Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Removal of an Old Standby

One of my favorite targets for humor is myself.  A large portion of humor comes at the expense of someone else -- it can be explicit like poking fun at someone, or more subtle in passing judgments on someone's intelligence (whether or not they "get" a joke).  But one of the softest varieties is making fun of me.

For one thing, it allows me to set up more complicated and rewarding bits of humor.  Since so much of humor is about timing, relying on someone else to unintentionally say a trigger phrase can be hit or miss (other people are notoriously bad at grasping my intent telepathically and enabling it).  Though riffing off what another person has said has a potentially greater reward in the synchronicity, sometimes doing things oneself is the proper route.

When making fun of myself, I tend towards ironic statements which are voicing opinions comically opposed to mine.  I've always enjoyed phrases like "...and that's what comes from men and women dancing!" and making comments about how the "experiment" with women's suffrage is clearly getting out of hand.

But now I can't use the women's voting rights comment anymore, without a twinge of guilt.  A minister and commentator actually said that it was a mistake letting women vote because they're "voting in the wrong people."  He also added that in “the good old days, men knew that women are crazy and they knew how to deal with them.”

And that's a shame.  Because of one person, an entire area for comedy has been irradiated and declared unfit.  How am I supposed to let people laugh that I'm crazily suggesting that women should have their voting rights taken away when there's someone out there who believes that for real and states in on the record?  People are going to get confused!

So I'm going to remove it from ordinary use.  I'll keep it around, in case sanity and good discourse ever come back into fashion and clear a path for satire. But I think we've lost something beautiful. 

I found this piece of news through the satirical site "Tea Party Jesus", which is simply words of a certain brand of extremist placed as cartoon word bubbles emerging from assorted depictions of Jesus.  One can then click the picture to be taken to a news story featuring the quote.  It's sublime.  The story in my update  comes from here: http://teapartyjesus.tumblr.com/post/22646321004

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