Is This Funny?

July 5, 2024

How would you feel if you saw this posted by someone in an online rugby group chat?

I wanna see Peter O’Mahony punch the head off Etzebeth and Bundee Aki clothesline de Allende unprovoked

The conversation had started up when the Irish team for this weekend was posted and he was discussing the team and other related matters with one of our regular members from Cape Town. The above comment came out of the blue and had in no way been provoked by anything the Springbok supporter had said.

I copied his comment in chat and asked “Why”; his reply was “It’s my sense of humour”

“So why not put a laughing emoji at the end so people can see you meant it in jest?
(mentally thinking who can find that sort of comment funny?)

he answered: “people in here know me”

We have people from all over the world and newbies.” I replied.

The comments themselve aside (and let’s remember that these were typed, not blurted out in a blind moment without thinking), this takes time and at the end, you have to press the enter button. However, this someone who has previously been vocal about all things Irish and Leinster; the reasons why his team lost have always been about bad decisions/missed penalties/blind referees; it’s always about an upcoming “revenge match” if his team was beaten the last time.

We are all passionate about our respective teams, but I will always congratulate a winning opposing team and I never gloat in chat when my lads do well.

In previous conversations with this person that have gone down a similar path, I have passed on comments brought up that coaches I know in england and france who have all said that people learn more from failures than wins. At the end of the day, the team that plays better on the day will win, regardless of their advantages; we only have to look at Glasgow Warriors’ success against the Bulls a couple of weeks ago for an example of the underdog winning on the day.

But as we all know, there is always someone who is not prepared to see thing from a different perspective.

What does concern me and hence this post, I feel that we need to highlight and address the potential harm such negative humour can cause in group settings. In a good group, the owner and admin should aim to:

  • Promote Empathy: Think twice before you post anything; just be considerate of others and lead by example.
  • Set Boundaries: Clearly defining what is acceptable in various social settings can help create environments where people feel safe and respected. This is something that a good group owner will maintain, but relies on having the right support admin to rule when they are not there.
  • Educate: Raising awareness about the impact of violent humour on victims of violence and marginalized groups can foster more sensitive and inclusive behaviour.
  • Encourage Positive Humour: Promoting humour that is inclusive and uplifting can provide alternatives to jokes that rely on shock value or transgression.

Humour is subjective, and what one person finds funny, another may not, but we should all be mindful to avoid humour that others can find offensive or harmful. It’s important to balance the freedom to express humour with the responsibility to consider its impact on others. We can all overstep the mark but as mature adults, it’s important to apologise and maybe even try to understand the reasons behind why we said what we said.

“Let’s just agree to disagree” he ended, with no consideration of the effect of his words. Maybe a woman, I was out of order , but that’s his issue, not mine.

I thought about it for a few hours and decided to leave the group; I am at a place in my life where I am not dealing with anything I don’t have to. I will unfriend/block people or leave situations that either don’t contribute to my personal life or cause me stress. The key to being content is knowing that you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.  There is strength in walking away from what does not make us smile: we don’t need permission from anyone to do this, nor do we owe them any explanation.

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