5 Everyday Groups of People Society Says It's OK to Mock
There's a rule in comedy that says you shouldn't punch down. It's okay to make fun of someone rich and famous, because they're too busy molesting groupies with 100-dollar bills to notice, but if you make a joke at the expense of a homeless person, you're just an asshole.
Unless they have a box.
That said, we as a society have somehow decided on a few arbitrary exceptions to this rule. So while most people are supportive and tolerant of everyone's differences and stations in life, prepare to be mocked for no good reason if you fall into one of the following categories:
Mentally Ill Celebrities
The silver lining to Robin Williams' suicide was that it prompted a serious discussion on mental health, or at least a lot of serious-looking memes.
Journalists wrote think pieces, troubled Aladdin-loving cousins wrote Facebook posts, and in all of them, the message was the same: the mentally ill need our support, and shouldn't be stigmatized or sensationalized. Unless they're an unpopular celebrity, in which case, fuck 'em.
After Williams' death, US Weekly ran an article about how Williams' daughter wants to end that stigma, which was a bit of a tonal shift for a site that ran "Amanda Bynes' Craziest Tweets." Said tweets included claims that she had an eating disorder and comments on her legal troubles. Wacky!
And a selfie showing off her cleavage? Does this oddball know no limits?!
Meanwhile, Perez Hilton had an EXCLUSIVE! report on celebrities remembering Williams, and by the standards of the shrieking and angry urinating that Hilton calls reporting, it's touching. About six weeks later, he had another EXCLUSIVE! titled "Amanda Bynes' Odd Behavior Continues As She Attacks Another Fan On The Street!", which was reported with all the giddiness of a child ripping open a big birthday present.
Aw, isn't that sweet? Srsly though, Perez Hilton is society's anal cyst.
You're right, Perez, this doesn't sound like someone who is well, because Bynes has been in and out of psychiatric care for two years. And yet she's the butt of jokes told by everyone from stand-up comedians to your least funny friends, which is the exact opposite of how we all told each other we'd behave when Williams killed himself! LOLz!
Maybe it's because Williams starred in Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, and Good Morning, Vietnam, whiles Bynes gave the world the gifts of The Amanda Show and She's the Man. Maybe it's because Williams was a stoic man's man, while Bynes is a hysterical chick, although the inflated and often mocking coverage of Scott Stapp's mental breakdown suggest it's more complicated. Not that we can really call the frontman of Creed a man. That "Higher" song was so terrible, it's no wonder he's tried to kill himself twice, ha, am I right?!
"With Arms Wide Open"? More like ... "With Arms That ... Can't Write Good Music." Or whatever. Burn!
But I think the main reason is that Williams' death was a total shock, while Bynes and Stapp's struggles are public. It's easy to say that we shouldn't stigmatize mental illness when the ill have the good decency to suffer in private. But when we're confronted by the ugly reality, all those nice intentions go out the window faster than a warm apple pie left on a cartoon windowsill.
If a friend or family member had a breakdown, most people would help. But celebrities? They're not real people. They exist for our entertainment, and if they aren't making films or music anymore, then they can entertain us with their erratic behavior. And you can bet that if Williams had gone around declaring that his father had put a microchip in his brain, or that the CIA had trained him to assassinate the President, we would have laughed at him too.
Adult Fast Food Workers
In today's economy, you can have an engineering degree and consider yourself lucky to work as a horse semen collector. In tough times, it's admirable to work as hard as you can, regardless of where it is you work ... unless you're out of college and work in fast food, in which case you're human garbage.
Only about 30 percent of fast food workers are teens. Over 36 percent have kids to support, and 31 percent have at least some college education. With those kinds of numbers, it's no wonder that fast food workers have made demands for increased wages. They've got to pay the rent and feed their kids proper Kraft Dinner instead of generic crap that tastes like cardboard and congealed Cheeto dust. How did people respond to this moderate campaign?
Those lazy, dumb criminals are lucky to have anything! Why, that guy who served you a Wendy's frosty today probably just got out of jail for drug dealing, the girl who served you a frosty the day before wanted nothing more than to go home and watch soap operas until she passed out, and the guy who gave you your frosty two days ago thinks physicists talk to the dead. Also, heads up, you're showing all the warning signs of a nascent frosty addiction.
But those are just Internet jerks. It's not like real life people in positions of power are being patronizing, right? (If you answered "Right!" then please study up on how rhetorical questions are used in comedy. I want a five-page paper in my inbox within a week.)
Anyone who answered "Right, that nevvvver happens" automatically gets full credit.
When Brandon Daniel Turell was convicted of vandalism (okay, so some fast food workers are criminals, but at least one person in your office sells crank, so whatevs) and ordered to pay restitution, the judge asked him how he intended to go about doing it. When Turell said that he was working at Burger King, the judge responded with "Why can't you get a real job?" That's right, people who are trying to raise kids, just head on down to the job store and get yourself a real one. Bet you never thought of that!
While single moms who wait tables at Applebee's aren't exactly considered society's unsung heroes, no other low wage job has the same sort of well-documented stigma. Far fewer people blink twice if an adult serves them coffee or rings them up at the grocery store, but if someone who's old enough to remember when "Funkytown" was a hit rings up chicken fingers, you have friends or family who will talk about how pathetic that is.
Although if they brag about the "special ingredient" they add to the ranch dressing, then yeah, feel free to judge.
So either fast food is the absolute bottom of the barrel for society's shiftless parasites, or it's just another way to make ends meet while searching for a better gig in a stagnant economy. Which is it? If you've started researching that paper, you know the answer.
Do you want to score the ultimate burn in any argument? Just call your opponent a virgin. "Okay, you're right, Sean Connery wasn't the star of Gator, but the only reason you knew that and I didn't is because I'm too busy getting laid! Enjoy masturbating to the IMDb, loser!"
There's no denying that society is a lot more open about sex than when our grandparents had to use coy euphemisms like "Would you like to come inside and inspect my stamp collection?" I hired someone to sensually rub my nipples while I wrote this article. I am someone who occasionally makes love at women, and I understand the appeal of posting the envelope, but the fact that we feel the need to mock people who haven't had any luck sending it by overnight express baffles me.
I, uh, I had a thing for my mail lady.
As pop culture and club-hopping bros have taught us, male virgins are awkward, socially inept losers who spend too much time playing video games, while female virgins are either Creatures from the Black Lagoon or stuck-up bitches. Even people who are virgins due to their religious beliefs, asexuality, or the fact that they had their dick bitten off by wolves are given weird looks for being prudes, freaks, or suspicious for having their genitals so close to a wolf's mouth in the first place. Elliot Rodger wasn't the "Man Who Was Extremely Socially Isolated and Apparently Had Some Sort of Mental Health Issues Killer." He was the "Virgin Killer," because every virgin you know is a powder keg of sexual frustration just waiting to snap.
It worked fine for Tesla, although is he actually a virgin when he can eyefuck from beyond the grave?
I've known people with little-to-no sexual experience whom I consider far more successful in most aspects of life than I am, although when you write Internet comedy and subsist off of the food your roommate drops, that bar is pretty low. I've also known people who could pick up more partners in a week than I could in a year, and they're aimless in life.
It's not hard to find stories of well-adjusted and content adult virgins. Maybe they're pouring 80 hours a week into their philosophy doctorate because they know that once they have it they won't be able to step out the door without getting laid.
Just swimming in it!
Maybe their friends regretted losing their virginity young, so they decided to hold out. Maybe they just don't have much of a sex drive.
I could recite anecdotal evidence all day, but more importantly, who the fuck cares? Whether or not another person is riding the Pony Express has precisely zero relevancy to your own life. If someone you know is a virgin and bothered by it, then by all means, help them healthily address it. But otherwise, their sexual history is about as much of your business as the contents of their bank account. And if you're a virgin and the stigma is bothering you, just remember: the guy calling you a virgin because you kicked his ass at Call of Duty probably isn't getting much either.
In 2013, we saw the launch of "#fatshamingweek," a celebration that's unlikely to replace Halloween or Frugal Fun Day as the number one spot on the October social calendar. Featuring insightful commentary like "The fatter you get, the less you will be loved" and a comparison of this trolling campaign to America's struggle against Nazi Germany, the whole affair was somehow even less insightful than the "not in the slightest" you'd expect.
It was organized by a drove of men's rights activists, who are to rational discourse what influenza is to your stomach contents. But regular Internet folks made clever and insightful responses to prove that we simply don't tolerate this kind of behavior anymore.
Except we do, all the time. Not to the extreme of #ourmothersarehugelydissapointedinusweek, of course. Because at least they didn't encourage fat women to kill themselves, which Caitlin Seida found herself dealing with after a picture of her cosplaying as Lara Croft made the e-rounds. She found herself inundated with fun comments like "Heifers like her should be put down" so she would "spare everyone's eyes" for not living up to the totally realistic body proportions of Ms. Croft.
If your argument can be distilled into a snarky meme, it's probably not a good argument.
There's an entire comedic genre that revolves around the tired punchline "dumb fatty fell down." And if you don't know at least one person who gossips about a co-worker's weight, or who goes out of their way to declare that they wouldn't fuck that fat chick in a million years (as though she was in his face begging him for his dick, and not across the room, unaware of his existence), then it sounds like you have a great social circle. Congrats!
I'm as guilty of this as anyone. When I see an overweight person eat a chocolate bar inside of two bacon cheeseburgers, I assume they have no impulse control. But when I eat the same meal and add a triple chocolate peanut butter and flask whisky milkshake, it's because I'm treating myself after a long and stressful day of work. We give ourselves every excuse in the world, while assuming the worst about strangers.
"My wife made me take the recycling out and I stubbed my toe. I earned this."
All these "fat shamers" claim they're only doing it remind people that obesity is unhealthy, as though walking up to an overweight stranger and telling her "You're a horrible person to feel that it's okay to be fat" will result in her responding, "My god, you're right! I had been confused by all of the conflicting information given to me by society and my doctor, but with your words I see everything clearly now! I'm going to sign up at a gym right now!"
Literally everyone knows that being overweight is unhealthy. But aside from the fact that losing weight is a lot more difficult than Twitter troglodytes make it sound, people who are mocked about their weight end up gaining more weight. Man, I've always wondered why scientists go out of their way to prove the blindingly obvious.
Adults Who Live at Home
More and more adults are living with their parents. In America, 23 percent of 27-year-olds live at home. In Britain, it's 26 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 34. Then there are the many countries where living at home is the norm, but I'm not counting them because their spicy cuisine upsets my lily white stomach. The numbers are moving solely in one direction, and it ain't down.
They've been dubbed the Boomerang Generation by people who feel the need to come up with names for these sorts of things, even though that makes them sound like ethnically diverse Australian teenagers in a low-budget cartoon who fight poachers with boomerangs and their emotions. And while you've heard all sorts of pansy-ass excuses like "I can't find a better job that can cover rent," or "I have crippling student debts," old people who get paid to disingenuously make modern society look lazy and incompetent know the truth -- this "infantile phenomenon" is caused by people "entangled in mother's apron strings ... putting off that scary but liberating moment of reckoning when one must assume full responsibility for one's life and destiny." Thanks for the self-righteous condescension, guy who makes so many sweeping judgments he could be a professional curler.
See, there are brooms and ... never mind, you wouldn't appreciate it.
By now, you've probably noticed the common fallacy. It's easy to take the worst traits of a group of people and assume they represent everyone in that group. And now half of you are rolling your eyes and saying, "Duh, Mark, that's called stereotyping. Tell us about something we don't know, like how you can grate cheese with your abs."
But these stereotypes function differently. When some racist old coot claims that black men are a bunch of violent thugs, he doesn't go on to say that he wishes he had more spare time to punch cops and rob liquor stores. But I have heard people make fun of someone for living at home, and then complain that they're struggling to pay their bills in the same conversation.
Huh, it's almost like both scenarios have pros and cons, and people arrived at them through a series of logical decisions. Are there people out there looking to just laze around and eat free food? Sure. I was that guy for six months after I graduated. And in the three years that I've had my own place, I've spent more time playing video games and drinking beer than a mature adult should, while the hardest-working and most driven person I know continues to live at home because he likes home cooking and not exacerbating his debt for a degree that will earn him more money than I'll ever make.
It turns out that going to school for writing NASCAR erotica pays really well.
So maybe the fry cook who served you today lives with his parents because he's too dumb to get his GED and couldn't get laid if his life depended on it. Or maybe he's trying to pay off his education with the only job he can find, a harsh reality that's comforted when he goes back to the apartment he shares with his girlfriend and has wild tantric sex. The truth is probably in between, but while one assumption lets us make cheap jokes so we can feel better about our own shortcomings, the other will make everyone happy.
Mark is skinny, lives with a roommate, has never worked in fast food, lost his virginity late and has a mental illness. Read more from him at his website!
For more from Mark, check out The 5 Least Helpful Ways People React to Tragedy and 4 Ways Gamers Still Suck at Dealing With Women.
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