Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An April Fool's Day Controversy and Why I Won't Take The Bait

Being as I pretty much adamantly hate controversy of any kind, and that I typically do all that I can to avoid it entirely, it's a little strange that I've decided my big blogging comeback should be so steeped in it. But I just can't take it anymore. I'm so beyond annoyed with this new-fangled 'campaign' slash 'agenda' that this past April Fools Day brought on that I have to get the thoughts out or I might implode. Literally. My body will be sucked into nothing and the only thing that will be left behind is a black hole of my aggravation which will devour everything in it's path. So ultimately, this blog entry will be doing the world a favor. You're welcome.

I've always been a border-line fan of April Fool's Day. I both enjoy being made to look foolish and making others look foolish. I find harmless, clever pranks highly entertaining, even when I'm at the receiving end. So you can imagine my dismay when I logged onto Facebook to find that several of my friends were posting a blog entry entitled "The Joke is Over" which is a very well-written entry responding to what the author believes is a very prevalent problem in social media: the posting of pregnancy announcements as April Fool's jokes.

I don't remember seeing this idea around last year. Maybe it was introduced prior to yesterday's festivities and I just happened to miss it, but from what I can remember, this is a new principal that many seem to be embracing this year. Several of my own Facebook friends got on the platform and stepped up to defend those amongst us who have suffered  infertility and child-loss and who are, undoubtedly, cowering in their homes, living in mortal fear of encountering this most offensive practical joke.

Okay. Disclaimer: OBVIOUSLY infertility and child-loss is no joke. I've already written about how much I fear experiencing those life trials. My heart experiences such an enormous amount of empathy for mothers who walk through these struggles, that I have literally been kept up at night, worrying and shedding tears on behalf of the people I've known who have known this type of loss. Therefore, the status update that would truly be in poor taste, would be one that purports to suffer these trials, only to reveal that (April Fools!) the author truly is expecting.

I won't mince words here: pretending you are pregnant on April Fool's Day is in no way an affront to those who cannot conceive. 

Let me say it in a different way, and I'll try and type slowly: It. Is. A. Joke.

Jokes can sometimes (virtually always, actually, depending on the listener) be offensive. But since when has our society taken the responsibility of other people's emotions into their own hands? Why is it our responsibility to molly-coddle and protect EVERYONE'S (completely varied) sensibilities?

We shouldn't talk about God in school. How would that make non-believers feel?
We shouldn't have Christmas trees in public. How could non-Christians possibly handle the attack?
Don't offer an expectant mother wishes that she will have an healthy child; that's an offense to those who aren't blessed with 'healthy' children.
And on that vain, if you use the word 'retarded', we're pretty sure there is a special circle of hell designed specifically for people like you.
OH! And please make sure your child brings enough allergy-free valentine's day treats to share with the entire class because we don't want anyone to have hurt feelings if they get fewer cards than the popular girl.

I mean, the list goes on and on and on and on...  If we are to ever truly achieve perfect kindness, we should simply never speak. Or have opinions. Or reward excellence. Or tell the truth. Or make a joke.  So... that sounds kind of boring. Also a little bit oppressive. But don't worry! I have a solution to the problem. Are you ready? Here it comes:

How about if we take ownership of OUR OWN SENSIBILITIES? 

Let me break this down for you in 2 easy steps:

1. If you don't like it, don't look at it. Example: If you don't like April Fools Jokes in social media, don't log onto social media on April 1st.

2. If it offends you, get over it. I know this one may seem kind of extreme, so let me give you a quick example from my own life: I was driving home the other day, listening to the comedy station on the radio (because I like the lolz). It just so happened that the routine that was playing was a very offensive and un-true attack on motherhood. The comedian asserted that mothers are ultimately lazy women who have taken 'the easy way out'. He claimed that the 'hard work' we are always alluding to is essentially just popping in a new DVD every few hours. (And why wouldn't we need a break after such an exhausting day? /sarc) I had two options: I could either whine and cry about how much he hurt my feel bads and undermined my entire life's work; or I could move forward, remaining confident in the knowledge of my reality and not give him power over me by allowing him to manipulate my emotions.

Why are we handing our power over like this? Why not, instead, claim control over our own emotions? Why are we allowing other's completely well-intentioned, harmless jokes to cause us such extreme distress that we have mommy-bloggers running to our aid and attacking those who post such an obviously politically incorrect prank?

Let's reclaim power over our feelings, shall we? Let's stop demanding that society take care of us. Let's take responsibility for our own lives and relish in the freedom that refusing to become offended will ultimately grant us.

And thus I have spoken.

1 comment:

  1. Here here! Remember the scene from Remember the Titans where the kids figure out how not to take the other players' "your momma" jokes personally? That's what winners do and what whiners dont.