The Conversation

The Joke Police

I'm becoming more and more uncomfortable with fellow conservatives who feel the need to be the joke police.  Over the weekend, actor Paul Walker died in a car crash.  First of all, Twitter is a horrible place to be when people die.  Sometimes I don't know who is more annoying -- the people who make morbid jokes or the people who grandstand about the people who make morbid jokes.

After the news of Paul Walker's death, Jezebel editor Erin Gloria Ryan tweeted "why couldn't it be Scott Walker."

It's not funny or particularly clever.  I am not offended because I don't hold Jezebel in any kind of esteem to care about what their writers or editors tweet.  In fact, the only time I ever hear about Jezebel is when someone writes something that I'm supposed to be offended by.  They regularly attack my friends, so I don't read it. 

Anyway, a few minutes later Ryan tweeted an apology, writing "Dumb joke deleted. Apologies."  Then again, "No excuse.  It was dumb.  I'm sorry."  Twitchy notes that she "doubled down" before the apology and blamed conservatives for lack of sense of humor.

Yeah, it was a bad joke.  Generally, joking about someone's death is not funny.  But, let's not act like we all haven't made a bad joke, regretted it, and sincerely apologized.  It just seems that so many conservatives are out for blood on every little thing.  We're talking about a tweet from a Jezebel editor, ok?  No disrespect to her, but let's have a little perspective.  Also, if we can't accept a person's apology, how will we ever win over any converts?  We accept converts like David Horowitz who said horrible things when he was a lefty.  We accept Kirsten Powers when she's with us.  It would be terrible for some high-profile liberal to never make the full transition to our side because they think we wouldn't accept their apology for words or deeds from their past.

I'm reminded of Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane who had a congenial relationship with Andrew Breitbart.  He is also pretty friendly with Rush Limbaugh, who played himself on two episodes.  You may also remember that McFarlane has made some pretty bad/unfunny jokes aimed at Sarah Palin and other Republicans.  It's ok to say "I didn't think that was funny," but I can't stand the need for people on either side to harp on someone for making a bad joke, particularly after they've apologized.  I know I've had a few tweets I wish I could take back. 

Ultimately, I don't think conservatives gain any high ground or converts by obsessing over distasteful "jokes."  By Ryan's own admission, she regrets it, is sorry, and apologized to the Scott Walker family.  Another lesson I'd like to teach her is that conservatives aren't the reactionary, humorless church ladies that publications like Jezebel make us out to be.  (Make no mistake, I'm not saying there was any humor in her tweet.)

If we live by the joke police, we will die by the joke police.


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