Generation Z makes light out of the dark

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Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Generation Z members have found solace in “dark humor,” a style of humor that attempts to make light of difficult situations. Townsend Harris students, all currently quarantined in their homes, have varying opinions on this coping mechanism and its appropriateness during a time of crisis. 

Many Harrisites have found that there is a lot of dark humor circulating on social media. Junior Lauren Hedge said that “there [are] meme pages full of them,” and senior Georgia Malo noticed that “[they’re] all over TikTok.” At the start of the year, people were hopeful, but topics such as a possible World War III, Kobe Bryant’s tragic accident, and a worldwide epidemic have fueled these pages with controversial content. 

Students agree that they use this genre of humor as a way to handle negativity and deal with traumatizing situations they face. Freshman Elliot Heath pointed out that our generation was exposed to the “darkness that the world has to offer” earlier than previous generations due to our access to the internet, so we “use jokes as a coping mechanism.” 

Sophomore Nadia Santo added, “Humor is a way of coping with painful experiences.” To sophomore Lola Aguda,  Generation Z is “more comfortable joking about subjects that might’ve been taboo a few decades ago.” 

Despite the agreement, there are opposing views on social media’s dark humor. Jokes that disrespect the deceased, or make fun of severe issues such as sexual assault are often met with harsh criticism. Sophomore Haley O’toole finds dark humor “disrespectful” and commented, “I think it’s an attack and people make [it seem like] a joke.” Sophomore Tracy Mou agreed that making fun of such serious topics is “wrong because it’s not something to laugh about.” 

Nevertheless, there are some students that do find these jokes humorous to an extent. Senior Shankar Raghunandan said, “Dark humor can be amusing if used in the right situation with the right people.” 

Senior Idalia DiNapoli also finds some posts amusing, but like many others, she believes that there must be boundaries, and added, “Rape jokes and suicide jokes are never okay and always need to be taken seriously.” 

Junior Angie Delgado agreed and stated, “There are definitely ways to go about [using] dark humor that are funny and not terribly wrong.”

As years pass by, people are growing older and following new social trends. With Generation Z, dark humorespecially humor surrounding the coronavirus pandemichave risen in popularity on social media. Senior Shannon Thomas concluded, “Our generation is trying to find the best in things or be more positive about a negative past.” 

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