Humor can address issues, aid conversations

When something like the recent joke edition of the Echo causes controversy and negative feelings, it is natural to feel that the easy solution would be to never print such an edition again. If there was no joke edition, there would be no controversy. I am not endorsing this year’s joke edition or any articles within it, but I feel that getting rid of the joke issue is not the right path going forward.

This may seem obvious, but it is important to remember that humor can often have many positive effects as well. Besides simply providing laughter (when the humor is in good taste), it allows people to  consider issues in ways that they otherwise would not have if it were  not for the humorous presentation. Having a chance to examine this community through humor does not have to be a bad thing.

We all know, and many of us watch and read, shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “joke news” outlets like The Onion. Many of these skits and articles have become extremely well-known, and they all reflect, even if in a joking manner, what is happening in the world around us. These outlets often make us think about issues in ways that had previously not been explicitly discussed. For this reason, they add tremendous value to society even if they are jokes.

Not only do they add value, but they often also cause people to pay attention to issues they previously would not have. As with all small communities, we have many similar issues and cultural aspects at Colby that often go unnoticed or undiscussed. Besides the fact that I hope we are a community that values good humor, I hope we can continue having a joke Echo edition that serves the same purpose for us as outlets I mentioned above do for the entire country.

When joke editions occur, it is natural for there to be controversy at times. However, I hope we as a community do not respond to the controversy by attempting to keep joke editions from occurring in the future. Nearly every issue, no matter how controversial, can be brought up in a humorous way while still bringing light to the issue, not making it worse. Obviously there is some subjectivity in this, but I hope that in the future we focus on the joke Echo issue being written in that way instead of stopping it entirely.

I hope we respond by ensuring that the future humor is viewed as right by the community. We could increase input from other community members (besides those involved in the Echo), and we could work to better understand how to bring up topics in a tasteful way. If this happens, the annual joke Echo would cause positive humor and thought.

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