I have been known to deliberately write humour, and I'm not bad at it, but I don't make a habit of it, because it's very random. So it comes out here and there in comments and odd places, and isn't really part of my main efforts when blogging. It comes out in stories about my everyday life, because my everyday life is funny. My family are funny. Sometimes I forget not everyone is surrounded by humour. Some people are very serious.
And, because some people are accustomed to a severe lack of humour in their lives (i.e. they may be funny themselves, but they don't hear it in people around them so much) I sometimes get taken wrongly. I get read as serious, when I'm not. As I said, this is not helped by the fact that I tend to write blogs about serious issues, so I can't really complain, but it is a bit strange sometimes.
When you think about it, using humour is a common, and very effective way to get opinions about serious issues across. Many comedians make really deep ethical statements while being funny. Their "act" is really a lecture on their observations on the ridiculousness of civilization. The humour in it is often irony.
It's not that they are making light of problems in society, far from it. Consider Eddie Izzard's thoughts on Hitler.
Some people find this sort of thing in poor taste. It's not that they disagree with it, but they want it said in a serious manner. I'm not altogether sure why. I think humour gets the points across very well - even if it's completely weird. And I think this is why surreal humour is not understood or appreciated by some people. They are expecting one liners, this is too complicated.
When it's written, it's harder to tell the funny from the serious, and if it's very subtle it can get missed or misunderstood. You almost need to offer a warning ahead of time.
Yesterday I watched a discussion go right off the rails on an internet forum because somebody was being funny (and very clever, actually) and it was taken seriously. No amount of explanation seemed to sort it out, and I watched amazed as somebody melted down in public, taking offence where it was obvious to anyone with half a brain that it was humour, pure humour. Two people trying to help break up the "fight" even had English as a second language, and they'd had no difficulty seeing the humour.
It would be easy to assume that the offended party just wasn't very bright, but this was on a forum associated with an online college course, for which you actually need a certain level of intellect. There's no testing, but quite simply, people of low intellect just don't attempt these things. So this is a reasonably (at least) intelligent person with poor awareness of humour.
And THAT is funny. Obviously, I know better than to wade in there and make things worse, so I stayed out of it. Sometimes these things are best as a spectator sport.
But it reminded me, because I need reminding, that there is a lack of humour out there, and I think it's a problem. When people don't automatically see the silliness in a situation, when they can't see the funny side of things, what happens? They get angry. We don't need anger, there's too much of that already.
So, there I am trying to figure this out, you know how I am. People taking themselves too seriously, people taking life too seriously, and the end result of anything that messes with their seriousness being anger...what's going on here?
I don't like the idea of telling somebody to "lighten up". That's really very dismissive of a person's feelings, because they may have a reason for being in the mood they are in. We never know what darkness lurks behind the doors of another's life. Sometimes, if you know somebody well, you can get away with it, but I don't advise it. When people tell me to lighten up and I have a good reason not to, I bite. Because not everything is funny. It's a balance. Still, I think it helps to try to see the funny side, even if the humour lies in its absurdity.