Unitarian Universalist Hysterical Society
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#Improvethejoke: A Truly UU Practice

Remember when Robbie improved one of our Valentines?

Photo Credit: Robbie Brydon

Photo Credit: Robbie Brydon

This month in the UUHS coffee hour, Valerie Johnson came up with “#improvethejoke” which to me seems like the most UU hashtag EVER.  I mean… we’ve been reading ahead in the hymnals to edit the lyrics on the fly as we sing them, so shouldn’t we be doing that with memes?

The next day, I got a submission that was funny, but also contained an OCD joke that is hurtful to some (definitely not all, we learned in the discussion) people with mental illness.  

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We invoked #improvethejoke, and…

Credit: Tom Nalesnik for the suggested alteration

Credit: Tom Nalesnik for the suggested alteration

Credit Kathy Smith for the suggested alteration.

Credit Kathy Smith for the suggested alteration.

Credit to Cheryl Casey for the original improvement, and hilariously, the improvement to the improvement.

Credit to Cheryl Casey for the original improvement, and hilariously, the improvement to the improvement.


But my favourite redo of the month was of this joke, which brings up interesting conversations about oppression and frames of reference:

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Tifany-Cheri Veillon Naquin felt it didn’t accurately reflect the real conversations had by the moms at her son’s school, and redid the comic:

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Watching Tifany’s version go viral, I had this warm feeling of “this is what it’s about”.

You know… We talk about the culture of political correctness and watching what we say like it’s a prison, but I think it’s something else.  It’s a call to creativity.  To growth.  To the challenge of coming up with things that are still funny, but also kind.  And more true.

People resonate with that.  That’s why Tifany’s comic went so far.

Mirth and Dignity. A spiritual practice*.

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*The words “spiritual practice” are pending group improvement.

Liz JamesComment