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View Poll Results: Can you laugh at people's stupidity/ignorance ?

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  • No, it makes me sad, especially for people who are supposed to be knowledgeable

    4 18.18%
  • No, it just isn't funny (or in a very sarcastic way)

    7 31.82%
  • Yes, as long as I don't know them personally (I like making fun of strangers)

    0 0%
  • Yes, as long as they are not intellectuals (politicians, scientists, teachers...)

    1 4.55%
  • Yes, but not for celebrities (as they set a bad example)

    0 0%
  • Yes, except for my friends (I don't want to offend them)

    1 4.55%
  • Yes, but I can't laugh at my own stupidity (it makes me feel ashamed)

    1 4.55%
  • Yes, but I dislike that other people laugh at my mistakes

    0 0%
  • I usually can laugh lightheartedly at other people's stupidity/ignorance/mistakes.

    10 45.45%
  • I usually can laugh lightheartedly at my own stupidity/ignorance/mistakes.

    13 59.09%
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Thread: Can you laugh at stupidity/ignorance ?

  1. #1
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Can you laugh at stupidity/ignorance ?

    I was watching a Japanese TV programme with many famous "tarento" on Fuji TV called めちゃ×2イケてる!and couldn't help noticing how many such programmes in Japan made fun of the "stars" (tarento)'s own stupidity (eg. they were asked to translate very easy English sentences like "where are you looking at?" and completely mistranslated). I just stopped watching as it doesn't make me laugh to see people's stupidity, especially if they are rich and famous TV stars (as they shouldn't be the dumbest people in their country). I have a good sense of humour, but not for such things.

    What about you ? Can you laugh at people's ignorance or stupidity ?
    Last edited by Maciamo; 09-04-05 at 17:33.
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  2. #2
    Regular Member Martyr's Avatar
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    Yes. It's totally circumstancial though. Don't ask me what those circumstances are though, I wouldn't know where to begin to explain.

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    i can easily laugh at WWF, but i do not tune to it intentionally. recently it was on, the bodyguards attacking the (insane stupid) judge and all these things- it is artificial stupidity however.

    real stupidity is a great problem, using words which are not known, it is so easy to look them up. even intelligent people with degree etc. are doing it.

    i know this is criticising...a wrong world. i experience it as wrong.

  4. #4
    Chukchi Salmon
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    Talking What is funny, what is not ?

    Basically I classify those as symbolic slapstick. Those kind usually give me unhealthy goosebumps at first sight, so I avoid them. However, if I linger on to the show, my shallowness lets me join in on the hidden humor. In other words, outward stupidity sometimes hides true intellegence which overcomes the numb-sculled show layout. Basically it's unpredictable from a mere glance. Some do make me feel nauseous, and make me wonder, is there nothing getter to do ? The world must have become quite boring to make such time-killers, joy-killers of bad first taste & after taste.

    But like I said, some are good because of some wit shining thru. It's just a bad profile. They must think easy is good. Multi layered stupidity must be rather hard to come up with. Charlie Chaplin was slapstick, yet full of passion, strong & persistent in theme, and varied in technique, which makes it multilayered, and enjoyable on many levels. Stupidity is only enjoyable when it is unintentional in its original setting and in the means of mediating it. Funniest videos & flashes are often distasteful because they are offered with the purpose of entertaining.

    Children and animals are more forgiveable; yet even those leave a doubtful aftertaste when it has gone outside the home or the playground. Nothing is as good as the unexpected, the spontaneous; whether it is laughter, surprise, indignation, support, pitty, learning, a familiar face, a friend, or love. Who can plan these things, put a price tag on it, and sell them for the assessed dollar value ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Martyr
    Yes. It's totally circumstancial though. Don't ask me what those circumstances are though, I wouldn't know where to begin to explain.
    Well put. though your use of two thoughs confuses me and forces me to classify.
    1. circumstances fitting, yes you can laugh.
    1A. Although you said 1., you cannot define what those circumstances are.
    2. Although you said 1., circumstances unfitting, no you cannot laugh.
    2A. Although you said 2., you cannot define what those circumstances are.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexriversan
    it is artificial stupidity however.

    real stupidity is a great problem, using words which are not known
    I admire your deep thoughts; they give me a healthy smile which cures the unhealthy goosebumps from the unhealthy bamboo shows. You really care about things don't you ? Yet, although I basically agree with your logic that real stupidity is genuinely saddening, as for the kind of artificial stupity; shouldn;'t they be stopped somehow ?

    I often find myself hating those shows. I enjoy some, but most are made with quick money for the quick money just to fit in those golden hours because they have nothing better to do. Or do you think it is the shallowness of the audience that makes those stupid shows ? The producers (the big players) know exactly what they are doing; they're just making a convenient excuse blaming it on the audience who really aren't that picky; neither too dumb nor too smart.

    I think they are just too lazy to make anything creative; they probably could be creative, but not every week or every day at the same hour. Maybe the TV airings should be restricted to relieve undue pressure to fill it with junk shows.... hahaha.....this is one of my most negative posts. Sorry for being such a downer ...
    Last edited by lexico; 09-04-05 at 18:50.
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  5. #5
    Regular Member Martyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Well put. though your use of two thoughs confuses me and forces me to classify.
    My bad. I haven't slept yet and I want some Georgia MAX Coffee.


    Or Realgold.

  6. #6
    Chukchi Salmon
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    Talking Coffee is the cure ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Martyr
    My bad. I haven't slept yet and I want some Georgia MAX Coffee.

    Or Realgold.
    Don't apologize, I was just picking on you to be friendly; chimps call it grooming. Haha... And yes, coffee is the ultimate cure for sleepy heads like me, too.. Haha...

    My favorite is Maxwell instant generic. I drink it for the caffeine btw.

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    lexico,

    i do not like a lot of things, including food varieties, clothing styles, dangerous sports, ill-fashioned literature...
    it seems very logically to myself why i do not like these things.

    sometimes people who like these things are as well bad as these things.
    sometimes people are simply different.
    sometimes these people do not like me too!

    i have agreed as long there is a (somehow legal and serious) market for something, let it be. it employs and entertains people.

    the advantage is, these things are "traps" and i can recognize such people.

    rubbishing these things, including STUPIDITY, would be dictatorship.
    i.e. things i do not like are rationalized towards to be somehow stupid.
    things i like are not stupid, of course.

    stupidity in language is very common, and this is the task of education. it is a job role which has a high level of responsibility.

    sometimes i can laugh at stupidity.
    sometimes i get angry about stupidity.
    sometimes i let it go. i can do that.

  8. #8
    I love Sauerkraut! Shas's Avatar
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    it's so unnecessary because most of the stars don't have to be tested to find out that their rich idiots (im talking about western stars since i don't know japanese ones

    hmmm laughing about stupidity is funny but at some point it get's sad.
    Wazabi overdose = no fun

  9. #9
    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    I find there are two kinds of ignorance/stupidity in life.

    1. Lack of data- Don't hate the caveman because he can't start a fire.
    2. Ignoring data- Creationists bashing evolution because it threatens their beliefs.

    We can't do much about type 1. When it happens, it happens. All we can do is teach what we know and hope we'll keep learning. Type 2 is very, very dangerous. It's also very depressing to me. Life is so full of both of these, it can really get me down. At best, the future seems dim. But then I remember the absurdity of existence in general, take a step back from it and laugh, try to learn from my mistakes, and move on. If I couldn't laugh at it I'd go insane.


    -----------------------------------
    edit*

    Perfect example: I misspelt ignorance in my first post!

    Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad pierrot
    2. Ignoring data- Creationists bashing evolution because it threatens their beliefs.
    it is also called fanatism: accepting a wrong but easy answer (like racist etc.). it includes lack of attention, and negative intention towards the subject.

    if it includes additional, general stupidity, it becomes:

    ignoring data intentionally.
    adding new, wrong data.

    this produces new stupidity, but requires being very good in stupidity.

    people are using words they often do not know at all*. if you look up a word (online), you decrease global stupidity. every little helps.

    *the only thing which is posessed mentally is a very vague and narrowminded idea.

    imagine a person who knows how to operate directory trees, but lives in a big city, and has never recognized a real tree. you get the point.

    of course the real tree and the directory tree share identity. it provides good understanding, if the person views a picture of a real tree. this is not real data, but some sort of data.

    or imagine a person who has never been in america, but knows america is bad. from pictures of light-clothed woman probably. this is actually very dangerous stupidity.

  11. #11
    Chukchi Salmon
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    Talking Something good even in stupidity ... gotta love this topic

    Quote Originally Posted by mad pierrot
    I find there are two kinds of ignorance/stupidity in life.

    1. Lack of data- Don't hate the caveman because he can't start a fire....
    We can't do much about type 1. ...

    edit* Perfect example: I misspelt ignorance in my first post!

    I love this kind of stupidity, Mad Pierrot ! This is the best kind if you can really think hard about it. Now here's something positive about stupidity, whether laughable or not.

    "Stupidity makes the person acting stupid look more human."

    This has a relaxing effect; it gives the common emotional play ground for subaverage intelligence to participate. The average infant, baby, and child may not understand everything going on in the scary world, but it will definitely understand quite a bit of humor on the shows. The funny thing about funny shows is that you don't exactly have to understand everything in order to be able to laugh. A child can laugh its brains out in the company of roaring laughers. There's actually a very sad poem about a high-brow, well-bred, well-fed gentleman, unable to enjoy in the common joys of life, going out and ending his life. What can be sadder than that ? So there is this upside of stupid humor that can bring some good into the scary world where without it things can get maddening. I hope this makes up for my negative post. Hehe...

  12. #12
    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    I can laugh at a person's stupidity sometimes. After awhile it just gets ridiculous. Especially that time when Jessica Simpson didn't know wether she was eating tuna or chicken. But then, she's known for being an airhead. Even though this may not be true. But when you're a celeberty, I don't think people are interested in your intelligence.
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  13. #13
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    It depends on the stupidity or ignorance. I find what some children say very amusing because their perspective of the world is so different to an adults. What seems logical to them we find funny because we can see where their logic is coming from. Ignorance on gameshows can also be amusing when a contestant gets a really easy question amazingly wrong. The amusements probably comes from the fact that we feel for them, but we could never make that mistake. The point is we are not in their position and under pressure, so the laughter is a comfort thing to us. As for stupidity from doing wreakless things is probably more a relieve that they haven't killed themselves from what is a really stupid activity. Saying that I find the Darwin Awards are good for a laugh because you really can't believe these people were so stupid eg: the man who went fishing with electric cables. Throws the live cables into the water and it kills the fish that then float to the surface. He then goes to collect the fish, but forgets to switch the power off. Bang, flash one dead guy. The laughter in this case is more a disbelieving 'I can't believe he was so stupid' type of humour.
    Humour itself has many varing forms, so the question you should ask yourself is what kind of laughter does stupidity and ignorance evoke from you? After all we don't laugh at train wreaks and human suffering. So when you see slapstick or a celebrity suffering are you laughing in sympathy, at them or relief? Remember humour is unique to people and what some might find sick and insensitive others find highly amusing.
    I'm starting to not make sense so I'd better finish before I lose my train of thought altogether.

  14. #14
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    For me it really depends on the person. For example the people on Jaywalking are amusing. Why? Because their stupidity astounds me on the fact that there are people in this world today who don't even know who our own president is. The Darwin Awards would be another example of stupidity in human society that you can't help but shake your head at. However, for the most part I don't laugh at people's stupidity, especially when it's celeberties, politicians, etc. Why? Because a camera is on them 24/7 just to watch them screw up. That's not funny at all in my opinion, plus I don't laugh at my friend's stupidity unless it's well deserved, including my own stupidity (yes I laugh at my own).

    My overall funny bone has to deal with dark humor. I just find death and other things humorous. (call me psycho) I prefer dark humor and smart humor over stupid humor. Smart humor being something like the former Comedy Central show "Tough Crowd with Collin Quinn", and dark humor in something like "Postal 2". That's just who I am. I do like slapstick humor sometimes, but it depends on the comedian and the situation at hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I was watching a Japanese TV programme with many famous "tarento" on Fuji TV called めちゃ×2イケてる!and couldn't help noticing how many such programmes in Japan made fun of the "stars" (tarento)'s own stupidity (eg. they were asked to translate very easy English sentences like "where are you looking at?" and completely mistranslated). I just stopped watching as it doesn't make me laugh to see people's stupidity, especially if they are rich and famous TV stars (as they shouldn't be the dumbest people in their country). I have a good sense of humour, but not for such things.

    What about you ? Can you laugh at people's ignorance or stupidity ?
    First off there absolutely has to be a ceiling on what anyone should expect from a show with イケてる in the title.... ....that being said, it is funny in a sense when you think of it from the perspective of a place where everyone thinks the same and shares this collective English phobia or lacking of deep understanding of any kind, really. Plus, celebrities are not as revered as in the US so making light of their language abilities becomes an easy and fun way to put not so scary perspective on those fears.

    Funnier though is when variety show hosts insult their panel or members of the audience on their age, attractiveness etc that they don't have any control over. 'You're not such a musume anymore....or you're not as pretty as she is...'

  16. #16
    Anjin
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    Japanese humor often revolves around people acting/looking foolish or silly. I think it's just a style.
    For information on the pros and cons of teaching at Nova English schools in Japan, check out

  17. #17
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Hmm, the discussion has taken a very different direction to what I intended. I suppose I wasn't clear enough about what I meant by stupidity/ignorance, so that the thread has become a problem of personal definition. In fact, that is why I took the example of the "tarento" on TV, and I hoped that everyone would understand I was talking about such kind of ignorance.

    It is obvious that animals are ignorant compared to humans, and children are ignorant compared to adults, or that the cavemen were ignorant compared to us. But it was not the intended meaning of this thread (too obvious, and no need to talk laugh at such ignorance).

    I am talking about "relative ignorance" (i.e. compared to the rest of the society where one lives and based on what we think is common knowledge or should be known by a particular group of people, e.g. politicians, TV tarento, business people, housewives, etc.).

    For example, I would find it quite scary if lawmakers discussing health safety had no idea what they were talking about, and the law they passed had a negative effect on public health. Similarily, I wouldn't like scientists at a food company not knowing that some of the food additives they use is dangerous for health. This is no laughing matter.

    Some people can laugh at others' mistakes and ignorance, but can be very defensive when it comes to themselves. Or at the contrary, don't mind being made fun of in public because they know they are not very intelligent, or think it's not such a big deal, but wouldn't laugh at other people's ignorance out of respect.

    Maybe I should reformulate the question like this "Do you find it funny to watch people displaying their ignorance or stupidity publicly, such as in a humouristic TV programme or in an TV interview ?"

    Regarding the choices, I wanted to nuance about the type of people that was being made fun of. So imagine all these people (including yourself) appear on TV and think whether you would find it funny or not to publicly display one's ignorance/stupidity.

  18. #18
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    Japanese humor often revolves around people acting/looking foolish or silly. I think it's just a style.
    Exactly ! So, my question in this thread is "do you like this kind of humour?" or else "Is it funny for you to look at people looking foolish, silly or ignorant?".

    I found that Japanese TV programmes were often using people's actual ignorance, and not just silliness. My example in the first post is a quiz game with many "tarento", where people are asked so pretty easy questions, and if they can't answer, the presentator tease them and make them look even more stupid. I saw another programme with famous female idols asked to cook some dishes, and other "tarento" were asked to try them out. One of the girls was always made fun of because what she cooked was apprently inedible. It was not just an occasional show, but maybe once a month (always with idols cooking, being asked questions, etc.). It really made some of them look so stupid and incapable ! (but the Japanese seem to find it hilarious). There are many other similar TV programmes every day in Japan, so it is really one of the essence of Japanese humour. They even had a so-called "IQ game"; not a serious one of course, but people were still ranked by abilities, and those at the bottom were made fun of (and laughed themselves).

    I just can't laugh at people's ignorance or lack of abilities, even for such things as cooking. I can't understand why the Japanese are so fond of it. I suppose it is due to a major cultural gap, namely that the Japanese do not attach much importance to knowledge and abilities, and do not find it embrassing, saddening or offensive to display people's lack of these in public.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    Funnier though is when variety show hosts insult their panel or members of the audience on their age, attractiveness etc that they don't have any control over.
    I also don't find it funny.

  19. #19
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    I just can't laugh at people's ignorance or lack of abilities, even for such things as cooking. I can't understand why the Japanese are so fond of it. I suppose it is due to a major cultural gap, namely that the Japanese do not attach much importance to knowledge and abilities, and do not find it embrassing, saddening or offensive to display people's lack of these in public.
    I think they attach an unbelievably strong importance to being competent at something (ie not failing at careers, getting good school positions....) I've never even seen a lazy Japanese housewife so TV may be a refreshing diversion but if you can't point to regular people letting loose like that in everyday life comparisions become as empty as the shows themselves. Although a storehouse of knowledge and vast range of talents isn't merited as highly as in other places, my experience is that careless mistakes, such as in the language, will still be criticized or disrespected more than laughed at, perhaps even more with so much importance placed on acting out of deliberation and after a period of careful thought.

  20. #20
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    People often find humor in things that are taboo. So, maybe you're looking at it backwards. Maybe they find it funny because it's NOT accepted. They might make light of it on the shows, but maybe it's funny to them because it goes against how they would usually think/act. Humor is all about putting things that don't fit, together. I didn't find those shows funny, but that's because I didn't understand them well enough and I didn't have the cultural background to "get it". Humor doesn't usually make much sense between cultures. I think they tried to air "Seinfeld" in Japan and it didn't work at all because the Japanese couldn't figure out why it was supposed to be funny.

  21. #21
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    I think they attach an unbelievably strong importance to being competent at something (ie not failing at careers, getting good school positions....)
    Not failing at careers, getting good school positions, etc. is very different from being competent. I understand that the Japanese don't want to lose face in society, and care a lot about having a good job and money, but if they can achieve that without acquire much knowledge and abilities, then they are usually happy. Personally, I'd think the other way round. It is meaningless to have a good job, plenty of money. etc. if one remains ignorant or incompetent. Considering how easily the Japanese accept their own politicians' incompetence, their own ignorance of the world, etc. I am bound to think that they do not attach as much importance to knowledge or abilities as I do. At school, Japanese people often refrain from getting too high marks, just to stay in the class average. It is very important for the Japanese not to stand out. This way of thinking probably has deep effects on what people learn by themselves. There are few people like me who crave for knowledge, because that they would become different from the rest of the group.

  22. #22
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    I think they tried to air "Seinfeld" in Japan and it didn't work at all because the Japanese couldn't figure out why it was supposed to be funny.
    I liked some of the episodes; my favorite was the one that Jerry gets mad at his landromat's owner for stealing his money, and Jerry and Kramer decide to pour cement in a washing machine.

  23. #23
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    People often find humor in things that are taboo. So, maybe you're looking at it backwards. Maybe they find it funny because it's NOT accepted.
    That would be ok if it was not directed at someone. But in Japanese shows it is directed at the people in the show. I can find it funny that someone has an accidental slip of tongue (e.g. some 'Bushism'), but not when the purpose of the show is to make fun of all the participants, especially that there is nothing else aside in those Japanese shows (so it becomes really boring, in addition to not being funny).

    Humor is all about putting things that don't fit, together.
    Some of these "tarento" are not known for anything else but being made fun of. Very pathetic, in my opinion.

    Humor doesn't usually make much sense between cultures.
    Of course, but there are also individual differences, not just cultural ones. In this thread I am interested to know who likes this particular type of humour. This way I will see if this humour is also considered funny outside Japan or not, and if so, where and among what kind of people.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    I liked some of the episodes; my favorite was the one that Jerry gets mad at his landromat's owner for stealing his money, and Jerry and Kramer decide to pour cement in a washing machine.
    Seinfeld was an okay show. The only person I liked was Newman. Personally there are shows even here in the US that aren't that humorous, or are just too politically correct to really have any humor in them. One show that I hated was Friends. There are still stuipd people crying over it being off the air! I really want to buy that t-shirt that says, "Friends is over. You can kill yourself now."

    Doc

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    I know the type of show you are talking about,

    and many shows that may not completely be based upon the "stupid celebrity" concept have segments that seem to play along those lines. I don't enjoy this style of humor, but when I was in Japan I occasionally was going through the channels and would come accross a segment of "laugh at the ignorant celebrity" and it would make me chuckle to see someone acting so over the top stupid. Humor is very personal and what my wife (who is Japanese) and I find funny is very different. This of course has a cultural element, but I also have seen studies on how gender affects perception of humor as well so I am somewhat hesitant to generalize what causes these differences. I have been told that men find slapstick type humor more entertaining than women. In a college psych class I attended a proffessor showed us clips from the three stooges and Laurel and Hardy that he thought was comic genius. I chuckled the first time something oddball happened, but found 30 minutes of the stuff almost unbearable. Aren't these Japanese shows kind of 3 stooge-ish in nature? Can anyone really be as stupid as the front these people put on?

    Then again maybe I just have a short attention span.

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