I am constantly amazed at how some people can find humor in the most ridiculous things, but completely lose it when that humor could be seen to refer to them, or to something that they are connected to. A perfect example is this post – by Mara Mascaro – showing the difficulties of producing items in a foreign language. Now, I know that most people will obviously remove their child before cleaning the clothes they were wearing that day and such advice isn’t really needed, but we all know how difficult it is to translate from one language to another without a more than adequate knowledge of both languages.
Finding it amusing, and knowing of many other examples which fall into the same #FAIL category, I commented:
Why such a comment? Because we all know, or should do, that many, many things available on the US and European markets are manufactured in China: production is cheap; the quality can be good; it’s a profit and supply thing. But not everyone seems to understand that.
Some are convinced, or so it would appear, that Chinese goods with a washing instruction label in English are clearly made exclusively for the Chinese market.
Obviously it is clear that goods made for the home market are going to have a label sewn inside in a foreign language. As a selling point it makes sense, and I am sure that the many millions of Chinese who cannot read a word of English really appreciate the forethought and consideration behind this move. Perhaps they already know that you should remove the child first, so instructions in their own language are unnecessary. Or perhaps the company producing these clothes simply wants to appear international, but in reality only supplies the Chinese market place.
And then we have the sense of humor loss.
Was my comment rude in any way? Certainly I am an American, and studying in Germany. I also most certainly include myself amongst those who this label may well be aimed at. My Chinese is a little rusty or, to be perfectly honest, I can’t tell one character from another so guidance in English is one of those things I really need to continue living my life without unfortunate mishaps.
But let me put it into perspective a little. How many countries in the world are there where it is law that coffee must have a notice warning customers that it is hot? How many have small packets of peanuts – just peanuts, nothing else – with a warning that the packet may contain peanuts? How many countries require that a warning – whether this is still so or not I do not know – that a hot iron is not a telephone? How many have a warning that the auto-pilot on a car is not an auto-pilot at all, but a cruise control, and drivers should not set it, then go into the back of their mobile home whilst driving along the freeway and brew a cup of coffee?
Humor is a very personal thing but, as I think most would agree, it is possible to see humor in many things, and to understand how other people may find something humorous. But you should never take humor personally, no matter who it happens to be aimed at nor who produced it in the first place. Some of the best comedians aim their humor at themselves first, perhaps we ought to consider it from that point of view before calling someone out over their sense of humor. Either that, or shut off the computer, go outside, and enjoy a wonderful early summer day.
You can see the original post and all the comments here.
Love & Kisses, Viki.