I GOT into a punch up last week in my own home, of all places, and it got a bit rough.
Minding my own business, scanning through my twitter feed, I saw something that made me laugh out loud; a silly little joke put out by @julesdelaard who is an anti-Gillard tweeter.
It said: “Did you hear about the fat, alcoholic transvestite? All he wanted to do was eat, drink and be Mary.”
Now, I reckon that’s funny!
I immediately retweeted, but the reaction knocked my socks off.
Canberra’s @trib came back at me in an instant and said: “In what possible universe is degradation of trans people okay? Not cool. You should be ashamed.”
I thought he must have been joking. He wasn’t and went on to remind me of the Defence sex scandal and particularly of Defence Chief Morrison’s response. I can’t really see the connection, can you?
He suggested that, as a “leader in this town”, I was showing an acceptance to intolerance.
For heaven’s sake! I was just giggling at a silly little play on words.
The online brawl escalated to include transgender activist Kate Doak, who I invited on to my radio program the morning after.
Sydney-based Kate describes herself as a freelance journalist, doco producer and, according to her bio, a “transgender and girly girl”.
She was a delight on air, but we disagreed with her suggesting that jokes “like that” can lead to suicide. Really? I would think you’d have to be in a pretty bad place to start with.
This nation was built upon humour and you can’t stop Australians from telling jokes; cancer patients joke about the disease, red-headed Prime Ministers joke about leadership challenges and, in our jails, “lifers” joke about tunnelling their way out.
While some jokes are harmful and offensive, I don’t think the “Mary” joke was. Why is it offensive that this transvestite wanted to be Mary?
We’ve covered the offence to the transgender community, but what about alcoholics and overweight people? They must be outraged!
Those “chicken crossing the road” gags surely suggest that chicken farmers are negligent for letting their chooks run loose. Police officers must be ropable about all of the donut jokes. Where will it end?
I want to put it out there that blonde jokes don’t offend me and neither do wing-nut gags, so go for your life.
Please make me laugh, because life is far too short to go looking for people to blame for the frown on your face. (And I say that with all respect to the transgender community).
Mark Parton is breakfast announcer on 2CC.