Of all the things, it is intolerance that seems to be in fashion these days and it is getting difficult to tolerate this. Poor Mary cannot have her little lamb as it hurts people’s sentiments. ‘A’ cannot be for ‘Apple’ because ApricotsLovers Co. feels that it is propaganda to marginalize the apricots. Perhaps a time will soon come when the Intolerants will not tolerate even themselves. What a peaceful era that will be! What had started as a glorious, enlightened movement of stamping out all biases and prejudices has now turned into an inglorious unenlightened process of simply Stamping Out. In all probability, this will result in Stamping Out of all the ‘Things We Like’, the biggest martyr being our sense of humor and that is clearly not a laughing matter. We should not tolerate those who make a joke about the whole business of humor.
Everyday we hear about instances of violence because a certain organization or person could not tolerate this or that. Any slight hint of a critique of somebody, some place, some religion, some thing etcetera is taken as offensive and a massive counter attack is launched. Effigies are burnt, protests and rioting take place and an apology is sought. Imagine having to apologize for standing up for one’s own convictions.Imagine having to ask for forgiveness from orthodox personas for being original in one’s thoughts and not being a mere parrot. Of course, it is correct to take offence to statements that are designed to malign and make fun without reason. In such a scenario, intolerance is justified but not in cases where a comment is distorted or taken out of context. If such things continue to happen, perhaps a day will come when nothing will be permitted to be said, as it will offend someone or the other. Those people that lighten our lives will be no more, jokes will die.
Lets imagine twenty years from hence, a hypothetical situation where Intolerance has reached its peak. There will be a decree stating a list of things one can joke about. The list will be as long as an ant’s antenna and it will contain items such as A/C switch, scrap of paper and barbed wires. It is all hypothetical, one cannot even be sure if these things will be allowed to be included in the list or not. The intolerants can prey upon just about anything. Joking about things other than those in the list will be a punishable offence. One is liable to be hauled to the prison for thinking a baby is funny or worse still, one can be sentenced to the electric chair for laughing when someone slipped on a banana peel. Obviously, the situation will be highly comical and the future generation will not be able to even laugh at it.
Hitler’s invasion of the world and the extermination of the Jew may have stopped since long but this has been replaced by invasion of the Intolerants and the extermination of the Joke. It is uncertain what the future has in store for us, will there be another war? If so, one can imagine the political upheaval and the formation of allies, which will shake the whole world. The U.S.A (Upliftment of Switches Association), F.R.A.N.C.E (Finding Rare Antiques Not Clever Entity) and R.U.S.S.I.A (Rare Urban Steaks Stopped Indefinitely Arrangement) will become allies to suppress the powerful German Sauerkraut Org. All the jokes will be sent to a concentration camp where each one will be murdered personally. The Atomic Intolerance bomb will ensure that humor is left no more. Those who do not still consider war insane will be shocked by the stupidity and futility of the whole matter.
As always, the martyr will be our sense of humor. Memorials and museums will be constructed to remember the victim. Comical structures and buildings will be built, taking Joke as the inspiration. Man will have to start from scratch and rebuild the civilization’s sense of humor. This would mean that Bollywood’s jokes would see a revival.
Man is a persistent creature, he never gives up. If humor is dead within all of us, then canned laughter of the TV serials will be used and the pretence of actual laughter will continue until we finally get it. The only hope one can have is that, by grace of God, a joke or two may have survived. We will revere and worship them and keep them in zoos as display until they finally die out due to bad treatment.
May the Intolerants not be able to tolerate such a scenario, hypothetical or not, and may some actual sense also prevail.