So…you see something – a post, a gif, a photo, whatever…and you laugh. Laughter is a uniquely human phenomenon. Laughter actually creates chemical changes in our body…and they are beneficial to us. My instincts tell me to always surrender to an impulse to laugh. There will be time to consider whether or not I SHOULD have been amused by what I read but that is an intellectual consideration. Somewhat comparable to orgasm – SHOULD I have come…? But the physiological benefits are incontestable.
Humor/comedy exists in an uncommonly contentious reality of late. PC. #MeToo. Race. Gender. Political. Economic. Some feel that Sacred Cows still exist; that some issues are NOT to be made mock of.
To me, humor is like a sneeze. It’s not a voluntary reaction. If it amuses, then it does. And if you chose, you can go all anal and endlessly analyze afterwards whether or not you SHOULD have been amused by it…but not that it DID tickle your funny bone.
I’m no comic; I lack the timing and skills…but I admire and appreciate all who make me laugh…sometimes just to keep from crying. 😉 I write this tonite, triggered by a post I’d sent privately to a thoughtful friend about just how touchy, how…dangerous really, humor can be in our time. Given, my sensibilities are hardly mainstream, yet I know there IS no subject too taboo for me to react to with laughter. MLK, Vietnam, race, religion, death, war, drugs, politics, whatever…
I live to laugh and hope that willingness never leaves me. There is always time to later consider that my laughter might endorses or affirm hatred, racism, bigotry, criminality, sexism…But those are intellectual rather than fundamental human considerations. Your funny may not be my funny…but ANY funny is a boon to human existence, if only for a few seconds of respite from The Human Condition.
Tonite I was put in mind of a meme, a photo seen years ago of a young white woman, posed over a dumpster, half in, half out, her hindquarters in view. And the caption was, “Look at that. Someone has thrown out a perfectly good white girl.” I can’t seem to find that image today as I search Google…but there are other similar photos with the same meme. I now understand this line is a riff on an earlier film. “Someone has thrown out a perfectly good white boy.” I don’t remember seeing the film but the line is ironic and callous and therefore resonant. But why is it resonant? In my estimation, the payoff line comments on the relative value of different human life in our culture. Based upon race or gender or economic standing.
So you tell me about what gives you pause when something makes you laugh…and then makes you feel uncomfortable about your having laughed.