Sunday, March 08, 2009

Jokey insults and threats

A joke is something that is funny.

But then there's things that are presented in a jokey fashion but which are not really intended to be funny.

For example, you can have insults or threats presented in a jokey manner that are really statements of solidarity or respect. E.g. a lowly business person saying the following to a superior"if you could look at that brief that'd be good, otherwise I'd have to do you in", where the last bit is said in an ironic fashion. That's really a statement of respect to indicate that they're well aware of their relative positions.

The case I want to talk about, though, is statements that are presented as if they were jokes but are really just insults or threats presented in a jokey manner. That is, insults or threats passed off as jokey statements.

The jokey manner may include a wink appended to the end of a written statement -- not that you guys are likely to understand what i'm talking about ;-). Or a chuckle or giggle appended to a verbal statement. Or they might be in the form of over the top threats like "...or we'll beat you to a bloody pulp - ha ha".

These aren't actually funny and aren't intended to make the person laugh -- even if social forces may compel them to do so.

As you may have guessed, I quite dislike these sorts of statements. Even if they're only carrying a quite minor barb, there's something dishonest there. Though I don't like this term much, childish comes to mind.

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