Words of the Hellbound

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Monday, February 8, 2010

First blog - Rules of Comedy

Hello all, Luke Troy here. This is my first blog, hence the title (do you think people will get the Rambo reference?). I spent all night messing about with the formatting and junk so I don't have much time left to write a particularly enthralling piece, also I wrote down a couple of ideas for things to write about but I left them at work, so too bad, you get nuthin. Goodbye, cya, thanks for stopping by, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

You're still here? OK fine, let's check the idea box... OK I've got one.

Comedies a dead art form. Now tragedy, that's funny.

Since this is my first blog, I would like to clear up a couple of things regarding what is and is not funny according to me, because some people may get the idea that I'm some kind of heartless insensitive asshole, if they aren't paying attention.

There's a pretty good rule of thumb that you can go by when it comes to what is funny; if it's something horrific and it's already happened, it's probably funny. If it's happening now and there is someway you can try and help, there's a good chance it's not funny. Like I said, rules of thumb, not absolutes. Here's how it works.

Consider the fact that as you read this sentence, 1 African child under the age of 5 will die. Now at the beginning of the sentence the child was still in the process of dying, which means something perhaps could have been done, not funny. But by the end of the sentence, it's too late, there's nothing you can do, the child is dead, hilarious, the more horrific the circumstance, the funnier it is.

Take another example, while Patric Swazey had Cancer, he was a human being suffering a horrible disease, nothing funny about that, except for the celebrity exception which I will explain later. But after he died, all bet's were off, and the Pat Swazey jokes are free to fly. http://www.sickipedia.org/search?q=Patrick%20Swayze Pretty much sums up my point.

For those of you still a little shocked please allow me to explain. You might be thinking that when I say that a dead African child is funny, that I am laughing at the dead African child, not so. That is of course still a tragedy. But the humor comes from the circumstance in which it happens, the surrounding context. Not what but why. Similarly with Patrick Swazey, I wouldn't actually aim a joke at him, with him at the butt, but one makes jokes about him, or rather, about the circumstance.

These distinctions may seem insignificant at first, but read on a you might agree that they make real practical sense, they do actually serve a function. You see, the child dying in Africa, even though you can't really do anything about it right now because it's only a few seconds away, it's still not dead yet, and we know that there are going to be another 30 000 of them this year. This is something that I recognise as important, something effectable, changeable. Therefore I don't laugh, but it's not because I think it's morally wrong, it's just that when I focus on the issue, I immediately go to, what can I do to help. But once the child is dead, you can take in the horror of the entire situation, and it gives you a chance to reflect on the true great comedy of errors that lead us to this situation. All the good intentions from people of blinding ignorance, and all the bad intentions from people with... well blinding ignorance. It's almost like we evolved through blind forces, and no one told us how we got here or what we're supposed to do and we're all trying to do the best we can without any one there to explain anything, and we're just doing an absolutely terrible job, eh creationists?

See where the funny comes from there? It's not because you're an insensitive jerk, quite the opposite, it's because you are sensitive to the state of the human condition, and you're able to recognise the irony, and the tragedy of it all. For me, to laugh at something like this is not to deny it, but to embrace it as the true nature of life as a human being. It puts you in a position where you are neither overwhelmed by the fact so that you just stick your head up your ass and pretend it's not there. Nor does it become mundane, because you are keeping it in your focus.

OK with Patric Swazey, we start with the celebrity exception. You're already kinda thinking, man I hope this guy gets cancer, partly because you know what that hoping has no effect on what will actually happen, and partly because again, you recognise this comical tragedy that put this system of celebrity into place. Human beings will scorn at someone for laughing at a dead child because they think it's morally wrong. They will watch they're shitty Hollywood movies, fall in love with those people that are pretending to be other people, and completely lose sight of the reality that they inhabit. People that aspire to be celebrities, are people that have already bought into the bullshit, that this system of blissful ignorance marks the pinnacle of human existence, being admired for your shameless betrayal of reality and you're ability to distract people from what might actually be important, like say 30 000 children .

But then it actually happens, and then yeah OK you chuckle a little because it's nice to see a little reality seep in through that celluloid bubble of reality rejection. If it's someone really bad, like Jenny McCarthy, you laugh a little harder, safe in the knowledge that if it was in your power to stop it, you would, but there's not so who cares. But once that has passed, and they are going through the cancer, well that becomes a point of focus again. People are getting cancer everyday, it destroys lives, families. Not only that but it's something that we are still working on, it's something that we can effect. For me that shifts the focus, it's not funny any more, it's something that we as these blind stumbling animals, can work on to try and make a little better. So you can laugh about the fact that he got cancer or that he has cancer, or that he died from cancer, but the joke is not really aimed at this human being that is suffering and who's family is suffering because of this dark ugly thing that one day we may be able to cure, if we don't lose focus.

So what's the point of all this. Well a few years ago I told this joke to a girl I used to work with.

"So I heard that it turned out Heath Ledger died of alcohol poisoning. Too many cock sucking cowboys,"

Now this girl was one of those condescending cunts that always had a smile on her face, even when she was pissed off. It was this big fake smile that she would show customers. She had that face on when she told me this. "You know just for future reference, don't make jokes like that, yeah, not funny."

It was at this point that I realised just how different I was to this person. We were like moral polar opposites, and I realised that there must be other people out there like her that just plain don't get it. They don't see the value of laughter in these situations, they think it's somehow wrong. Now I can, and just have, mount a moral argument for why it's OK and even productive to laugh in the face of tragedy and horror. It can give you humility, strength, resolve, determination and protection, as well as it just plain feels good. But the real point can be summed up in much fewer words.

What you laugh at is like who you are sexually attracted too. Who gives a fuck if it's a choice or not, if they aren't harming anyone, it's non of your fucking business. If you don't like it, don't do it. But don't tell me who I'm allowed to fuck and don't tell me what I'm allowed to laugh at. And if you are the kind to be offended by this, maybe you should check your priorities, because if find jokes about the dead more offensive than the fact that most people just don't give a fuck about those things we actually can change, then I find you offensive, and aren't you glad I can't tell you that you're not allowed.

Just remember this golden rule. When all else fails, in the words of Louis Black, find the funny. It will keep you focused, and it will keep you sain. Peace.

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