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(Re)Learning Empathy from Levity

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

So I came across this Onion article earlier today that gave me quite the chuckle, and yes, many of my colleagues found it entertaining as well. I love finding tiny bits of levity, especially these days, because it somehow makes everything a little bit better. It's the core reason why Saturday Night Live has been a thing since I was saying my first words.

Mom: Look, Dave, she's saying something!

Me: Liiiee... liieee... livee fwom newowk...

(Okay, so maybe those weren't my first words, but you get the idea.)

And hey, let's be honest - SNL has been very relevant this season, because a lot of people have needed a good laugh. Other comedy programs like The Daily Show, along with various forms of social media (lots of links, folks!), have been working overtime lightening up the worst news imaginable - almost as a gift to the rest of us who aren't doing so well otherwise. It's definitely helped.

What I have come to notice too is just how many people have actually started caring about other peoples' issues through such dark, biting humor - possibly because it's a firmer brain implant. The way I see it, it stresses the gravity of situations but allows people to still be positive about it. The "This is fine" dog comes to mind. The question some of my more compassionate friends repeatedly ask though is why the jokes are needed.

I've come across several articles that support babies and many types of animals (note all those different links!) have empathy and compassion hard-wired. For many people, compassion for others is compromised many times over the years as personal needs take a front seat. At least for me, it's through levity that I get those not-so-subtle reminders other people have needs and feelings too, often much more serious than my own. And perhaps not all that surprisingly, my Pagan friends comprise the highest number of socially-conscious people out of all of my other circles. However, some of these Pagan friends of mine are not nearly as receptive to joking about such matters as I am. And also unlike my other circles of friends, they're no shrinking violets.

Sometimes, it has me asking myself if I'm Doing It Rong©, if these Pagan friends I have are looking to start an argument or if they're just overly sensitive. We all have different paths to reach the top of the mountain, right? It leaves me to the conclusion I'm doing just fine, and I'm indeed allowed to laugh at the latest Downfall video.

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Lori Dake is a life-long native several generations back, a mom to an adult son and has been together with her husband over twenty years. She is a real estate broker primarily serving the North Side and has also worked as a paralegal for several years. Sometimes, she’s a hardcore fashionista, and sometimes a concert shirt and jeans are more her style. Hobbies include painting while listening to 80’s metal, writing, participating in various forms of philanthropy and creating fabulous meals on a budget.


  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer Friday, 17 February 2017

    So true. Every bit of this.

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