Monday, June 19, 2006

Dark laughter

This post was inspired by the comments to this blog entry of CC‘s: The ChaliceBlog: Another argument I had with theCSO yesterday

There are many kinds of laughter. There is the spontaneous laughter of joy, when you’re just so happy it bubbles naturally from within, no excuse needed. There is the easy laughter of people having fun, where the slightest lame joke or weak witticism has coffee shooting out of one’s nose. Laughter of this sort is the sound of souls bonding, of spirits lifting.

There is the laughter produced by jokes, a deliberate attempt to rally spirits when they have been deadened by the rat race, the kind of laughter you might hear at a comedy club. Closely related is stress humor, designed to deflect spirit killers... is the Mercury Capsule claustrophobically cramped? Mount a plaque inside that says “No Handball Allowed” This sort of laughter strengthens the spirit, clearing the mind and the heart at the same time.

Laughter is so important to the survival of the species that a sense of humor is seen by both sexes as one of the most attractive features a potential mate can have. The lack of a sense of humor is very nearly, in this modern world of situational ethics and moral relativism, the only thing of which a person is truly ashamed.

Some people learn at a early age that laughter can be more than a survival mechanism, or a bonding moment... it is the armor that deflects all criticism, that turns their nasty personality flaws into an asset. If a dull fellow always lets people pay for him, he’s a cheapskate; if he can make it a joke about how they got scored on, he’s a wit. Truly awful acts of cowardice, vanity, or betrayal- if they can be told with good timing and lots of mugging- make one more popular, not less. Those hearing the stories know they shouldn’t laugh, and indeed may not even want to at first- but they quickly realize that to fail to laugh marks them as “uncool”, “judgmental”, “puritanical”, or (heaven forefend) “intolerant”. It deadens the spirit; it’s operational conditioning against sensitivity.

But then there are those who realize that laughter can be wielded as a weapon. Just as cheapness or infidelity can be forgiven in the example above, they quickly learn that astonishingly vicious acts of hatred can be excused as “practical jokes”, or “parody”. It quickly becomes their favorite, as they learn that it is the easiest sort of thing to do of all. One must actually be clever to make a joke; but anyone can talk as if virtue, or decency, or a particular class of people were funny. If their feelings get hurt, you just say “F&*K em if they can’t take a joke” and suddenly the aggressor becomes the victim, and the victim “intolerant”. This kind of laughter deadens the intellect, blinds the eyes to the pain of their fellow man. Even when it results in the shootings at Columbine, the mocker never gets it- it wasn’t his daily assaults on the inherent worth and dignity of his fellow man that caused the tragedy; it was his victim’s lack of a sense of humor.

How much has the hate filled, empty headed belittler cost mankind over the years? How many tears, how much violence? How many decent people have failed to speak up over social injustice not for fear of the guns of government, but for fear of public ridicule? I don’t know... but personally, I rank the mean-spirited mocker with the mosquito; irritating vermin who may not “intend” harm, but cause thousands of deaths just by existing.

7 comments:

Ankara said...

anyone can talk as if virtue, or decency, or a particular class of people were funny.
But arent they funny? Isnt EVERYONE funny in their own special hilarious way? Your assumption that those who *parody* are actually *hating* in certain instances that I suppose you DECIDE.
You are the worst kind of hater, one who does so under the veil of *decency* You would right all the world outlawing *hate* (or allow it to be done) and persecute those who in your eyes "say the wrong kind of things" you blame some nameless mocker for columbine instead of the morons who picked up the guns. This leads to funny things (to me) like congress debating video games that we need *protected* from since we are so unable to just turn them off. The blame ALWAYS rests with the person who DOES the thing, not even if he were endlessly goaded into it by some devilish MOCKER.
The holy statement FEITCTAJ stands.
(it doesnt cease to be true parody to the mocker, just because it touches a chord of scorn in you. You should be more tolerant of other viewpoints, you will be happier in life trust me)

Joel Monka said...

"Your assumption that those who *parody* are actually *hating* in certain instances that I suppose you DECIDE." There is parody, such as Mad Magazine, or the Friars Club roasts, and then there is mockery- you cannot pretend to be unaware that the things I was referring to hurt people's feelings, sometims causing considerable mental anguish. It is only fair to conclude that the person saying them either intended to injure (hate), or doesn't care who is hurt is his pursuit of his own pleasure- the clinical definition of a sociopath.

"You would right all the world outlawing *hate* (or allow it to be done)..." You are assuming; I did not call for anything to be outlawed in my post. One can deplore situations for which there is no legal remedy possible- such as the existence of people who get their kicks hurting others, and claiming moral superiority for doing so.

"you blame some nameless mocker for columbine instead of the morons who picked up the guns..." Nor did I say the shooters were justified- but neither can we pretend their tormentors are blameless. If I beat a pit bull puppy every day, eventually he'll bite my leg off. The police will destroy the dog, and rightly so- he has become a danger to all. And if I were a SubGenius, I'd say it's not my fault the dog couldn't take a joke!

"...You should be more tolerant of other viewpoints, you will be happier in life trust me" Lol... only a subgenius could fail to see the irony in reading the kinds of things subgeniui write and then telling another to be more tolerant. Believe it or not, I'm living quite happily not spending my spare time trying to see how deeply I can the feelings of others.

Ankara said...

It is only fair to conclude that the person saying them either intended to injure (hate), or doesn't care who is hurt is his pursuit of his own pleasure- the clinical definition of a sociopath.
your problem is that you are really bluring the line between parody and what is essentially intentional torture, and then forgetting that you first were talking about something else (i.e. 'what subgenii say and do') My only reason following up here was that you started out linking to our little troll of the chalice blog and then connected it to *those who intentionaly hurt* Well lets examine that then. Where is the funny? A subgenius does what he does because it is FUNNY, to be unfunny is a sin amongst our ilk. You could imagine here a comedian working the crowd, everything is fine...then he loses them, he becomes UNFUNNY, there it ends...he BOMBS. This is the same with us, if the material ceases to be funny, it's over. What I think is really going on here is, you dont like us poking fun at *certain* things (I tried to say this before but you ignored it)You also seem to think that if someone *jokes* and it makes you uncomfortable they should stop. But what if a LOT of people find it funny? What if they have found a *comedy club* where this sort of thing is considered good form. If you entered the comedy club all you would have to do is say "this guy aint funny I am leaving" but to assume that because the humor is about something you would rather people NOT make light of reveals a certain chauvanism. Yes the church of the subgenius is a parody of most of the worlds religions, it is a parody of institutions, and it is also a parody on the basic human condition.
It is one of the original culture jams. Also you clearly have no idea who we are or what we are about (or else the reference to the dog not *getting it* would be meaningless. In fact it IS meaningless, I assume you just did it to troll. it would have been much funnier had you cast a dogmatic human in the role, but we must walk before we can fly)Anyway, if you wanted to know who we were you would already. But it's quite obvious you arent interested in true enlightenment. =)

Joel Monka said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, humor excuses all, no one has a right to be offended at being sneered at, you are the only ones capable of deciding whether your sneers are hurtful or not- not the ones they're aimed at, and you're the mighty intellects who are above it all, and anyone who doesn't laugh is beneath you... we've heard it all before.

You know, this post was not intended for you, but for those around you, to warn that some kinds of "humor" deaden the intellect rather than sharpen it, darken the soul rather than enlighten it. The world needs laughter- but not so desperately as to bother listening to an Aryan making n#&&*r jokes, or a subgenii making Christian jokes. I wasn't trolling for your business- please, tell all your friends to stay away.

Ankara said...

but not so desperately as to bother listening to an Aryan making n#&&*r jokes, or a subgenii making Christian jokes. Nice. You tie in racism to what *we* do. Do you really think these two things are the same? Regardless, of what I say or joke about, your views shouldnt change, if you feel offense I have to ask how much you truly believe. I also make note of the fact that you totally ignore the fact that christianity is only a small part of the parody we do. Oh, and about telling my friends, if you dont want comments, dont post to the internet, where anyone can see, or better still disable comments on your blog, seeing as how you don't want to entertain other viewpoints.

Joel Monka said...

"Do you really think these two things are the same? " In terms of being mean spirited, yes. In terms of passing off an attack as "humor", yes. It's not the target that defines the case, but the methodology.

" I also make note of the fact that you totally ignore the fact that christianity is only a small part of the parody we do. " Actually, I am quite aware of that- and it makes it worse, not better. I am not a Christian, as you might have learned had you read the comments in the Chaliceblog you referred to before- I only mentioned the Christian "humor" because what I have seen of it seemed particularly vicious. As I said before, it's what you're doing that's offensive, not just who you're doing it to. Have you ever heard of the "broken window" syndrome? It's the broken window of intellectual discourse.

"...seeing as how you don't want to entertain other viewpoints." I love entertaining other viewpoints, which is why I leave the comments enabled. What I was trying to avoid is 40 some odd iterations of the exact same viewpoint. You had wondered if I had phrased things as I did to troll for more subgenii commentary, and I was merely trying to assure you I was not.

Jeremiadist said...

My $0.02: If someone says something, and you feel bad afterwards, this is not their doing, but yours. Accepting responsibility for one's own emotional state is a component of maturity, and should probably be a precondition of the right to vote, or to drive. The importance of F- 'Em if They Can't Take a Joke rests on the fact that people who can't take a joke are dangerous and evil. Comparing the infliction of physical harm with making marks on paper, or making sounds with one's mouth, is a dangerous minimization of the seriousness of actual violence. Etc. Nice blog overall, FWIW.