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May 1, 2017

How Joking Is Making Others Complicit in a Small (and Passionate) Crime

A = Jester = Criminal
B = Subject of Joking = Victim
C = Audience = Law and Order

The A targets and attacks his B and the C has to solve and judge this - all with a certain amount of sympathy.

At first A makes rationalizations and tells (himself) a story in which his attacking B has meaning. B is mainly portrayed in the light of A's preoccupations with him, as A's side of the story. The C has to determine to what extent this is the case and will find the action more acceptable/reasonable if he sympathizes with the cause and motives of A. He will also judge the rationalizations and story of A on the trustworthiness, frequency of violations and in some cases on the likeability of the person in general; if he knows A to be a person with good intentions and friendly relationships, now and then violating the norms is somewhat more acceptable.

The action is performed. One or more (societal) norms are violated. Depending on how big the violation is, the C may reconcile or loosen up the following up or - in case of a very light action - even let is slide. Besides, there are worst things in the world/bigger fish to catch. If he felt a close connection with the A on forehand or gets to know him better during the process, he feels something of the urgency of the action. He may even feel something of the thrill of it.

A becomes known. His action brand him as the typical A that he is. Different kind of C's have encountered him and their judgement varied. There's, apparently, no one, worldwide norm for dealing with an A. His name pops up in different records. His reputation is established.