As per usual, controversy on Twitter (and the internet in general) relating to Nelson Mandela’s death has been taken too far, and while I hate to add fuel to the fire, this isn’t the first time I’ve been a witness to such a travesty because apparently the death of a well known figure is comic gold!
Remember Cory Monteith and all those hilarious jokes about his death? Or how about the jokes about the ironic circumstances surrounding Paul Walker’s death? Weren’t those genius? But it doesn’t matter that people are making jokes about such things because these people were celebrities and hence immune to cruelty!
And hey look, the world just lost another well known person so I guess it’s time to crack out the joke book and have a laugh at his expense too!
At what age do people lose their compassion? At what point does a person think ‘oh look, that guy who spent his life fighting hatred, who continuously fought for equal rights, who lived a life of kindness and who brought hope to millions is after dying…this is the perfect time to make jokes about him and disregard everything he did’? You can argue your joke meant nothing of the sort, but why are you making a joke so disrespectful in the first place and then defending it?
Let’s just clear something up; joking about someone dying is not, has never been and will never be funny. Yes, you have the right to freedom of speech and the freedom to tell whatever jokes you like, but what you don’t have the right to is the freedom from the consequences of your speech. So maybe take a second before you say something and think what benefit your comment is going to bring to the world. If your words don’t make the world a better place, then why use them?
But look, if the fact that a man fought for equality and was the true embodiment of human goodness isn’t enough to stop you from making that disrespectful joke, just remember that he was a human being. He was someone’s brother, someone’s father, someone’s friend. Surely knowing that is enough to make you act like a decent person?
‘We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.’ – Nelson Mandela, R.I.P