It is common that the differences between cultures provoke the lack of comprehension between what societies find funny or politically incorrect. It is relevant the subject, especially when you found yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone from other country. A few weeks ago, one of my roommates saw me with her eyes wide opened after listening one of my comments about how someone reminded me of ‘Hitler’. However, her words were “You could not compare someone with Hitler” and she continued her explanation with some reasons for finding my joke politically incorrect. The truth is I never had the intention of being impolite with it but it made me realize how media influence my way to understand humor and even my way for making jokes or funny comments.
Of course I explained her how common was for me using the comment for this type of purpose but not for disturbing someone who listened the comment. Watching series where the characters used terms like ‘Fascist’, ‘Nazi’, ‘Hitler’, ‘Gestapo’; like terms to remark and exaggerate about someone’s behavior has been a common element in media for long time. I grew up listening, watching and repeating them without any contemplation about what would this mean for a different social group or thinking about how some people still experience awareness about the wrong perception of their cultural heritage and History because people used to indulge themself by making these comments without a subtle purpose in a random conversation. Although there are situations where their comments are completely and absolutely expressed to induce damage without any remorse of their effects and that should not be permitted.
The situation let me analyze how people is not always aware of the limits, the rightness and wrongness about being funny. A complicated situation when you are living in a different culture or sharing time with people from different cultural heritage or aka Cosmopolitanism, which motivates an interest for keeping a sense of correctness all the time. Sometimes, you achieve it, sometimes you did not. Other relevant fact in media is how the differences between cultures let them find some things not funny enough and the relevance of knowing the right words and their meaning in the cultural context is a basic element to satisfy the expectations of these stereotypes in the real world. Although, when we could focus our attention in the contrast between our cultures, it is impossible that we are able to keep these details in our minds all the time, even when we could act, dress and talk like a global citizen there is space for misunderstandings provoked by what we found amusing or not.
Differences in humour
Our origins and cultural’s background will transform who we are and what we think of our ideas to determine something as funny or reject it. Tolerance should be a particular element in our formula when we are trying to interact and establish a good relation with somebody else through our conversation. Also we could not ignore that the state and social conditions from our countries influence our characters, which would be present in the type of things we enjoy as funny. The interest about this topic appeared after I read about the violent incident in the journal Charlie Hebdo, which will stop drawing Prophet Muhammad, or the menace against Sony Studio for releasing the film The Interview, which story was focused in a TV host and producer who had the secret mission to kill Kim Jong-un. These situations let everyone ask if could we determine limits about what media is doing to create a funny movie, journal or project? I do not think so. Perhaps, the lack of sensibility about religious beliefs cross boundaries in the French creators’ content but there are plenty legal ways to stop any offense than broke in someone else’s workplace and killed them because a group of people do not like the jokes from this French journal. Growing up while enjoying films from Mel Brooks gave me the chance to enjoy humour even when it is not politically correct but at the same time I was educated to be critical about the messages in media.
I thought that the main origin for excessive violence against contributors who design, write, tell or share jokes in media industry, which reinforced stereotypes from citizens from different countries, this isn’t about the jokes per se but people who does not make efforts to understand or analyze them as mere stereotypes. Being critical about what we observe and listen is the right measure for avoiding outrageous and violent responses between people from different cultures. The main issue is not the misconceptions about others’ identities learned or perceived through media or in social interactions but everyone’s limits of not trying to understand the differences between cultures, the importance of individualism and being respectful.
Perhaps, if everyone develop an interest for seeing through than a superfluous understanding of diversity provoked by measuring people from different cultures under the vain construction of the majority characters in media or some extreme Islamic groups. That has been just reinforcing characters created like caricatures or under the influence of preconceived ideas, we would accomplish to live under the conditions of tolerance and respect that we deserve. Without doubts, these elements would let us establish societies with better conditions and safety for citizens. Especially, when we witnessed situations of extreme violence.