Humour is a strange thing, it is often misinterpreted, misunderstood, and of course sometimes it just downright offensive. The problem is how to know which is which? I do think there is a bit of an art in creating a joke that is complex enough to walk the line. Satire is funny because it does that. It is also problematic because we live in a world of extreme viewpoints and so it is difficult to differentiate the intentions of the speaker without previous knowledge or proper context.
Yesterday one of my Twitter jokes made Leaderboard, which happens often enough but this one made page one. Many people thought it was hilarious and some people were outright offended which caused an internet shit-storm most of which I didn't even know about until someone told me a day later. Ironically, none of the people offended sent me a single message personally letting me know they were bothered by what I said. Instead I took all the "stars" I was getting as confirmation of a popular joke.
The gist of it, same as what I put on facebook: "On the plane, single mom across the aisle of Downs Syndrome Child that screams every ten minutes and startles me awake. Why do bad things only happen to me?"
I realize if you happen to be the parent of a handicapped child this may be a sensitive point for you. On the other hand you may also be the kind of parent in that situation that sees the ridiculousness of my narcissism, the pure outrageousness of my ableism to be nothing but satire and would find the humour. Eye of the beholder I guess.
I discussed this today with my friend BJ, he told me the story of wearing his tee shirt in NYC with a picture of the pyramids and the words "Slavery Gets Shit Done". His shirt offended some people of colour; he never had a chance to engage them in a discussion and that seems a shame. I think the humour is brilliant exactly because it is preposterous in its honesty.
But at the end of the day, I don't think I really want to have to explain satire to people, it is tiring, just as tiring trying as explaining to people why some jokes really are offensive.