Be warned, there is not structure to this entry. It’s a mess. Completely. Ready? Set. Go!
Ah, humour. The sense of it. Having one. Lacking one. About HIV.
Unjumble and you might get a coherent intro. It can’t be stupider than the original title to this entry anyway: “Poz, why so neg?”
Actually, Soz Poz is probably worse. But snappier.
At the weekend, I got thinking about humour about HIV and AIDS within the community. It was started by a chat on the interweb with someone who clearly identified as positive, the username used containing 3 magic letters. It read like this:
Him: Hey [such a great start]
Me: Hi, how are you? [And THAT, dear reader, is how much more original *I* am]
Him: I’m a bit tired. And you?
Me: Must be the AIDS. I’m good! Bit tired too, mind.
Him: Are you hiv+?
Me: I am.
Him: Was your AIDS comment supposed to be sarcastic? Bit shit.
Me: Err… I can tell we’re not going to get on.
Me: Have a nice evening.
Him: And you.
Now, I can very clearly see how one might see this as a very poor line, rude maybe. It is dark humour and therefore not to everyone’s taste. I probably should say hello again and apologise.
Or should I?
Despite the lack of wit here (hey, tis a tricky topic! Someone pointed out on Twitter that they have never heard a ‘good’ AIDS joke), I think taking it at face value is a bit… well, idiotic.
I left clues everywhere: who calls it “the” AIDS? It’s not grammatically incorrect, but come ooooon. The tone was clear here.
Who wouldn’t take with a pinch of salt the mention of AIDS on a second message?
Who the hell does not like sarcasm?
Now it’s been established that I was out of line and that he would be able to keep a straight face at a Eddie Izzard’s gig, it leaves us with one question: is it OK for someone with HIV to joke about HIV/AIDS with another HIV positive person?
Oh, well, when I put it like that… HIVtastic.
Surely, the answer should be yes. Yes? Yes.
OK, I’m biased. I made the joke. I have HIV. I can’t help but go with it now.
In contrast, when my friend Gargantua (not actual name, though I kinda wish it was, now), who is HIV- makes a joke about “that gay guy who stopped uni to go back to his parents’; he must have AIDS, right?! AH AH AH AH AH” – hilarious-, well that’s quite bad. Boohoo.
But if I tell my HIV+ friend “stop spreading your germs” whilst he is narrating his sex life, I see it as acceptable banter; not as an accusation that he is purposefully infecting others.
The pun is almost…no, fuck that, the pun is WAY too easy: some positive people really are negative.
Living with HIV, having a stutter, being disabled; various levels of afflictions that people will make fun of. It’s human nature. There’s only 2 main ways to handle it: to laugh with or to be laughed at. Given the choice (and I have it) I’d much rather be making fun of the virus, of how it may affect me and others, and, hopefully, making the topic so common and dull that people will stop seeing it as a taboo.
I believe we can laugh of anything. I know it’s not PC, but the hell with that. The right (good) joke can make anything tolerable, amusing.
And when it comes to HIV, more than anything else to me, in the words of Joan Rivers:
“If you can laugh at it, you can deal with it.”
PS: Actually, there ARE some good HIV/AIDS lines… http://i-quit-hiv.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/hiv-and-aids-jokes-chris-rock-top.html