You are right. I think, on looking at my post again, that I may have overstated things somewhat.

My main intention was to support the implication at the end of Dr Sherman's article by pointing out that, on my analysis of relevant instances, WHEN and/or IF people DO intend to say something to an other which they suspect could offend the other, so often, either they just take a chance, say it, and then - to defend themselves - call it "just a joke" when the offence is confirmed, or, they present that potentially offensive something as a "joke" to start off with in the hope that the humour will take precedence over the offensiveness, while still conveying their critical/offensive intent. That is how I see the quotation: "Never a truer word than that spoken in jest", viz. that the "jest" is just a cover/disguise for the "true" intent.

I think what the article is doing is to suggest that one should be alert to that -

'Or, maybe, the problem isn't the jokes themselves, but the attitude that "a joke is just a joke." Jokes have great power. When our intent is to malign, a joke becomes more than an offhand remark. It becomes a weapon.'

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