal/intellectualized style.

    When I look at that picture, I can laugh at it AND be offended by it all at once.

    But even then, context still matters. Because Carebear linked to it (and warned people up front), his intentions seemed to be not to offend. So I look at it in that vein.

    If someone else who simply likes to shock people and has no seeming regard for feelings posted it as part of their onslaught, I would probably read it as offensive.

    And it were brought up purposefully to show a vietnamese orphan or someone who survived a bombing of their hometown as a child, it would be sadistic.

    Humor's a slippery thing, isn't it?

    I think if anyone would judge you as humorless/uptight (as per your quote above), it would not be based on you perceiving the offensive qualities of this particular cartoon but for failing to recognize (or not caring to recognize) that there other ways to look at it (more impersonal) that are not directed hatefully towards others.

    It's like laughing at the absurdity of a tragedy in life, even if you really don't find it funny on the emotional level. Absurdity, incongruity, dissonance all can evoke a normal "humor" reaction in some sorts of people who are still mature and sensitive. I don't know -- have you ever had that sort of reaction to something just god-awful you see or hear on the news... because it's so crazy, so absurd, so ridiculous that it never should have happened?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    I don't see why, but I guess I'm sick and twisted then. As are the people at somethingawful.com which I believe is where I found it. It makes me wonder what term I should be using for the people who do really sick and twisted things though. Maybe we're all one huge group of deviants who should be put out of our misery.
    So back to my original question: what is the purpose of morbid humor? Is it some more evolved type of humor? What is the pscyhology of people who find humor in disturbing images and tragedy? Better coping mechanisms or is it indicative of something sinister?

    I used to visit somethingawful.com in high school through my sophomore year in college. I guess I just outgrew it. Awfulplasticsurgery.com and perezhilton.com are more my tastes currently. Could be the same humor in some respects.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    So back to my original question: what is the purpose of morbid humor? Is it some more evolved type of humor? What is the pscyhology of people who find humor in disturbing images and tragedy? Better coping mechanisms or is it indicative of something sinister?
    I think that as a coping mechanism would definitely be one purpose. I was an EMT for a while and there was a large amount of morbid humor around. It was really the only way to deal with some of the issues we encountered and not break down. It was a release and a way to put things in a different context.


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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    So back to my original question: what is the purpose of morbid humor? Is it some more evolved type of humor? What is the pscyhology of people who find humor in disturbing images and tragedy? Better coping mechanisms or is it indicative of something sinister?
    I would not call it 'evolved' because that makes it sound like it's "better" than another type.

    And I think you still need to distinguish among the motivations of the people who laugh at it.

    I think it's cathartic for some. You have to laugh, to get over it, or you'd bottle it up or cry instead.

    Gorey was a funny one. In all accounts, he was a nice old man who loved children. But some of his art was dreadful in concept.

    I've got an inkling that even Theodor Geisel had a morbid sense of humor in his private life. (The whole Vulture/Wickersham Brothers thing out of Horton shows a deep and intuitive understanding of social cruelty, as do many of his other works.)

    Awfulplasticsurgery.com and perezhilton.com are more my tastes currently. Could be the same humor in some respects.
    Monster!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by BryNTP View Post
    I think that as a coping mechanism would definitely be one purpose. I was an EMT for a while and there was a large amount of morbid humor around. It was really the only way to deal with some of the issues we encountered and not break down. It was a release and put things in a different context.
    Yes, I can really see that.

    I have a book (I forgot the title) that reviews US national joke patterns through the last 50 years (maybe a little earlier). It covers all the main ones.. the red/commie jokes, the black jokes, polish jokes, blonde jokes, dead baby jokes, "Cucumbers are better than men" jokes, and so forth.

    One of the beliefs of the authors was that ambiguous fears are hard for people to deal with, so society relieves its stress by creating these particular types of jokes until the anxiety passes.

    Anyway, I could only guess at the sort of humor that goes on in the private corners of the ER.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #19
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    So back to my original question: what is the purpose of morbid humor? Is it some more evolved type of humor? What is the pscyhology of people who find humor in disturbing images and tragedy? Better coping mechanisms or is it indicative of something sinister?
    Quote Originally Posted by BryNTP View Post
    I think that as a coping mechanism would definitely be one purpose. I was an EMT for a while and there was a large amount of morbid humor around. It was really the only way to deal with some of the issues we encountered and not break down. It was a release and put things in a different context.
    Yes, coping is an important part of it. Since my political view is that the War on Terror a scam and in reality fueled by imperialist ideologies (combined with the personal greed of a few, incompetence, arrogance etc) I'm appalled every time I hear that Iraquis, Afghans or Americans die as a result from it. Laughing at humor directed at the cause of the deaths relieves some of my anger and since the things I'm silently raging against is so horrifying and serious, the humor has to be a bit morbid for me to feel it helps. (The iRack sketch is funny as hell, but doesn't really work to lessen my anger at the situation.) I guess laughing at very morbid things could be indicative of something sinister, but often you'll find that there's nothing sinister about them and that the thing they find funny lie on a deeper level than the immediately obvious. For instance, I'm not laughing at the tragedy of the girl, I'm laughing at the subtext and the absurdity.

    Also: The fact that I'm not the only one who finds the image funny tells me I'm not alone in my situation. Others find the political subtext funny too. IOW I'm not alone. The social function of humor has always been an important part of it. You laugh at a person sliding on a banana peel to tell people you're not in the clumsy group. And at Mr. Bean to tell people you're not a social retard. You laugh at Family Guy jokes to show you agree with the views of the creators and the other people in the group laughing. Or don't laugh (as much) to show you don't agree, but instead agree with the other non-laughers.

    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I used to visit somethingawful.com in high school through my sophomore year in college. I guess I just outgrew it. Awfulplasticsurgery.com and perezhilton.com are more my tastes currently. Could be the same humor in some respects.
    Wouldn't know about those sites, haven't been there, but possibly. I guess I'll outgrow sa.com eventually, but it hasn't happened yet.
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

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    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    Morbid, disturbing, absurd, offensive or all at once? (Don't click the link if you're easily offended people. No blood and gore, but it's still "wrong". (One of the naked running children of 'nam , holding hands with Ronald McD and Mickey.)
    http://www.intpcentral.com/uploads/feeling5.jpg
    Oops! lol While I know in reality that's not funny and very inappropriate, I did lol when I opened it. Now I feel terrible.
    Time is a delicate mistress.

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