But first: I've received some very thoughtful comments that have set me to thinking too (big surprise!), and once I can get the opening number of my 4th/5th grade chorus' musical out of my head, I plan to muse on them here some more.
And the favor: if you ever read a post here that makes a piss-poor attempt at clever, ironical humor by taking jabs at other groups of people and then sashaying away in the smug aura of my own brilliant sense of humor, I ask you to do the following (and I'm not kidding, people):
1. Bombard me with comments reminding me to get my head out of my ass.
2. Many of you are on Facebook with me. Smack me down over there, too.
3. If you live nearby, drive over and dope-slap me a couple of times.
I've come across a couple of blogs recently (and I'm sure there's more, but I don't get out much) that I *think* are trying for self-deprecating humor, but are actually insulting the group to which they compare themselves. Case in point: someone wasn't happy with something, then mentioned that it was the sort of thing you didn't need a high school diploma to produce. Wha-a-a-at? Are you trying to say it was a simple task and you can't believe how bad you screwed it up? THEN SAY SO. Or at least have the sense to turn it around and insult YOURSELF: make it the sort of thing that you didn't need an advanced degree in nuclear physics to produce.
Then there's the others that feel it's OK to point and laugh at someone via the blog-o-sphere, because the object of the pointing probably won't be reading it anyway. And besides, if it gets you hits, so much the better!!! I think that's worse than what I described above. It's malicious, sneaky, and cowardly. It's the internet version of whispering and giggling behind your hand, and I had enough of that in junior high, thank you very much. Time to grow up.
Which, I think, is at the heart of both of these matters: growing up. Maturity. A sense of self that's strong enough to look at the situation for what it is, and not need to drag comparison into it. Not needing anyone else's shoulders to stand upon in order to feel tall. Understanding that the cheap laugh is exactly that. Know that compassion is always the better choice over cleverness.
I know I've been in the place that indulges in such behavior before, and I probably will again. I'm just asking that if I'm so bold (or thoughtless or downright stupid) as to do it in front of you, call me on it. I don't want it to spread.