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Jul 13, 2016

Mock Me If You Will...

Dork
You might think by the title of this post that there's a big but coming after it.  Well there isn't (aside from my ass maybe ... I really need to put some more miles on the exercise bike).  It stands as it is.  No caveats. Feel free to mock my ethnicity, my geeky tendencies, my hairline ... all of it.  If what you say is clever, I'll laugh. If what you say isn't, I'll most likely mock you back for your lack of being able to string a coherent joke together. I can take it and if you can too then it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

But there are those who would call both of us wrong in doing so.  They'd call us bullies, haters, etc.  For how dare we put down another human being?  How dare we not care about their feelings?  How dare we make ourselves chuckle at the expense of another?

Hell, you can see a good example of this out there right now on just about any social media feed.  Unless you've been living under a rock, you're aware of Pokemon Go.  I hear it's a pretty hot game right now.  Well, first came the game. Then came the memes poking some fun at the game. And now, as anyone living in this day and age could probably predict, comes the shaming of those memes.  How dare you make fun of someone having some harmless fun?  If you do, I've lost all respect for you.  Blah blah blah.

Fuck that, I say.

Eat a sammich!
I've said it before and I'll reiterate it here again. It's all about intent as far as I'm concerned. If your intent is to harm another. If you do it day after day. If you are focused on making another person or group's life as miserable as can be.  All of these things are bullying and/or potential hate crimes.  Yet there seems to be a movement out there that says anything negative - whether it be a shared meme, a stupid twitter post, a joke shared in the school yard - is just as bad.  Bullshit I say.

Now, that's not to say that a singular instances can't make you a horrible person. I've already covered this and what a dick it takes to do such a thing.  But once again, I'd argue the intent is definitely there

There's another side of mockery, though, one those who are overly sensitive don't want to admit exists - and it's entirely harmless outside of perhaps being annoying.  Why, because that's all it's trying to be.  It's just trying to make a joke or make people (including themselves) laugh.  There might be a bit of doucheyness behind it, but there's no ill intent otherwise.

That's actually one of the most common complaints about my Tome of Bill series. People have said the main character is (insert your favorite ist, istic, or phobic here), whether it be homophobic, racist, misogynistic whatever. I'd argue you're inside the head of a character who's a flawed human being just like the rest of us, and with that comes every good thought he has, but it also means you're privy to every petty, juvenile, or uninformed thought as well. And I purposely write him that way because I think it's simple human nature to have thoughts like these. That all of us have someone(s) we secretly fear, mock, don't understand, or feel superior about.  What counts, though, is how we act or don't act upon those thoughts. Actions speak louder than words.  And thoughts are just that ... words in our head.

We give too much power to those words sometimes.  There are times when we should let those words into our soul, but there are far more times when we should just shrug them off and get on with our day.

Goddamned Pikaphiles should be locked up
And that's what I'm getting at. I'll be the first to admit that mine is a sarcastic household. I praise my kids when they do something awesome, but I'm just as quick to joke when they do something stupid. No special snowflakes under my roof, thank you. The thing is, the same holds true in the reverse. There is no punishment for hitting back with a good zinger.  Everyone who dishes it out should be able to take it and I'm no exception.

That's where I think most of this backlash comes from. As I said above, none of us are perfect. We all have not-so-nice thoughts from time to time. The difference being that some want to have their not-nice thoughts about others, but don't want others to have those same thoughts about them or their beliefs. There aren't many guarantees in life, but I'd be willing to put my money down on at least one sure bet - ANYONE who has ever said "How dare you mock XYZ?" thinks they're the exception to the rule and has some group or person that in their mind they think is A-okay to mock away at.

There's a great deal of hypocrisy there, whether or not people want to admit it.

Of course there's the big problem of who draws the line on these things. That's subjective.  Hell, even I've already drawn my personal lines in the sand with my link to a prior blog post. I'm not immune to a bit of hypocrisy myself in saying it's okay to do this, but not that. There's no easy answer to that one, but as I said I believe intent plays a big part in things like this. 

All I know is that there are some who want us to live in a world where we watch what we say for fear of what others might think.  Me, I'd sooner take the good with the bad and live in a world where we don't let the words of others have so much power over us. 

7 comments:

Sue B said...

I have pushed a lot, well not a lot...some people away with my sarcasm. I figure they either don't understand it or they can't handle it. I think there is a difference between sarcasm and meaness. The first person I have a snarky comment about is usually me. As far as Pokemon Go....at my age I have seen many different trends. They come and go. If this game can get 20+ year olds out of bed and up and around, great! If you make new acquaintances from this game, great! If you're stupid enough to walk into a dark alley for a digital animal...sorry for your luck.

Joshua Dobos said...

Yet another reason you are one of my favorite authors. Well said, good sir.

Chef Pug said...

Just finished your Bill Tome bundle at audible. Excellent series, story, plot, and humor. I agree with your comments above, about starting to dislike characters (Sally and Thomas) due to getting an unfiltered view into them... But I soon realized that they are just different from my views and thoughts of natural, they are just flawed like everyone else. And your way of writing them makes your books so enjoyable and not predictible. But seriously, Thomas should not be allowed to breed. Fix that PLEASE.

Chef Pug said...

Just finished your Bill Tome bundle at audible. Excellent series, story, plot, and humor. I agree with your comments above, about starting to dislike characters (Sally and Thomas) due to getting an unfiltered view into them... But I soon realized that they are just different from my views and thoughts of natural, they are just flawed like everyone else. And your way of writing them makes your books so enjoyable and not predictible. But seriously, Thomas should not be allowed to breed. Fix that PLEASE.

m ciofki said...

Heh, I have just read your post. My mind to quote a popular character in modern field is "far afield". Having said that, I get that people have a problem with mocking, scathing and even horrible humor. As I am fond of saying: I use humor to mask my madness. However, I simply cannot tolerate genuine bullies. In truth, I find them easy to spot, as a bully simply does what they do for one reason. That reason is simply, because they can. Bullies feel there are people who are in no way equal to them. If you have no equal, then you will not respect, nor acknowledge the rights of another. That to me is the essence of pure evil.
On the other hand, some poor deluded souls (like me, I suspect), are socially retarded and will never fit in. Most people pity and mock them. Even so, there are lessons to be learned from such individuals. Chief among those lessons are "Never be THAT guy." I am THAT guy most of the time, but occasionally I redeem myself.
In short, your blog is pretty spot on, and intent is truly what separates bullies from critics in my opinion.
Thanks for making us smile with your books!
-ciofki

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Silas Koop said...

I just finished the second book and am starting the third. I'm addicted to this universe. Thanks! I've been an avid reader since I was a kid, which was many years ago chronologically but just yesterday behaviorally. I love the fact your characters are so very human. It's sad to think that if the idiot thought police have their way real, innovative and interesting novels will become a thing of the past. Keep fighting the good fight by continuing to write novels that are so much fun to read.