Humour is no defence for anything
There is an odd belief amongst worthless people that saying you are joking, immunises you from criticism.
You see this in online “comedians” who ask whether it would be immoral to rape a Skepchick, because they are “annoying.”
Skepchick is a popular blog run by a group of women skeptics. They sometimes bring up issues that aren’t terribly comfortable for the kind of person who “jokes” about raping people for being annoying.
Now this is part of what I mean by censorship by bigot - and it doesn't help that the guy making that joke appears to be some sort of admin on the forum where he made it.
The "joke" essentially perpetuates a climate where feminist issues are not voiced, for fear of physical retaliation - and that it is called "humour" does not change this. It is essentially censorship, because it is aimed at preventing other people from airing their views.
Humour is a means of expressing your ideas. I use it myself, and yet there is nothing in my jokes that I wouldn’t either be willing to apologise for, or stand by.
I own my ideas, no matter what tone I take presenting them. Crying comedy is not a defence for them.
Racism throughout history was perpetuated by jokes, the same with sexism, the same with anti-intellectualism, the same with every single form of bigotry.
While the English were starving the Irish in the potato famine, they were making jokes about those “dumb Paddies”. There were plenty of comedians working for the Nationalist Party, they weren’t actually funny, but they were there.
Comedians have backed some of the worst dictatorships and atrocities in history. They have also been instrumental in taking those evils down.
A comedian is to a large extent a philosopher people actually pay attention to. We laugh at comedies because they say something about the human condition, about the nature of truth, about politics and about life itself.
Sometimes they say things that make you fancy a particular brand of chicken, sometimes it is something that makes you think about the world as a whole.
Comedy expresses some of our greatest insights, and some of our greatest errors.
So I don’t see comedy as being harmless, it is an incredibly powerful part of communication, and comedians should be taken seriously when they say something deeply wrong.
Particularly when what you are saying isn’t aimed at making people laugh, but aimed at making sure a climate of fear is perpetuated. That kind of joke isn’t just the signature of a bully; it is the signature of a coward.
It is someone who expects to get laughter of approval, yet cannot stand the idea of receiving derision for ideas that deserve it.
Joking that you want to rape someone for being “annoying” is little more than censorship, and should be derided as such.