Sunday, July 23, 2023

Dark humor doesn't mean a dark soul

 Legendary hacker Kevin Mitnick has died at the age of 59.

Dark humor doesn't mean a dark soul

11 JUL 2023

a black and white photo of a street sign
Photo by Stephen Tafra on Unsplash

By now, you’re familiar with the Titan submersible that imploded on a sightseeing trip to the Titanic. For days we waited for word of whether they were alive or dead, only to find they died a quick but horrible-sounding death.

Through it all were the memes.

I’m sure you’ve seen them. They’re dark and, to some people, vile.

For many, it’s a sign that whoever shared them is a depraved person with absolutely no sympathy for their fellow man.

But is it?

Not really.

See, for many of us, including myself, dark humor is how I deal with horrific incidents. It allows us to process the horrors of what we’re seeing and simply not let it get to us.

Following 9/11, for example, the horrific events of that day haunted me to some degree. It was difficult to think, to consider anything but having watched more than 3,000 people die live and in living color on my television.

It weighed on me.

It still does.

And while horrific events since the creation of social media haven’t quite been at that level of horror, dark humor has made it possible to deal with things like the submersible’s disappearance—and being former Navy, that whole thing played on a lot of my personal fears—to the COVID-19 pandemic.

See, dark humor isn’t a lack of sympathy for the horrors that transpired, it’s just a way that some people process the horrors.

No, it’s not for everyone. Kind of like how this darkly humorous meme frames it:

I mean, communism killed millions, mostly through things like starvation, so this is funny in a very dark way.

Does it mean that I don’t despise what happened in the Soviet Union? Hardly.

Moreover, finding this humorous doesn’t make someone a bad person. Neither did the submersible or Titanic memes.

If you don’t like them, that’s cool. That’s perfectly valid.

But demonizing people who process things differently isn’t exactly helpful.