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.

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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Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Yet another school shooting in America, still nothing done. We are dying.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018: We are all heartbroken to hear about another school shooting.

At Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old male is pronounced dead at the scene after shooting two other students and a school resource officer. Just before their first period started, at 7:55 am, Austin Rollins shot one male and one female student with a handgun before being shot by the school's resource officer. While the 16-year-old female is in critical condition, the 14-year-old male is currently stable. This is the 17th school shooting in 2018. That's 17 days out of the past 80 that parents have gone to bed with their children in body bags as a result of gun violence.

I don't care what political party you associate with, gun violence is completely out of control. I am a registered Republican and completely agree with stricter gun laws. Learn the difference between a gun ban and sales control. Concerned citizens are not trying to take away your guns, but are trying to take away the rights from those that are risks.

Could you imagine legally having to send your child to school but never coming back? You've packed their lunch, maybe with a special note, and gave them a kiss before they left for school, not knowing that it was their last. No matter where we go, we are not safe. We can't go to malls, movie theaters, schools, or even churches without having to worry if it will be our last trip. Our homes, our places of worship, and our schools are supposed to be the places where we feel safest and, instead, our children are filled with fear. Instead of focusing on the political views that divide these groups, why don't we focus on what unites us? Why don't we focus on protecting our kin?

Everyone has had an opinion on the walkouts that have been happening around the country. Everyone has had an opinion on the 17 minutes of silence for the 17 children lost in the Florida shooting. I've seen people disgusted that Nickelodeon had 17 minutes of broadcast cut because it "interrupted the only program [I] let [my] children watch".

If your child was shot at school, you wouldn't have to worry about what programs they watch, but rather where to bury them and how to afford their memorial.

I've seen people saying that it's no wonder that Millenials are dumb. They "find any excuse to cut class". Have you thought about the fact that they are genuinely worried about going to school?

Personally, I've experienced both a shooting scare at my high school and a bomb threat at my college. I shouldn't have to worry about my life ending. I'm legally forced to go to high school and get an education or I'm putting myself into a lifetime of debt to get a degree.

We are all too young to stress about gun violence. Our school years are supposed to be the times our of lives, but they're being wasted on worrying about dying every day.

Rest in peace to all of those who have lost their lives in shootings, not only this year, but always. Hopes, thoughts, and prayers go out to their loved ones. One day, we will unite and find a solution.

We need to work together and forget the labels of parties and cliques in school and look out for one another instead. There is no kind but mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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The Republican Versus Democrat Stigma Needs To Slow Down

We Need To Be Individual Again

We as a society have developed an unnecessary need to place people in a specific party based on what could be a single value out of many. This is a letter for those who do not define themselves as one or the other; for those whose values range between conservative and liberal, for those who feel the unfortunate pressure of society to choose one even though your values do not fit just one.

The political parties at one point generally just meant “these are my basic beliefs, so this is the candidate I will vote for because they most closely represent them.” Party affiliation was harmless. Republicans and Democrats could get along fine, differing opinions not getting in the way of relationships and alignment. More importantly, you did not have to be part of a specific political party to be an active member of society. Your opinions and principles were yours.

Over the years following the last two election races, political parties gained a much more significant and defining meaning in our lives as individuals and as members of society. There is a newly developed stigma behind political opinions. You are almost pressured to feel one way or another about every single topic. If a majority of your values are of the conservative agenda, you must be a heart-and-all Republican. In contrast, if you are more liberal-leaning you are docked as a set Democrat. We as citizens are being labeled according to what may be a few hard-values. And dishearteningly enough, can be ridiculed for what we value. Even if you might not value everything the same as your determined party.

There exists those of us that hold values from both parties. It is possible to value women’s rights and also value a traditional marriage. It is possible to be a gun owner and also active in keeping children safe in school. You do not have to just submit to every belief of one party. You can value aspects of different parties and still be a functioning member of the American society. Do not let the looming obligation to declare yourself as strictly one or the other. You do not have to pretend you agree with everything Democratic or everything Republican; you can have your own values. And you should. Our society is messed up in the way that values are pushed on citizens. We are meant to be free individuals with our private values.

It is not fair to those of us who value different things. Not every American is a to-the-bone Democrat or Republican. It is possible to hold liberal beliefs as a conservative person. And Vice-Versa. We need to stop labeling one another as one or the other, conservative or liberal. We need to stop silencing each other because we have differing views. We need to accept not everyone is perfectly one party, and diversity exists. Open mindedness exists in Americans, despite the seemingly growing generalizations. We need to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics.
Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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