Dark Humor: A Millennial Coping Measure

Dark Humor: A Millennial Coping Measure

We see it in our memes, in our hastags, in our jokes--we laugh to keep from crying.
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We all love to laugh. There is nothing more appealing in a lover or friend than a strong sense of humor. It's nothing to new or startling; appreciating humor is far from generation-specific ideal.

Only, it is. Our sense of humor is very specific. It's rooted in sarcasm, irony, and cynicism. And we love it.

We like our humor how like we like our coffee--dark, bitter, and with a fresh cup of morbid perspective. We see it in our memes, in our hastags, in our jokes, there is pessimism that's very distinct to us.

For long time, while I sat in sardonic political discourse about the evils of capitalism with my roommates, I thought it was an age thing. Young adults have always had a knack for melodrama, my mother always said, whether that be a 19-year-old in the 1950s or a 15-year-old during the Bubonic Plague (circa 1346 BC). It's part of the quarter(depending on local life expectancy)-life crisis, I've always believed. And that peculiar sense of adulty optimism would seep in shortly after our teen-angst phase has properly subsided. Except it didn't. When we let go of the heavy eyeliner and retired all the My Chemical Romance paraphernalia, we didn't become optimistic. We became bitter.

When I looked and listened to my peers, all I heard was that twisted sort of perspective about life. I heard it in myself. The way I critique things, even in the way I sigh--it's always heavy and pessimistic.

Now, I'm not saying we, as a generation, are dark and moody all the time, but, yeah, aren't we? Sure, it's perhaps in part because of increased recognition of mental disease, but when was the last time you were shocked and dismayed when a fun-loving peer was diagnosed with depression? I don't intend to get too deep here, but aren't the most broken people you know always the ones making jokes about the thing that broke them?

It seems that as we get more wonderfully diverse and progressive, we also become increasingly and distinctly unattached and disillusioned.

Despite the accessibility of counseling and therapy, the most utilized coping measure I've observed is that sort of dark humor.

Every generation has overcome and lived through their share of tragedy, and, of course, some seem to have gone through more upheaval than others. I couldn't imagine being someone who grew up and lived through the Great Depression, WWI and WWII and be "fine." That generation (the G.I Generation) was not fine, but they're main coping mechanism was displayed through a weird sense political engagement. That civic duty pushing you to be involved in state-building--built on having a faith in the greater good of government--or whatever. I don't really know. The Silent Generation, bearing the brunt of the Vietnam War and and civil/social revolutions, coped by topic avoidance.

But what I do know is that millennials--we do not either of those things. Not at all. Maybe it's all the television scandal and corruption, but we're not exactly hopeful that things will get better with certainty. And we can't avoid talking about these problems. When we encounter tragedy (which seems to be too many times,) we are unable to face it with transparency. We (I) cringe at any sort of awkwardness, so instead of being frank, we generate memes that says what we we want to say through a veil of humor and insensitivity.

We are a people of increased skepticism; we recognize the problematic nearly in everything, we have witnessed the rise of technology before we knew it was rising, we've watched the world shift, ever so slightly, in incomprehensible ways. Perhaps it's due to increased globalization of media, but we are so attuned to catastrophe that is seems to occur so often and we thus desensitize it.

It sounds cruel and cold, but we've reached the point where we hear bad things happening so often that we are unable to mourn things like we should. Instead of dealing with tragedy head-on, we exploit its irony. And don't tell me you don't see it, too.

Whether its western-world islamaphoba, American racism, police brutality, political corruption, 9/11, Brock Turner's "sentence" or whatever we did to Harambe, we take these things--no matter bad, and make them jokes. I don't meaning trolling either, it's a weird type of pointing out what so tragically wrong about situations in a way that's funny, funny because it's so darkly true.

Recently, I think it was most poignantly was described by the hastag, "Things Longer Than Brock Turner's Sentence." Rape is never funny, and yet, in lieu of something so problematic, we see some of the best memes I've seen in a while.

It's funny and morbid, and the only thing I could do when I saw those posts was retweet them as fast as humanly possible.


That's the way we cope with problems. We laugh. We laugh to keep from crying.

Cover Image Credit: Red Online

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value

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There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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