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Mainpage QA Forums Starbucks Topic: Why do people insult each other as jokes?

Topic: Why do people insult each other as jokes?

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:: CraziInsani
:: QA1 Just in
Richard is Happy, indefinitely [Avatar]
The other day, I was asking my friend for some help with my homework and the first thing she said was "WHAT?! You don't get it? ITS SOOOO EASY! You're so stupid! Its so easy! How could you be retarded? Idiot."

Me: If you don't wanna help me just say so.. ._.

Her: "Hello? Richard. Its called JOKING."


So it really got me thinking. Why do people do that? :\ It made me feel dumb :[

Its not just her. I've noticed a lot of other people do it too. Ex. Omg dude you're so stupid! HAHA or you're such a loser! xd

I dunno.

Summary: Do you insult other people for jokes? Does it bother you?
  Post: #276839 Link to this post, Sun 30 Aug 09, 5:34PM
:: cheesecake22
:: QA10 Community Goddess
Lisa is happy, indefinitely [Avatar]
I think there's a big difference between joking by calling someone stupid and just joking with them in a teasing way. I will admit I tease people that I care for, i.e. I make fun of the way my girlfriend walks when she's angry or the fact that my best friend has no sexual attraction to anyone. But I don't go around calling people stupid for asking for help. I used to do that to my friend (now gf) but that was when I didn't want to like her and was separating myself from her. That's the only instance in which my insults have ever been intentionally mean. I also never joke about peoples' weight or smarts even if I'm teasing because some are sensitive about it. I tease about things, quirks, that people really do have and can laugh at themselves.
You're stubborn, hard headed, sheltered, impatient, angry, and altogether you irritate and frustrate me more than anyone else on the planet. I love you.
  Post: #276843 Link to this post, Sun 30 Aug 09, 5:44PM
:: DeSade
:: QA9 Grand Elder
QA Member's Avatar
I think insults as jokes are funny if they're actually clever and aren't overdone. But if it's just the same stupid shit over and over, it gets old. Like girls I overhear calling one another "bitch" every other sentence.

My friends and I sort of do the same thing, only instead of "bitch" we'll say "communist" or "fascist". It's funny 'cause it's ridiculous, and not a conventional insult.

As to why people do it, I think it's 'cause they like to reassure themselves that they're close enough with someone to be able to give them shit and get away with it. Like, I wouldn't be able to go up to a complete stranger and call him an douchebag, but if I call my best friend a douchebag, he knows I'm joking and remains my friend. Does that make sense?

Anyway, like most things, this kind of joking should be done in moderation.
Emmett: What kind of homosexual are you?
Brian: The kind that fucks men.

- Queer As Folk
  Post: #276845 Link to this post, Sun 30 Aug 09, 5:53PM
:: Splash
:: QA9 Grand Elder
QA Member's Avatar
I agree that there's something of a difference between gentle teasing and insults excused as joking or sarcasm. I've definitely been known to tease my friends! But insulting "jokes" bother me, especially because I have a hard time telling the difference between a sarcastic statement and a serious one. So I might try to defend myself or the friend who was the object of the joke, and then, because it was a "joke," end up feeling pretty stupid for my pains.

Maybe that kind of joking has a valid place in some friendships. To me, though, it just isn't funny.
Hearts don't follow the rules of logic.
  Post: #276847 Link to this post, Sun 30 Aug 09, 6:04PM
:: DeSade
:: QA9 Grand Elder
QA Member's Avatar
It's definitely something that depends on not only the people you're with, but the time and place as well. I'm a very sarcastic person, and when I'm around certain people I have to keep that in check. I tend not to get along with people who don't get sarcasm because they think I'm insulting them, when I'm really not.

Basically, I think people should try to surround themselves with friends that have essentially the same sensibilities as they do - whether it be humor or something else - just to avoid awkward situations.
Emmett: What kind of homosexual are you?
Brian: The kind that fucks men.

- Queer As Folk
  Post: #276849 Link to this post, Sun 30 Aug 09, 6:07PM
:: j.cor
:: QA10 Community Goddess
QA Member's Avatar
I have a very dry and sarcastic sense of humor and sometimes people don't get that. I probably wouldn't say something like that if somebody genuinely needed my help but I do insult people, just not in an intentionally mean way. I mean, I'd never do it to somebody that I wasn't very close with and my friends know that I'm always joking so it's never really much of a problem. It's really just my mother that doesn't understand it. I can say to my boyfriend "I don't even know why I'm still with you" when he does something that disgusts me, but he knows I mean it in a harmless way so he always just laughs.

I don't think sarcasm is bad, people should just really know when they're crossing the line. There's certain things you shouldn't joke around about, and making fun of somebody that doesn't understand something is one of those things.
"Sometimes, I look outside, and I think that a lot of other people have seen this snow before. Just like I think that a lot of other people have read those books before. And listened to those songs. I wonder how they feel tonight." - Perks Of Being a Wallflower.
  Post: #276869 Link to this post, Sun 30 Aug 09, 7:07PM
:: miranduhsmiles
:: QA10 Community Goddess
QA Member's Avatar
I insult others as a joke.
I don't know why, it's just something I've grown so accustom to. But, a joke is usually never meant to insult someone/offend. They're meant to be funny, though, when you're the center of a joke it's no longer funny usually.

I have to love some of my friends because, I am the little comedian, so sometimes I'll insult them as a joke, and most of them know that I'm just trying to be funny, and that I seriously don't mean it, so they can just shake it off, and laugh along.
and I admire them for that, because I hate the people who get all butt hurt, and the next thing you know they arent talking to you because you jokingly called them stupid.

Just ignore it. She didnt mean it to offend you, it was just a joke.
  Post: #277141 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 1:55PM
:: pastafarian
:: QA8 High Householder
QA Member's Avatar
Most jokes are built on the basis that someone's status will be lowered (referred to as 'losing face'). When someone is insulted, their status is lowered, and we laugh. There have been studies on this. If you saw the King (or a similar high-status authority) fall off a horse, you might be awfully tempted to laugh. So might everybody else who was watching. Let's say this King isn't a King, but person who claims to be a world-class horse-rider. If one person alone laughed, the horse rider might find a way to use his authority to in turn belittle the laugher. However, if everybody laughed, there would be a universal signal that this horse-rider isn't all he cracked up to be. His status would be lowered, and he would in turn lose his authority. He wouldn't be able to punish the laughers for their impertinence. This is just one of the theories for the evolution of laughter: it's a tool to help weed out those with an untruthful claim to authority or high-status. However, it's in universal agreement among (who I can only suppose are called) jokeologists that this lowering of status is necessary for this kind of joke.
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Richard Dawkins
  Post: #277152 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 3:11PM
:: imagine99
:: QA10 Community God
QA Member's Avatar
I don't really do it often, mostly because I have a hard time telling the difference between a joke and seriousness myself. But there is one friend that I joke around with a lot in that way, we call each other whores all of the time. >..< I've had friends jokingly call me stupid and I usually don't take it well...
  Post: #277209 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 7:57PM
:: sean7326
:: QA10 Community God
Cos its fun. I regularly call a good friend of mine a british prick. Emoticon: Tongue :p Honestly- if its done right, it can be v. fun. Emoticon: Smile :)
  Post: #277213 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 8:15PM
:: awkwardsoul_x
:: QA10 Community God
Dylan counting down to trek con, again for a week [Avatar]
People like to find an excuse to insult other people. They want to justify it, so this whole "it's just joking" thing became popular. It's not really joking, because joking implies trying to entertain people with something humorous, and an insult is neither entertaining nor is it humorous.

Next time someone insults you and then tells you they're just joking, tell them that a joke is supposed to be funny, and you're clearly not laughing.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
- Maya Angelou
  Post: #277234 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 9:38PM
:: kllxhnnh
:: QA1 Just in
QA Member's Avatar
I see people doing that all the time. It's actually kind of mean. I mean, my friends are really sarcastic, and I know that, so when they say mean stuff like that, I know they're joking, and we just make fun of each other and stuff. But even then it's still stupid. People should be nice to each other.

I dunno. People are just so used to sarcasm and stuff these days.
"If wellness is this, what in Hell's name is sickness?"
  Post: #277238 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 9:53PM
:: Sophita
:: QA7 Taking responsibility
QA Member's Avatar
I think it's coz it gives the person who's saying it more confidence, because they can find a fault, even though it might only be in jest. I don't mind it, coz I'm so easy to make fun of (you'd need to know me in person to explain why), but some people can get really hurt about it.
  Post: #277251 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 10:19PM
:: foppet1
:: QA10 Community Goddess
Paige is sick of this, indefinitely [Avatar]
I agree that there is a line where joking becomes insulting.
I have never teased my friends when they asked for help or advice or anything serious like that.

However, my friends and I are all very sarcastic and we're all smartasses. If one of us does something that is genuinely stupid then we call each other out on it lol We're all mean to each other, but we enjoy it... in a weird... kinda disturbed way because we're crazy like that lol
"You can lead me by a leash anytime, if you keep looking at me like that" ~ Skye, CLOV
  Post: #277272 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 10:54PM
:: pastafarian
:: QA8 High Householder
QA Member's Avatar
Hmm, I think it's clear that insulting within a strong relationship isn't meant to be hurtful. Often the stronger the relationship, the worse the insult. I think the insult acts as a test of the relationship.
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Richard Dawkins
  Post: #277286 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 11:23PM
:: CraziInsani
:: QA1 Just in
Richard is Happy, indefinitely [Avatar]
hmm.. You guys have given me a lot to think about.. xD I mean like. Sometimes I can tell its a joke and then I'm all good. But when its like OMG YOU'RE SO STUPID! AND RETARDED! And an IDIOT! Dumbass. :] Idunno what to think then @.@ That's a bit overboard haha ><" Which is why I don't xD
  Post: #277294 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 11:39PM
:: livelovelaugh
:: QA10 Community Goddess
i insult people as jokes... and they insult me.
i never ever mean it to hurt someone...
some people just dont get my dry sense of humor.
i laugh at my own jokes too =]
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  Post: #277299 Link to this post, Mon 31 Aug 09, 11:59PM
:: axiao
:: QA1 Just in
there is a difference between an insult and a joke


usually when people joke about something, it tends to be non specifics. that's the secret ingredient to what makes people laugh about the matter, it's because it's something that none of the audiences can apply themselves to.

say you joke about the good ol' how many irishmen is needed to replace a lightbulb.

if your audience is devoid of irishmen, then your audiences may find the stereotype funny, because none of them can apply themselves to the stereotype.
however, there are often those who can overlook things like stereotypes or generalization, because afterall, it's still too vague of an idea. not all irishmen are alcoholics.

however, jokes specifically targeting a person is dangerous, matter of fact, it's not jokes, it's now into the realms of insults.

poster's situation's a good case of insult

if you dont know a problem, a jokingly answer would be "dude, the problem's quite easy, actually", afterall, it's targetted to the problem itself, not any person specifically.

but if you spin it around with "the problem's easy, you're stupid if you cant solve it", it's an expression directed at someone else, someone who's your audience, now it's not a joke, it's an expression.

but what makes us comfortable with these direct expression is the fact that we are familiar with each other. say, you and your best friend can often give each other a hard time. that's because your friendship has been confirmed and that you acknowledge your friend can do you no harm, intentionally.

but imagine, if one day some strange comes up to you, and started harassing you. you have no idea who he/she is. can you confirm his/her loyalty to you?

the genuine jokes are the ones that's not specific. racial jokes and generalizations are good examples. although they may target a specific group, but it's a very skewed representation of individuals, and not all of us can easily apply ourselves to a stereotype almost immediately. jokes about frictional characters are often very welcoming, because we do not often hold concrete relationship with the character. as long as your audiences dont find attachment to the joke, then it's always welcoming.

an insult is a direct, specific comment that's used with an intent. since strangers cannot determine each other's intent, that's really when direct and specific expressions cross the lines between a joke and an insult. when the subject becomes direct, or contains many elements that applies to you, maybe that's when it's crossing the line.




always know your audience, a good joke's one that everyone can laugh at, but a bad joke's when you put someone who's listening on the table.


PS: many jokes do hold a minimal amounts of fact to reinforce the teller's intent to make light of the situation (like the king that fell off the chair). whereas insults is often subjective and contains very little factual information. (your general derogatory statements of others' parent)
  Edit: axiao, Fri 11 Sep 09, 6:04AM
Post: #280308 Link to this post, Fri 11 Sep 09, 5:58AM
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