Friday, October 5, 2007

Alzheimer's cartoons not really funny

Humor. Throughout my life I have created more trouble trying to be funny than I have generated with blatant, premeditated meanness. Usually by accident.

Humor is subjective. Do you realize how difficult it is to be funny without using body parts, sex, infirmities, nationalities, the U. S. Senate, etc?

Earlier this year, I got into a dust-up with a nationally syndicated cartoonist when I took offense at one of his cartoons. Admittedly, I over-reacted but it was my first response to something that I felt denigrated older people suffering from dementia.

Weeks later, I continue to get random hits on this blog that use searches related to cartoons and Alzheimer's and dementia. Many searches came from universities across America, which puzzles me.

One person used "Alzheimer's cartoon" in their Google search. Out of curiosity, I made the same search. Boom. Imagine my surprise to see over one million possible sites relating to this fatal illness. There are stock cartoons available for purchase from several sites. Some are funny. Some are misdemeanors. But a few rise to felonies.

FOOTNOTE: did you notice that "Desperate Housewives" apologized after joke went awry and offended medical schools in the Philippines? More than 30,000 names came in via an online petition. Hence the quick mea culpa.

If those Alzheimer's jokes were about Jews, blacks, gays there would be a similar outcry. Justifiable, too.

Currently, we have no avenging angel who will truly stand up for slanders and slurs which target the elderly and our infirmities. AARP -- you listening?

But the day is coming ...


Alzheimer's Team said...

I always enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

My husband was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's 2 years ago. As emotionally painful as this disease is, we use humor as an avenue to get through this. I understand how at times some cartoons can go over the line however, I must still be able to laugh. He laughs at himself all the time. Attitude is everything. If we concentrate on being offended then we make ourselves victims. We choose to live and be happy and concentrate on the positives.
Yes this disease is ugly, but we don't have to be.

Anonymous said...

Humor can be obtained through incongruities and surprise. By making fun of dementia, we are being incongruous with the mores of social appropriateness, which makes it funny. It also allows us to feel superior to those with dementia. Unfortunately, those with dementia will end up feeling inferior. It's about self-esteem. Thus, that is why you feel offended.

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