mererdog

The Nature Of Ribs

Recommended Posts

mererdog   

A while back, I was told by a fellow poster on this board that I had repeatedly been mean to him. We didn't get into specifics, but he made it clear that my words had made him feel demeaned and rejected. This put me in the uncomfortable position of having to rethink all our previous interactions. This was a man I liked and respected, but clearly I had been misunderstanding at least some of his responses to me. I could not help wondering whether he was really the man I liked and respected, or if that man was just an illusion created by projecting my expectations and desires onto someone else. It was not a pleasant experience, to say the least, but I can't blame him.

I have always loved humor. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of telling jokes to my grandmother and her friends while they sat on the porchswing. Making people laugh makes me feel good, and it is no brag to say that I have gotten very good at it.

But humor is never without risk. It is fundamentally a matter of taste, and there is nothing that is universally considered tasty. There are few things that can bond us together stronger than a shared emotional experience, and few things that can divide us as sharply as a belief that the other does not feel the same way we do. Sharing a laugh can bring us closer together, and a joke that bombs can drive us apart. Such is empathy, I think.

I am a fan of self-deprecation as humor. A laugh at one's own expense has a special purity to it that just speaks to me. As a corollorary to that, I also have a special love for jokes at the expense of "us." Jokes that highlight the absurdity in "our" thinking or that poke fun at the things "we" do. I am drawing the distinction here between the jokes that invite us to laugh at "you" or "them," but it is a distinction that is easily lost track of. And, unfortunately, perhaps, the more comfortable I feel with my audience, the less effort I put into keeping the distinction crystal.

It is uncomfortable to realize that we are not playing the same game, or to realize that the other guy simply isn't playing. It is hurtful to know that while I was trying to be friends the other guy saw me as an enemy. But while the line between insulting and teasing exists only in our heads, it has profound effects on the real world. I am curious how others draw that line, both in terms of deciding what to say and in terms of deciding how to react to others.

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AmberLF   
20 minutes ago, mererdog said:

I am curious how others draw that line, both in terms of deciding what to say and in terms of deciding how to react to others.

Ultimately it seems to me as long as you are not trying to be hurtful to another, and if you cross a line unintentionally that you apologize and try to explain your stance, then it's all good. The fact is some people will misunderstand, some are overly sensitive and will take anything as a slight, and some just like to think everyone is just as serious and direct as they are. Waaay too many views and ways of communication to not end up insulting or irritating someone somewhere along the line. Some have a hard time stepping outside themselves and realizing not everyone thinks or feels the same. Different upbringing, experiences, ideals, etc can make for odd and interesting responses sometimes.  All you really can do is back up and review your words, try to clarify and bridge a better understanding. If it doesn't work at least you tried. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is difficult to know someone without face to face interaction. Without those visual clues to see what reaction one's words are having on another, it is easy to misunderstand the intent of those words and easy to be misunderstood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally feel the line must be drawn internally.  All we can be is the best us we are capable of as often as possible.  As I said in another topic, I have failed my own ideals on numerous occasions.  I try to do better.  

Each of us is a unique individual.  Each of us has different upbringing, different DNA, different world views, and sometimes those conflict in ways we cannot see online, as Brother Kaman said.  But sometimes the fault is not within, sometimes it's the person we are communicating with who failed.  The tricky part of online, to me, is mood.  I have different moods dependent upon what is happening in my life, and sometimes I post in a whimsical mood.  I can take everything with a grain of salt, laugh it off, and come back with a quip.  Sometimes there are things happening in my life that frustrate me to no end, and shouldn't.  It's one of my failings, personally, that I filter things I encounter through my current mood.  I really try to correct this, and sometimes fail.  

Maybe the person you were interacting with had something similar happen?  Or perhaps you were doing something similar?  I don't know.  

There are so many circumstances we cannot see online, cannot feel personally, cannot connect with...it makes it difficult at times to know what to say and what not to, especially if you are the type of person who second guesses yourself like I am.  Lately I have simply been trying to be myself, my ideal self.  It's something that took me a while to decipher, what with all the options available to me.  I researched religion and philosophy as a child through my entire adult life.  It's just something that's always interested me, but more than that, it's something that I have always felt could provide answers in my life.  The last few months(time is relative, I often lose track of months), I have been examining more from a personal stance instead of what has been written by others.  Something I have found is that a person has to internalize with their own observations, their own understandings, and commune with themselves, so to speak.  Find what really rings true about life, people and how it all interacts.  

My conclusion has been to begin developing my own standards of living and interacting.  I would like to think this has made me a more consistent person, but I know that I occasionally still fail.  There are times when those I highly respect say something and I am simply in the wrong mood to hear it the way they intended it, and take offense.  I control my own responses, but my reactions are another thing entirely, another thing to work on in life :)  As I said in another topic, there are those I have no respect at all for on this forum, and those that I have a high level of respect for.  I have been in the past the type of person who takes things to heart, and who is a little bit gullible.  It's been hard for me to learn to think for myself, rather than borrowing the ideas of others for myself, if you can understand that or relate.  I have been a person who takes things overboard in the extreme, too.  When I have decided on something to support, I get behind it 110%, sometimes to the detriment of logic.  Like I said, lately I have been working on that.

For what it's worth, mererdog, you are one of the people on here that I highly respect.  There have been misunderstandings in the past between us, things that I have definitely taken wrong at the wrong time, but that's my fault.  Like I said, I have a hard time filtering things through the emotion at times, and react instead of responding.  But I have always found your ability to question anything respectfully to be amazing.  It is something I had to grow into seeing properly, I guess.  

This is getting long...sorry.  Stoicism teaches to be yourself, and control yourself, and that's about all you can really do.  Control of others, how they take you, is not possible.  Oh, we can strive to be courteous, but I think there are always those who won't consider that for whatever reason.  To paraphrase Amber, I agree that if you have good intentions, that's the best we can hope for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Brother Kaman said:

It is difficult to know someone without face to face interaction. Without those visual clues to see what reaction one's words are having on another, it is easy to misunderstand the intent of those words and easy to be misunderstood.

If you were to poll people who know me in person outside of this forum you would get varied responses along the line of the nicest.., the kindest..., most caring, just a big teddy bear, charitable, reliable, giving, etc.. At least that is what I have been told and witnessed.

I've often had the feeling that if you asked people who only know me from online posts those would not be the reviews I would be getting. I often find people attributing emotions and motivations to my words that don't exist. Interpersonal communication in this format is severely limited and we are discussing what can be sensitive topics for some people. They are also discussions you generally wouldn't have in mixed company. I try to keep that in mind but I often feel I fail. I come off much better in person and am known to be quite charming I swear! We must also take into account that a message board is designed for the purpose of having certain discussions that we normally wouldn't pursue so vigorously in person in order to keep the peace. It is called a forum after all. So it would stand to reason that you know what you are signing up for and what level of discourse is going to be present beforehand and prepare yourself for cognitive dissonance and disagreement.  

As for off the forum if I'm taking the time to discuss or argue a point with you it means I respect your intelligence and think you can handle simple disagreement. If I'm teasing you and picking on you I probably like you and consider you a friend of some sort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes sometimes it is difficult to assess a persons motivation for saying certain things online. I try to read a smile into some things, but there are times when I just don't see it. I can usually take a jab as well as give one. It is only when it starts to seem rude, crude, or mean-spirited that I take issue. Usually I will just ignore those people from that point forward. Occasionally I may take the first shot .... but it is usually with someone I believe will see the humor. If I trade jabs with someone I hope they feel comfortable enough talking to me that they can realize it's just all in good humor.

If I have offended anyone here I sincerely apologize.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mererdog   
On 6/5/2017 at 0:33 PM, cuchulain said:

This is getting long...sorry. 

No need to apologize, although it may take me a while to put together a response that does your post justice. Thank you for the nice things you said about me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mererdog   
23 hours ago, Pastor Dave said:

It is only when it starts to seem rude, crude, or mean-spirited that I take issue.

I tend to find the rude and crude to be hilarious. The mean spirited stuff is complicated...

I have never told a racist joke, but a well-crafted setup and punchline will usually catch me off guard enough to provoke a laugh. Its as if my sense of humor is faster than my sense of moral outrage. Similarly, if I see someone fall, I will usually laugh before I think to ask if they are hurt.

Standup comics have spent decades developing the character of the misanthropic insult comic. A character who likes nothing and no one and has nothing but bad things to say. Its a truly mean-spirited character that only really works when it seems to express an understanding that it is even more messed up than the rest of us. As if they only lash out only because they are in pain, you know? When it is done right, it is like candy to me.

And then there is satire. The best satire is aggressively biting. It uses debasement and ridicule like surgical instruments to cut away cultural preconceptions and expose important truths. It is mean, but mean with a purpose. When it is aimed at ideologies and power structures, rather than personalities and individuals, it bridges that gap between the funny and the profound- which may very well be where Truth is found.

At the same time, I recognize that words can cause harm, and I believe that intentionally harming others is wrong. So, as I said, its complicated....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About  the only time the forum is active to any great extent is when the drama is running high. That is what makes it so entertaining. No one here is seriously interested in learning about another,s belief or religion. It is not exactly running over with questions as to the details of Druidism, Naturism, etc. Everyone can probably quote what wiki has to say but that is probably the extent of it. Give us a good Christians vs the Lions and we line right up for our tickets to the colosseum. Every one likes a good fight especially if we can disguise it as "learning." Indeed, the forum is great entertainment and the actors here have as great egos as any Hollywood performer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been said by some, and I can't remember who or I would quote, that laughter at that which is morally offensive is necessary, else we would cry.  I think sometimes that laughter at the misfortunes of others is our way of coping with something negative that otherwise we would have to figure out how to deal with, a defense mechanism against negativity so to speak.  Maybe I am wrong though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Brother Kaman said:

About  the only time the forum is active to any great extent is when the drama is running high. That is what makes it so entertaining. No one here is seriously interested in learning about another,s belief or religion. It is not exactly running over with questions as to the details of Druidism, Naturism, etc. Everyone can probably quote what wiki has to say but that is probably the extent of it. Give us a good Christians vs the Lions and we line right up for our tickets to the colosseum. Every one likes a good fight especially if we can disguise it as "learning." Indeed, the forum is great entertainment and the actors here have as great egos as any Hollywood performer.

"waste no more time arguing  what a good man should be.  Be one."  Marcus Aurelius.

I like that quote, and it seemed to fit the context.  We often bicker back and forth, as you said...it's high drama.  Or as I say, low drama.  Either way, we bicker a lot about how horrible we each are.  I am guilty as well of that.  But...rather than point to the others flaws, I would like to try to be a good person instead.  I may fail, that is the nature of humans I think.  But the attempt is important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, cuchulain said:

"waste no more time arguing  what a good man should be.  Be one."  Marcus Aurelius.

I like that quote, and it seemed to fit the context.  We often bicker back and forth, as you said...it's high drama.  Or as I say, low drama.  Either way, we bicker a lot about how horrible we each are.  I am guilty as well of that.  But...rather than point to the others flaws, I would like to try to be a good person instead.  I may fail, that is the nature of humans I think.  But the attempt is important.

The human comedy. Vastly entertaining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mererdog   

Years ago, I heard a speech from Violent Jay of the Insane Clown Posse. I want to say it was from the first Gathering of the Juggalos, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, there was a point where he explained that his music was designed to morally and religiously instructive, but that the kids don't listen unless you're "waving the hatchet."

Now, I've always found ICP hilarious, and when you look past the standardized adolescent male posturing and shock-for-the-sake-of-shock stuff, you see some fairly standard morality plays. But when I look at the fans, I see a whole lot of missing the point. It makes me wonder about that point where changing your delivery to make your message more accessible makes your message get lost.

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AmberLF   
2 hours ago, mererdog said:

Years ago, I heard a speech from Violent Jay of the Insane Clown Posse. I want to say it was from the first Gathering of the Juggalos, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, there was a point where he explained that his music was designed to morally and religiously instructive, but that the kids don't listen unless you're "waving the hatchet."

Now, I've always found ICP hilarious, and when you look past the standardized adolescent male posturing and shock-for-the-sake-of-shock stuff, you see some fairly standard morality plays. But when I look at the fans, I see a whole lot of missing the point. It makes me wonder about that point where changing your delivery to make your message more accessible makes your message get lost.

Are you sure they are missing the point or is it a case of not really taking that point seriously due to the 'clowning around' in the delivery of it?

Edited by AmberLF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps that was self projection.  Sometimes, I think others think the way I do.  I am often mistaken.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mererdog   
16 hours ago, AmberLF said:

Are you sure they are missing the point or is it a case of not really taking that point seriously due to the 'clowning around' in the delivery of it?

Same thing, really.... In effect, if not in detail...

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mererdog   
On 6/8/2017 at 3:46 PM, cuchulain said:

Perhaps that was self projection.  Sometimes, I think others think the way I do.  I am often mistaken.  

In my case, it would have to be more a matter of thinking others think like others, because they clearly don't think like me. The mythology they built up on their music, and the more "Christiany" (for lack of a better word)  explanation given for how to decode that mythology, are both familiar and alien.

To get a sense of what I'm talking about, I suggest looking up the lyrics for "Pass Me By" and "Terrible."  Those aren't exactly subtle. More broadly,  The Amazing Jeckel Brothers is mostly a concept album revolving around a pair of jugglers who represent the good and bad aspects of your soul. The muted refrain goes-

"Jeckel drop ball, Shangri La dies

One for your greed

Two for your lies"

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mererdog   
On 6/9/2017 at 8:39 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

When I saw the topic was about "ribs" -- I thought it was about Adam and Eve.

Thanks. I was hoping that would happen to at least one person, but people usually don't say anything about the title unless it has a typo or is a blatant bait and switch... so I expected to never know whether it worked. ;)  

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mererdog said:

Thanks. I was hoping that would happen to at least one person, but people usually don't say anything about the title unless it has a typo or is a blatant bait and switch... so I expected to never know whether it worked. ;)  

In a thread about humor?  Well played.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now