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December, 2010:

Negative Humor and its Consequences

Negative Humor and its Consequences      

What is negative humor?

A simple definition is any joke or something that passes for humor that is at the expense of another human being, organization, company or group of people.

It may seem confusing since one may wonder how something that causes us to laugh can create negative energy.  Simply put, making fun of anyone, regardless of who it may be, is negative.  No way around it.

One of my least favorite types of humor is sarcasm.  Some very intelligent people can be great at sarcasm, but at a price, not only to the object of their derision, but to themselves.  Sarcasm is harmful humor at its worst, not only because of its negativity, but because of its purposefulness. 

Dictionary.com’s definition of sarcasm is:  “In sarcasm, ridicule or mockery is used harshly, often crudely and contemptuously, for destructive purposes.  It may be used in an indirect manner, and have the form of irony.  Sarcasm can frequently be unnoticed in print form, often times requiring the inflection or tone of voice to indicate the quip.”

Answers.com’s definition is to the point and brutally clear:  “A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.  (OR)  A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.”

I believe the danger in negative humor is that the person who employs it, if engaged in too often, begins to see everyone and everything in a disdainful or contemptuous light.  Sarcasm can become habitual, and the person using it may be unaware of the impact of their unconstructive comments

Negative humor – who needs it?  It is OK to see the humor in life, but humor should not be used to ridicule another.  Sarcasm is a form of self-aggrandizement at another’s expense.  We can do better than that!