More bullets for you less for the enemy

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Ray Chandler announced this week that senior enlisted personnel would be rated on their ability to police online social media activity, in what many are nicknaming the “Facebook bullet” on the non-commissioned officer report (NCOER).

So reports Duffelblog.  I’ve always been of the view that there is a little or a lot of truth underlying humor.  The truth here is that the military has a problem with social media postings.  And so the joke is that part of the media management is to be critical of those who use social media – at times making it criminal, even to the extent of holding a member accountable for what their spouse or family member says online.  In my view this may border very closely on affecting a persons constitutional right to speech.  I’m well aware that there are limitations on a military members right to speak.  So let’s hope we don’t get another report bullet to micromanage.  Where is that line.  But on to something perhaps more relevant.

The act of laughing at a joke is the result of a two-stage process in the brain, first detecting an incongruity before then resolving it with an expression of mirth. The brain actions involved in understanding humor differ between young boys and girls. These are the conclusions reached by a US-based scientist supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

So reports Science Daily.

[H]umor also plays a key role in [good or bad] psychological health.

I have always believed in humor as a way to get through life – even to the extent of laughing at myself or accepting humor about me.  But not everyone responds the same.  See Hugh LaFollette and Niall Shank, “Belief and the Basis of Humor.”  At times “humor [is] a tool for coping with painful experiences.”  The authors tell us:

We would be remiss if we did not at least speculate about the relevance of our analysis for the current debate over political correctness. Humor is potentially a powerful political tool because, as noted above, it is capable of focusing our attention to particular descriptions of persons, things or events. Like any tool, it can bring destruction or build beautiful edifices, depending on who wields the tool, and for what purposes. The idea that there might be a need for “humor ethics” is by no means absurd, given the propensity for certain forms of humor to transform the ways in which we think about persons and the relations between them. .

. .

This stance can lead us to tolerate certain forms of humor by presupposing an equality which does not exist in our culture. Women and minorities understandably see such humor as perpetuating their inferior treatment and therefore think such humor should be rejected. . . . Such humor will likely seen especially offensive when told by white males. You must recall that the teller is part of the humor’s context. If the teller is a member of the oppressing group, the humor will more likely be seen as a form of oppression. However, the same joke told by a member of an oppressed minority to other members of that minority might well elicit a humorous response.

So while I continue to think humor is good, we do have to be careful about workplace humor – a cautionary word.  Context is everything.

  • Where are you.
  • Who is present.
  • Who will hear.
  • How might the hearer react.
  • Don’t assume, know your audience.