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This Generation’s Self-Deprecating Humor

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Walking through the halls of any high school offers the promise of hearing many interesting conversations, from the events that took place during the weekend to dramatic retellings of stressful all-nighters. One unifying theme that all these conversations seem to have in common is self-deprecation and fatalistic humor. Our generation is no stranger to dark humor; in fact, the use of these humor devices might just be one of the defining characteristics of our generation.
Fatalistic humor has nothing to do with fatalism but is rather a subdivision of dark humor that centers around themes that, at times, can be morbid. Likewise, self-deprecating jokes are jokes that usually revolve around being overly critical of oneself. Does any of this sound familiar? How about when someone makes a statement like “Wow, I’m such a piece of garbage” or “Might as well jump off a cliff”? Does that ring more of a bell? These, of course, are just examples, but they are not too far off from the kinds of things that can be heard within the very halls of CHS. What some fail to realize about this type of dark humor is that, well, it is a coping mechanism. With the threat of a third world war, seemingly never-ending hate crimes, massive and possibly irreversible climate change, and an economy that is reducing many to wage slaves, our prospects are looking bleak. What else is there to joke about than ourselves, right?
Sometimes though, this kind of humor is not always used as a coping mechanism. For many of us, we no longer associate “fatalistic” with taboo and/or something unspeakable. It is unclear when exactly this switch happened, but it shows clearly in our humor and everyday speech. Walking around campus and hearing things like the earlier example, “Might as well jump off a cliff,” does not raise eyebrows among our peers. Instead, a chorus of “Same!” will follow the statement. In fact, this kind of humor is how a lot of people within this generation bond. How many times have you connected with someone, if only momentarily, over some kind of self-deprecating or dark joke?
The biggest problem with these humor devices, though, is that to listening ears, they may not always translate properly. Now more than ever, adults around us are paying attention. They are becoming more vigilant of a lot of things we, as students, say and do. This is, of course, not at all a bad thing, but it can lead to very awkward situations when one lacks tact. Dark humor, self-deprecating jokes, and fatalistic humor is all good and well in the right moments. It is important to be aware of your surroundings. Know when it is appropriate and when it is not appropriate to use such humor. Doing so will help you to avoid sticky situations.
The bottom line though is that our generation has a pretty dark sense of humor, and it is not something that we can really help. As we look toward our futures and stare in abject horror, we cannot help but draw our humor from even the darkest of places. Truthfully speaking, this (along with many other things about our generation) might be something that adults just might not understand. It is just another adaptation this generation has taken on to combat our rather abysmal looking future. Our generation shares the same sense of humor as the Addams family while the older generations are the seemingly nuclear, “stick to the status quo” sixties family that lives next door and runs away screaming at the end of every episode.

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This Generation’s Self-Deprecating Humor