I admit that the timing could have been better.
My latest video contains the lyric "My internet's gone down. Like the World Trade Centre." I didn't consciously plan to put it online two days before The Date That Must Apparently Never Be Joked About, and it wasn't until today that I noticed what I'd done. When the angry emails and comments started flooding in.
Normally, I don't think there'd be a problem with a line like that. People who subscribe to somegreybloke get the joke; they understand, I imagine, that Graham is blissfully unaware of what's appropriate, and enjoy watching him blunder stupidly across the borders of taste. That's the point of the character - he's socially inept, and yet he loves talking. Hilarity, hopefully, ensues.
Trouble with the latest video is, YouTube featured it at the top of their "Comedy" page. So in under two days it's had close to 80,000 views, and a lot of those people are finding somegreybloke for the first time - and finding him offensive:
"That rip on the WTC was really uncalled for. I can't believe that anyone would go that far in the name of humor. This video should be removed from YouTube for just that purpose (sic)."
"yeah, 911 jokes are not funny ever. Talk about dancing on the graves of the poor souls who died in the planes and twin towers."
There are also complaints about another line, one that goes: "Like Terri Schiavo, I've been disconnected..." - and I did have doubts about that one. But ultimately it seemed like a perfect analogy for the social networking death that results from being forced offline, and I left it in.
Okay. So by making this video, I've shown that I'm insensitive to the feelings of (maybe millions of) people who don't like jokes about tragedy. My question to you, the miniscule readership of this blog, is - are jokes like these justified if they raise a laugh simply by being inappropriate, or does there need to be a more serious point behind this kind of humour?
I'd really like to get a debate going about this, as it's something that concerns me.