The Power (both good and bad) of Humor

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As many people do, I’ve used humor to cope with difficult situations all my life.

After speaking to several of my friends in Tokyo this morning, one of them made a joke about how we should all realize that Godzilla does exist. I thought it was funny coming from someone in Tokyo, and I tweeted it out.

The tweet was met with mixed response, some agreeing that humor does help in situations like this, and some calling it bad form.

Was it bad form? Depends on how you look at it. I don’t believe so.

Humor is a wonderful tool, and can be used to help people who otherwise might feel that they have no hope. There are countless examples of this throughout history, I don’t need to list them here.

Simply put, if I can make someone laugh and take them away from their sadness for even a second, I feel that I’ve helped.

I’m not on the ground in Tokyo, I’m in an airport in New York. I can’t physically get there to help or comfort people, so I did what I do best, and tried to lighten the mood.

If anyone was offended by my tweet, I most certainly apologize. Disrespect was never my intention.

However, I own what I tweeted out. I wasn’t selling a product, ala the Kenneth Cole debacle. I was simply trying to use humor to lighten the mood of an otherwise sad situation. I don’t view that as wrong.

If you were offended, I offer my apologies. If I lost you as a follower, I’m sorry to see you go. However, if I can offer a bit of brightness in an otherwise dark time, I don’t see how NOT doing that benefits anyone.

Perhaps I just need to remember that with as many followers as I have, there will always be people who don’t share my views.

Just now, I went to the American Red Cross site and made a donation, in respect to all of those who might have been offended by my tweet, as well as all of those who believe that it was said in the form it was intended, which was the help, in a way I know how. I encourage you to do the same.

A world in which we can’t use humor to help people frightens me more than any disaster ever could.

I continue to offer my prayers and good thoughts to all those affected by this act of nature.

Peter Shankman3/11/11, 9:57am

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