Saturday, April 26, 2014

Death and Mayhem are Both Hilarious Under Certain Conditions.

Recently, a young man was crushed, and horribly killed, by an 100-foot, oddly-shaped, and poorly cable-reinforced crucifix. I, being Coons, cackled madly, and shared the story on my Facebook wall, with just the aforementioned mad cackle as a caption. I know I should have dreamt up a witty one-liner for the occasion, but I was taking a breif tea break while troubleshooting a system at work, and my thoughts were elsewhere. All I could come up with were unfunny derogatory statements about Notre Dame's Civil Engineering program, or the fact that the builders should have just asked Jesus if the structure was sound. After all, they had an experienced tradesman just hangin' around.

All day, people kept coming up to me, tell me that it was "wrong" and "not funny" to post that. The thing is though, is that I'm pretty sure that it is funny. I've spent the last few years hanging around with a few comedians, as well as comediennes, because I still use gender-specific nouns, even when a gender-neutral one would suffice. These people have been pressuring me into comedy for a while, and while I've seriously looked into doing so, I'm still unsure how I would go about translating this blog into a stage show. Well, that that and I lack people skills to such an alarming degree, that it's apparently caused an integer-overflow error, and became charming.

Granted, it's not de facto funny. There are a number of things in this world which are intrinsically funny in all situations and instances. I carry this list within the small book I carry with me whenever I leave the house, to dutifully log another of these items when they are spotted. The things which are intrinsically funny include, but are not limited to, the following:
However, just because something is not de facto funny, doesn't mean that it isn't funny. In his treatise on Comedy, the Greek philosopher Aristotle listed a number of elements which are critical for something to be funny.

A joke is just a change of perspective, that takes you by surprise in a moment of clarity, much like like a Zen koan. Like a koan, jokes are vehicles for enlightenment; they answer a question in such an obvious way that you wonder why you ever questioned it. 

Comedy is not transmitted through logos -- it is more like music -- in that it reaches people on another level, from another direction. It addresses the essence of a matter by acting through the essence of our own vulnerabilities. We never laugh at the ones who cause pain; only the receivers. We do this to relieve the tension of the situation. That's all laughter is, and all that it need to be; a release of tension as a response to things coming together or coming apart. This is always achieved trough a disparity; making the mighty trivial (e.g., religion, death, etc.) or by making trivial things mighty (e.g., the annoyed feeling that fellow air travelers cause).  

Based upon the above criterion, I find that the above-mentioned crucifix-smooshing was, indeed, funny.

After all, I laughed.

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