I’ve come to believe humor may be the best way to dismantle an overgrown ego.
What bully do you know or have encountered who can stand to be mocked, laughed at or discounted by the jab of a joke? Most people who have a habit of pushing people around and belittling them are ill-equipped to handle the same techniques when the direction is reversed.
Their inflated view of themselves is covering for a low level of respect for themselves.
Understand I am writing not as a professional psychologist or therapist or psychiatrist, but as a simple observer who has spent 70+ years watching individuals react to humor, anger, fear, joy, and despair. So many times I have wished a reporter who is getting verbally punched by someone would give a tart but funny response to their abuser.
Of course, that is not the role of reporters, just as it is not their job to make up stories or facts. Their job is to report what is said and done as accurately as they see or hear it. But wouldn’t you love it if someone hearing a ridiculous comment would start laughing at such a suggestion? If one person giggled, everyone around them would suddenly see the comment as nonsense and create a chorus of amusement.
For instance, if when a non-scientist indicated ingesting or injecting bleach into one’s system might cure a virus, the listeners erupted in raucous hoots and snorts it would be obvious what is being said is not accurate. But if those sitting around duck their heads in stunned silence, avoid eye contact, and pray no one snickers because it will bring the house down around them, afraid of the consequences that may await them, then the comment goes unchallenged by those who know better.
I think for humor to be effective it must hold a level of truth. Admittedly I am not a comediene and do not own those skills, but oh sometimes I do long for the gift of wit. My preference would be quick wit, so when someone says something mean or crazy or untrue I could respond with an immediate retort. I’ve always admired people who have the ability to snap out a quip that hits the mark bursting the bubble of the would be tormentor. Alas, not my gift. Often I think of something an hour or day or week later that might have served to deflat the attacker, but reacting instantly doesn’t happen.
Yes, I long for the barb of humor to shed light on fallacies, dogma, and lies so prevalent in today’s news. But no one seems inclined to immediately laugh at the lunacy running rampant when the bully rants.