Most of us with a sense of tact know you don't joke about real, genuine human tragedy. You don't make light of a murder. You don't crack on someone who just got diagnosed with cancer. You generally don't say mean, nasty things about the dead or suffering.
So, I'm typing up this post as a helpful reminder to our friends in the political and entertainment fields who apparently have lost this sensibility.
This is the message: Don't joke about
See two exhibits from Monday.
• Dan Turner, the press secretary for
I get the Gottfried firing. He's a wealthy comedian and his jokes weren't particularly funny. They're likely to offend most (if not all) people in Japan, where the insurance company does 75 percent of its business, according to various reports.
But the Turner resignation seems like overkill to me. For one thing, it appears that Turner intended the joke only to go out to fellow staffers. He, unlike Gottfried, did not intend to act in a public way with this one-liner. It was only after the e-mail was leaked to the media that Turner felt he had to resign. If Barbour was not considered a potential Republican presidential candidate, I doubt Turner would have felt the same pressure to step down.
Is it simply too soon to make Japan jokes? Yes, I'd think most people would agree. But making a bad joke to your fellow employees shouldn't cost you your job.