Following my previous post highlighting the emergence of humorous articles regarding Global warming The Global Warming comedy show I realised this marked an important change, but in order to explain it, I needed to publish my Social Boundary Theory of Humour.
To put it simply, the Social Boundary Theory of Humour says that we find things funny because they are at the boundary of acceptability, AND that we use humour to communicate and “discuss” these boundary. (Which rather explains why I no longer find the BBC funny!)
However, the implication of that, is that people will tend to use humour when they are unsure of the social boundary and are searching for the “social norm” or the limit of social acceptability. (We don’t e.g. ask is it OK to say “cunt” – people instead make a joke and judge the acceptability of ideas and words from the response – which is significantly different in different social groups).
In other words, the recent emergence of articles in a humorous tone, is highly indicative of a view that the social boundaries on reporting climate are perceived to have changed. So those journalists treating the subject humorously are in effect asking the question “is this the new social boundary?”.
Thus, based on the Social Boundary Theory of Humour I can conclude:
- There has been a perceived change in what is acceptable within society regarding this subject (the moral stigma of being a sceptic has dissipated).
- That more than likely once other commentators see the subject being treated humorously, that they too will begin using humour so that they too can explore and discover the new “socially acceptable boundary”.
- And basically: that the Global Warming propaganda machine is failing, the fear of “crossing the boundary” to the sceptic side has disappeared and that we sceptics face the real risk of becoming socially acceptable.