Humour keeps us honest. It strips away illusions that support the status quo. It helps bridge the gap between what is and what could be.
The argument is simple: by overlooking reality, people and organizations often fail to anticipate and address risks, and humour helps to dissolve denial.
Through a shared experience of humour, cartoons invite us to recognize aspects of reality as ridiculous, inexcusable, in need of change. Once armed with such awareness, it’s easier to reflect and discuss candidly what’s really going on, and what to do about it.
Humour, like disaster risk management, is about the clash between “what is” and “what could be”. When something is unacceptable yet accepted, humourists find rich opportunities to shed light on the contradictions, incongruities, tensions, and general absurdity of our choices…and the bad outcomes that may emerge.
Humour enables tough conversations about what can go wrong and what to do about it. A good cartoon first makes you feel confused (Huh?), then makes you smile or laugh (HaHa), then makes you think (A-ha!), connecting your experiences and emotions to what is laughably wrong in our world.