In many instances, political correctness has been pushed to such ridiculous extremes that a three-legged dog is no longer disabled, he’s “paw-challenged”.
Since Spot lost that leg, he only chases cars with a flat tire.
If there is such a large possibility for offense, the question then becomes: Why do so many of us like politically incorrect humor?
When humorists side with funny over political correctness their goal is not to deliberately offend anyone; they are merely doing their job. If people wish to take offense at a joke or a cartoon, they certainly have that right. However, every joke ever written is analogous to a beautiful new Mercedes which is painted a bright lime green. Some people like it; some don’t.
Sour milk has better taste.
Prolific and Popular
Politically incorrect humor can be found wherever one finds politics itself. If one man has an opinion, people practically line up to disagree with him. It’s our nature, and that in itself is indeed funny. Public opinion is even more fickle, and men have pondered and commented on this very human quality for ages, as seen in this quote from the ancient Roman senator and historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 CE – 117 CE):
Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so.
Nowhere is opinion more evident than in discussions of the pros and cons of our politics, religion, advocacy groups, popular movements and protest groups. Opinion invites counter-opinion, and no group is sacred when it comes to humor, nor is any group without its own humorists highlighting the foibles and funnies of their chosen opponents.
How Far Is Too Far?
The recent, horrific terrorist attacks in Paris had the authorities and the news outlets refusing to blame Islamic terrorists without concrete evidence. While this official view was somewhat noble and politically correct, the public perception was much more in line with Bill Maher‘s comment on his show, Real Time:
It was probably not the Amish.
Such humor may not be politically correct, but it does indeed help us deal with tragedy. Still, Bill took quite a bit of flak from the media for this and similar remarks.
Was he wrong? Was he insensitive?
You must decide that on your own.
The Internet offers politically incorrect humor on demand and in many forms—jokes, forums, cartoons, videos, etc.
Among many, many others, The Humour Club [Yes, British spelling.] on Goodreads has a popular thread entitled “Politically Incorrect” where you can try your hand at jokes, one-liners and cartoons with other humorists who find the politically incorrect to be just another tool in the humor writer’s toolbox. It’s worth a look.
So, How Far Really Is Too Far?
Frankly, there are no guidelines when it comes to writing politically incorrect humor. A writer must use his or her own judgement. The best I can offer is a few simple caveats:
- Focus on the humor.
- Don’t be mean-spirited.
There is a very real difference between creating laughter and fostering bigotry. However, it’s not a line that any writer should fear. In your heart, you know your intent, and you know what is funny.
Parting Funny: You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog. – Harry S. Truman
Next Up: Favorite Jokes