Sunday, February 21, 2016
THE IRONIC COMIC
Recently I posted an article titled The Real Me on Facebook and on my blog.
Those who are familiar with my writings, and with "me" through my social media sharing and responses, immediately chimed in and went along with the farce - taking it to a level to which my own creative skills had to stretch, like silly putty, just to keep up.
Others, surprisingly, at least initially, thought my shenanigans were truthful. And I thought staring out with "I leave a large carbon footprint and love GMO "enhanced" produce" would have been an immediate give-away that the post was intended to raise more intriguing issues without sound preachy, pretentious, opinionated, dogmatic, or otherwise like a wanna-be know-it-all.
... which is precisely how we sound when we start waiving our opinions around.
The first point to which I wished to raise attention in a lighthearted and humorous way is our collective CARBON FOOTPRINT. The importance of minimizing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity expressed as CO2 is readily recognized and a matter of international priority, but even with the world calling for change, it is change that begins at home, with us, that will ultimately make the difference in minimizing the negative effects of overconsumption.
Growing up in an era where turning off lights and minimizing electricity use was impressed upon me since early elementary school, turning off lights when I am not in a room, unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use, and minimizing the amount of electrical load I inflict on my household have long since been imperatives and, in general, a way of life.
Still, there is always more than can be done. There are new cooking apparati, more efficient appliances, and indoor air quality practices that can be easily and cost effectively incorporated into our lifestyles. By stating the (hopefully) painfully opposite truth, I hoped to make the article less about "me" and more about what people think about (carbon footprint) as the take-away thought.
Given the sheer number of creative responses that followed my posting, I cannot say whether or not this objective was met, but one thing that did stand out was an aspect of humor and comedy that until this posting was not apparent on my radar of humorous observations.
PLAYFULNESS LEADS TO MORE PLAYFULNESS
Regular followers of my writings on humor know that I am not an advocate of cleverly veiled insults in the name of humor. Since beginning my explorations into humor in its many forms, this has been a consistent position.
Be that as it may, in this particular occasion, given the majority of the responses were playful in nature, what stood out most was not the issues, but the actual farce itself - the intent to make others laugh.
Comedy as a device is not always about the veiled insults and their accompanying issues. Sometimes comedy is really just simple. The experience grabs people by the neurons and drags them into a kickball game or game of cricket.
Comedy says, "Hey YOU! Get out here and play with us!"
In this case, the veiled subject matter is just the foundation upon which the experience of having fun is laid.
George Carlin was an avid reader and a highly frustrated intellectual who cared deeply about the state of the nation, the danger of mass biased opinion, failing educational programs, and the general populace's herd-like tendencies. All the same, he is not remembered for his political stances but for his straight-forward, brassy, in-your-face style of humor.
Carlin's philosophies and political bent resonate with many people, myself included; even though this choice of language does not personally appeal to me. Exclusive of the language and tactics he employed, it was the coherency of his thoughts and the seriousness of the subject and how they affect the population that inspired millions of ardent followers.
The general public or non-followers of Carlin's stand-up comedy routines did not know of his more poignant messages, and thus he is remembered as a comic and not as a political or social philosopher.
Soph Laugh's philosophical insights did not (prior to this blog) exist outside the pale of what is strictly filed and registered as a graduate work thesis. Soph Laugh's thesis work centered around dissolving the accepted bridge of separation in philosophical theories by illuminating the truth behind the similarity of their shared foundation.
It is bias, which results in a failure to neutrally dissect propositions, that leads individuals to wrong conclusions. Every article ever posted herein, irrespective the subject, have consistently illuminated wrong conclusions.
For example, an article on The Importance of a Good Loincloth and Creative Suffering are easily recognizable as farcical writings, whereas the more philosophically humorous point of why we place so much importance on money as a belief system is barely recognized in A Critique of Money.
Without the button proving human existence at the end, few would consider the article humorous. Consequently it would be categorized as "serious".
These are the types of articles that go mostly unread and are precisely the articles that are more philosophically interesting to dissect than are loincloths - at least for philosophically-minded individuals (like myself).
HUMOR IS EVERYWHERE
Humor is EVERYWHERE, and is especially prevalent in our biased opinions and in our non-opinions. It is these irregularities in our thinking, as well as inconsistencies and flawed judgments that make us laugh the hardest.
There are hundreds of articles in this blog that are not funny-sounding. But that too is funny, if only because they are being shared in a blog purporting to philosophically explore humor.
What we take seriously and what we write-off as humor or comedy is often times the very same subjects. It is thus the delivery of those subjects that makes something sound funny or serious.
Had I posted my "honest opinions" on carbon footprints, GMOs, politics, social norms, or interpersonal conflicts, the responses would have sounded like this:
The only responses to something as heavy and serious and sappy as this song would be those responses from people who at the time of discovery were experiencing a heavy, serious, or sappy mood, and similar frame of perspective.
This isn't to say that great insights cannot be garnered from serious deliveries, and this certainly isn't to purport that great insights can be garnered by employing the device of humor, but indeed insights are expressed and received each day in a variety of delivery methods.
In the end, as I have consistently expressed:
Humor and comedy are mostly a matter of taste.
Understandably some people will read The Real Me and wonder how much of that was true about me. The more self-reflective may ask themselves how much of what I wrote pertains to them or to the general population. Some will merely laugh it off, knowing perfectly well that it was a farce to shed light on more serious issues without getting serious, which in a very serious world can be worth its weight in gold.
The opportunity to be playful, silly, or funny is really what humor and its cousin comedy is all about. It's about getting people off their high horses and inviting them out onto the playing field to have fun and to laugh at ourselves and others in a playful way; recognizing than none of us are infallible in our thinking and conclusions, but that in the end, that's precisely what makes the game of life so very FUN.
And finally, after five years of examining humor, I have what I consider to be my greatest understanding from the enterprise of philosophizing on the subject:
Life is more fun when we allow ourselves to have fun.
It is full circle that I have come in my journey into laughter, into finding it in every nook and cranny of the human experience. Once I have the opportunity to gather the insights as they unfolded along the way, I hope to publish my findings for anyone curious about said insights. But I'll not do it in a haughty, pretentious, ivy tower-like delivery.
Like my man, Carlin, I hope to deliver my theories on humor and comedy and the human experience in a witty, humorous tall tale of insights sans the colorful language, employing instead the language of a colorblind artist living in a world of colorsighted people who take life just a tad bit too serious for her tastebuds.