Joke's On Those Who Joke About Japan - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Joke's On Those Who Joke About Japan

USATODAY.COM STAFF WRITER:  Nothing like a staggering natural disaster to bring out mankind's ... worst? While the crisis gripping Japan has tugged on hearts and wallets, it also has drawn cracks from cultural figures that redefine insensitivity.

• Comic Gilbert Gottfried was fired Monday as the voice of insurance giant Aflac after tweeting jokes such as "They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them."

• Family Guywriter Alec Sulkin tweeted that feeling better about the quake was just a matter of Googling "Pearl Harbor death toll." Almost 2,500 died in that 1941 attack; more than 10,000 are feared dead in Japan.

• Rapper 50 Cent joked that the quake forced him to relocate "all my hoes from L.A., Hawaii and Japan." He tweeted in apology: "Some of my tweets are ignorant I do it for shock value."

Is our insta-mouthpiece part of the problem? Don't blame the messenger, says Twitter's Sean Garrett, citing "The Tweets Must Flow." The company blog memo notes Twitter's inability to police the 100 million daily tweets.

Comedians often do get away with emotional murder. That's their job, Joan Rivers tweeted Tuesday in Gottfried's defense: "(Comedians) help people in tough times feel better through laughter."

Too soon, as Rivers' catchphrase asks?

"There's a line in our culture, but it seems to keep moving," says Purdue University history professor Randy Roberts. Before, "a tasteless joke wouldn't make it past a cocktail party. Now it reaches millions instantly. Don't say something stupid if you don't want people to hear it."

Even so, joking about death may be over the line.

"People died here — it's something your parents should have taught you never to make fun of," says Teja Arboleda, a former comedian and founder of Entertaining Diversity, which advises companies on diversity questions. "There's humor that helps us through a tragedy, and humor where you kick people when they're down. There's no reason for the latter."

And yet others have piled on, including Glenn Beck (who called the quake a "message from God") and pro basketball player Cappie Pondexter (ditto). Dan Turner, press secretary for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, resigned Monday after circulating a Japan joke to staffers.

"Japan is always going to be a target for some, as Germany and the Middle East might be for others," says Shannon Jowett at New York's Japan Society. "But I'd rather focus on the overwhelming sense of support we are seeing."

 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Woman run over by cyclist on Centennial Trail files lawsuit

    Woman run over by cyclist on Centennial Trail files lawsuit

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 10:51 PM EDT2017-10-19 02:51:08 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman who was run over by a cyclist last month on the Centennial Trail has filed a lawsuit against the man she says didn’t even try to avoid smashing into her. On Sept. 22, 67-year-old Virginia Pearsall was walking near Kendall Yards with her sister when she heard someone behind her yell, “Hot pizza!” "I felt like I got hit by a truck," said Pearsall. "The impact was so great, it was unbelievable." 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman who was run over by a cyclist last month on the Centennial Trail has filed a lawsuit against the man she says didn’t even try to avoid smashing into her. On Sept. 22, 67-year-old Virginia Pearsall was walking near Kendall Yards with her sister when she heard someone behind her yell, “Hot pizza!” "I felt like I got hit by a truck," said Pearsall. "The impact was so great, it was unbelievable." 

    >>
  • Semi with brakes tied together using plastic grocery bag crashes on interstate

    Semi with brakes tied together using plastic grocery bag crashes on interstate

    Thursday, October 19 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-10-19 04:24:21 GMT
    @wspd1pio@wspd1pio

    TACOMA, Wash. - Washington State Patrol believes faulty brakes and speed contributed to a semi truck crash on the SR 16 interchange with northbound I-5 in Tacoma Tuesday evening.  Troopers say the truck was headed eastbound on SR 16 when it rolled on the rap to northbound I-5.  Trooper Brooke Bova tweeted photos form the scene, including one which showed the truck's brake lines tied together with a plastic grocery bag.  The 

    >>

    TACOMA, Wash. - Washington State Patrol believes faulty brakes and speed contributed to a semi truck crash on the SR 16 interchange with northbound I-5 in Tacoma Tuesday evening.  Troopers say the truck was headed eastbound on SR 16 when it rolled on the rap to northbound I-5.  Trooper Brooke Bova tweeted photos form the scene, including one which showed the truck's brake lines tied together with a plastic grocery bag.  The 

    >>
  • PHOTOS: Detectives identify woman believed to have fraudulently withdrawn hundreds of dollars

    PHOTOS: Detectives identify woman believed to have fraudulently withdrawn hundreds of dollars

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 7:03 PM EDT2017-10-18 23:03:15 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - UPDATE: Detectives have identified the woman in the above photos thanks to help from the public.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - UPDATE: Detectives have identified the woman in the above photos thanks to help from the public.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/