It’s not only “Okay”: it’s strongly recommended!
With the recent panic over the new coronavirus, you see different reactions come about. Fear and worry are common, but should jokes and laughter be allowed? Yes. Yes they should.
There’s been some recent outcry about coronavirus outside of the obvious sickness and death angle. People are unhappy about coronavirus humor, of all things. Public figures cracking jokes, such as the Serbian president and Prince William, have angered many. Emma Grey Ellis of Wired recently opined on whether or not it’s okay to make fun of the virus. Now why, exactly, is this sort of joke suddenly not kosher?
One particular argument has been that it perpetuates “harmful Asian stereotypes.” The mayor of Boston even invoked that when Sony announced they wouldn’t be present at the Penny Arcade Expo this year. This presents a question in response. How exactly is saying “don’t eat bats” racist? If I make an Ozzy Osborne bat-eating joke, am I suddenly racist towards the people of China?
Another invocation is the “too soon” argument – that the situation is still too terrible, indecisive and raw to joke about. But where exactly are the time limits? Can I crack a joke about the panic level of it, but not make fun of it being lethal? Who does this rule apply to? Who is writing the “too soon” rule? Do I need to write them an official request to tell the jokes?