Last night I read something that a friend had linked to on Facebook. She prefaced the link by saying that if you are a member of (my faith) or a fan of (a particular book series), and can’t laugh at yourself, don’t click the link. I appreciated the warning, but while I am of this faith, and not a fan of that book, I do have the ability to laugh at myself. So I clicked through and read the posts that had my friends laughing hysterically.
Me? I didn’t find it particularly funny. I don’t think it was a gentle poking fun at my faith, but rather a skewering of my faith combined with a crude analysis of the author’s motives and subtext in the books s/he wrote. Yes, some of the points made about the book series in question were valid, and a few of them were funny. But some of them weren’t valid, in my opinion (and anyone has the right to disagree with me), and were just ugly.
Does that mean I don’t have a sense of humour, because I can’t laugh at someone crapping all over things I hold to be sacred? I actually find a lot of things funny. In fact, I have the sense of humour of a 13-year-old boy, and frequently make jokes that completely crack me up.
If you took the context of my faith out of the material I read last night, and substituted any other group (gays, democrats, republicans), the people who oppose those groups would be saying the same thing. “Oh, they can’t laugh at themselves, but we who are not in their group find this hysterically funny.” Meanwhile, the people in those groups would be feeling a range of emotions, varying from “ha-ha, they think it’s funny and I don’t want to be classified as humourless so I’d better pretend to laugh” to “they are putting down (my group) and this cannot be tolerated! they are haters!”
The fact is that people disagree, rather a lot, and that’s okay. I resent being told, however, that if I don’t like something someone writes about my faith, that I don’t have a sense of humour, and, ergo, something is wrong with me. I’m not going to sit here and put down other people’s cherished beliefs, and disguise it under the label of humour. It’d be nice if they returned the favour.
EDITED TO ADD: I just realized that I may have come across as sounding annoyed that my friends find something humourous that I find offensive. That’s not the case at all. I apologize if I gave that impression.