Ok, so the time of day I post has become really erratic. I have a super crazy schedule and have to fit posting in whenever I can during the day. Sorry!
Emily B. sent in a story at The Onion titled “Mexico Killed in Drug Deal.” The story satirizes the killings that have resulted from struggles between Mexico’s drug cartels, with the dead including members of the cartels, random citizens, police officers, and journalists who dare to report on the issue, among others. In several instances, large numbers of bodies have been uncovered.
In The Onion‘s story, “witnesses reported hearing roughly 357 million gunshots, during which time the Mexican populace was caught in the crossfire and killed.” The story is accompanied by the following image, which I’ve put after the jump — it’s of a lot of dead bodies and may be upsetting to some:
It brings up an issue we’ve discussed previously on Soc Images: the privilege to find things funny. I get The Onion. I do. They’re often fantastic at lampooning social life, and when I was in grad school I looked forward to each week’s new issue.
I also currently know someone who has gotten death threats and had relatives kidnapped simply because he has relatives in Mexico, whom he does not contact, who are involved with one of the cartels. He’s watched the region he grew up in descend into increasing violence, and will no longer go anywhere near the region for fear his last name will make him a target.
Finding a photo depicting dead bodies accompanying a story that parodies the violence affecting a number of Mexican communities funny is, from his perspective, just a sign that it doesn’t affect you in any way — it’s not real, not something you might fear actually seeing, or even ending up in the middle of.
Of course, others would argue that often those most affected by an awful situation appreciate jokes that provide a way of talking about the insanity of daily life.
So, readers, I’m interested in your take. Does it make a difference that the people making the joke here are likely far removed from the actual situation? If instead this was a cartoon drawn by a Mexican cartoonist, would that change the perspective? Are graphic images of dead bodies ever funny? I’d like to know what you make of it.