If you have to explain a joke

| Saturday, September 25, 2010
Apparently people, by that I mean, person, thought I was making fun of the Amish yesterday. In the future I will try to stick with more easily understood humor such as patronizing women.

First off, I want to clarify something: the Amish are not actually low-tech or anti-technology. They are instead a lone group (or really several groups with shared values) which has managed to maintain community and family by taking a hard stand against anything which would interfere with it. This doesn't mean rejecting technology, but it does mean approaching it differently.

Let's go ahead and look at the attempted humor and find who or what each part is making fun of.

When a trend sweeps the world, no one is left out, not even the Amish. They're really not so different from you and I, with many of the same concerns, troubles, and need to share really pointless information with people we know. But enough intro, let's get to the fun stuff: the technology!

The introduction is a parody of the usual "hot new trend that everyone is in on!" media frenzy. You can substitute anything from rappers using youtube to grandmothers using facebook.

We're all used to Twitter and its 140 character limit. But the Amish have jumped ahead of us with an impressive one-page limit. That's right, as many characters (make them tiny to fit more!), even drawings, that you can fit on a page. Amish teens, even adults, have been flocking to the popular service Letter, which allows users write, draw, or scribble anything they want on a piece of paper and then by adding it to a paper-thin 'envelope' and a CPU-sized 'stamp', send it anywhere in the world. Wow!

During work one day I was amused at how Letter and Twitter sound a bit similar and maybe Letter is a lower-tech version of Twitter. I figured it was a good opportunity to poke fun at the character limit and the death of carefully written letters. This wraps up with a reversal of the usual worship of small technology.

But as we all know, we can't tweet our entire identities. Fortunately we have Facebook. Not to be left out of the trend, Amish teens have adopted the compact technology Book which effectively binds together a collections of Letter messages, know as Lits, which can then be traded around and written in. However the most common usage is by the major publishing companies who are using Book as a medium to sell and share stories and ideas around the world, even beyond the Amish community. In fact, I picked up several Books just the other day.

We don't read as many books as we used to. Also it seems that any new technology is seized upon as the hot new way to sell stuff.

Ever innovative, they've even created a low-cost alternative to camera phones with a bundle of services known as Shouting, Long-Term Memory, and Descriptive Skills. It has even been suggested that extensive use of the LTM and DS services can improve test scores and life outcomes.

Comments were accurate: I was mocking a culture and that culture wasn't the Amish: it was our own. We forget everything the next day and no longer use words for any specific meaning, but instead to convey generic feelings of good or bad, such as fascism meaning really bad rather than describing a system of government (which historically has not worked particularly well).

I was unable to reach any Amish for comment due to range and connection difficulties with my end of the Shouting service.

This was just me being silly.

Besides, even if I was attempting to offend the Amish, is this really the best medium?


Glyph, the Architect said...

I hear their bowling games also have a maximum score of 450.

Wait, that joke doesn't really work in this context. >_>

Unknown said...

Dude, I wasn't upset or anything, I just said i didn't particularly like that type of humor. I get the funny part, it's just not my style. You have no reason to defend yourself.

Now, you cant really say that there wont be people who would take your last post personally, so that was the "making fun of someone's culture" i was referring to. I am completely aware that this wasn't your primary intention.

Klepsacovic said...

@Glyph: I don't get it.

@Nikola: If you don't like any post that someone might take personally, how are you even still reading this blog? I'd guess every other post at least could be perceived as offensive, rude, crude, elitist, socialist, subversive, heartless, do-gooder, or at the least poorly-written.

Unknown said...

Man, I said i don't like the joke, you know, thumbs down, translated to a scale of 1 to 10, it would hit somewhere below five. I don't get the reaction. Do i need to worship every single thing you write?

Klepsacovic said...

"but mostly you are making fun of someone's culture." This doesn't strike me as a "eh, could have been better delivered" sort of response thumbs down.

But yes, yes you do.

LifeDeathSoul said...

LOL!!! I never laughed so hard before while reading your posts. Especially the last bit, that was pure genius!

Unknown said...

Well, you should probably put that on your rules page. Unless being a douchebag = giving critique in a nice and polite way in your book. If that is the case, then feel free to delete any posts i might make in the future.

If you want me to stop reading, feel free to say soand i will do that to. Trying to figure you out is a bitch anyway.

Klepsacovic said...

I think we might not be on the same page here...
As I read it it seemed that you had interpreted my post as making fun of the Amish. I sought to correct that. Your first comment to this post made it seem that you just didn't enjoy the joke but didn't find it offensive, which I thought contradicted your comment on the original post.

Am I misinterpreting your comments? I genuinely want to know, not because I'm super-concerned that someone might have not liked a post, but because I just dislike misunderstanding.

Dwism said...

explaining jokes makes all the fun go away.

Dwism said...

now, make a post apologizing to me, for ruining your last joke post, with this apology post!!

Glyph, the Architect said...

It was a Kingpin reference.

Unknown said...

I find it slightly offensive, and i also think slightly offensive is fine, just not my cup of tea in this case. That is all there is to it. There was no need to justify yourself, because you did nothing wrong. I just didn't find it funny.

Unknown said...

To add to the explanation, lets just say that zesty would be the closest word to it. Now, its not cause it zesty that i find it no that funny, i usually like it somewhat zesty. I just find it not that funny, period, no particular reason.

So, again, no need to write a whole separate post (about twice the length of the old one) in order to justify yourself. If you ask me, there would be no need for that even if your post could be interpreted as very offensive. Anyone you should give a damn about will take the time to try and understand what you are saying, not just jump to conclusions.

Now, as for yesterdays post, reading it now, i do apologize. It was late and i haven't worded it right so i see how it would look to someone else.

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