Sunday, November 16, 2014

How to Be Seriously Funny

Your comments yesterday about irony remind you of a favorite story concept, where two or more individuals think themselves to be in agreement.  But in fact, each is being agreeable about something the other is unaware of.  They believe they are agreeing to or about A, but as the story progresses, the individuals are entertaining different expectations, leading to outcome B.

This set-up, descriptive of so many relationships, in its way reflects the polar nature within a single character, and illustrates the nature of irony and subtext.  Characters often believe they are seeing agreement in others when they are in fact misreading the signs.  This is the essence of humor.

Example:  Some character taking the position that an event is not funny because of its serious or sacred or survival-related nature.  Such things are not to be laughed at or made light of, you see, because to do so is an offense.  The character taking that position believes he or she has the right to fill in the blank regarding what or whom the offense is directed.

This, too, is the essence of humor, which seeks out authority the way a heat-seeking missile seeks a military target.  Thus this meme:  If you wish to be humorous, exaggerate seriousness.  Do so until you hear the first sniggers, see the first hands covering the smiles erupting on exposed faces.

Example:  It is not proper to make fun of tragedy or misfortune.  Yet, what is humor but exaggerated and speeded-up tragedy and misfortune?

The tension reaches a peak when the reader or audience begins to interpret the clues:  these individuals are equivalents of the blind persons set the task of arriving at a consensus view of an elephant, each individual having expressed with moral certainty his or her assigned section of elephant.

A possible solution to the dilemma is to chose a smaller animal for investigation, showing respect for the famed observation of one William of Occam, "Universes should not be unnecessarily expanded," known for centuries as Occam's Razor, to wit, The simplest solution is the best solution.

But this metaphorical simplicity of Human Nature is fraught with complexities, idiosyncrasies, and that great mischief maker, stubbornness.  Even after many years of study, meditation, research, discipline, and various types of therapy to the psyche, the spine, and the reasoning centers, a given person is still a potential minefield.

You've felt yourself grow from a wound-tight person of volatile spontaneity to what you feel comfortable describing as laid-back.  Nevertheless, you are aware of inner conversations getting out of hand, of shifts in the leadership, where what seemed to be relegated to the minority party has gained control, then forged into some agreement, purchase, or abrogation of a previous treaty.  

At the moment, you are offering the incumbent President of the United States a deeply felt moral support and admonition not to be that concept you so wish to disavow in yourself, a lame duck.  Like it or not, at this point in your life, you do not hold the concept of lame-duckness in high esteem, from painful memories of your own previous lame-duck positions.

Through reading, observation, and behavior, you attempt to write explorations, analyses, and hypotheses in which you track your growth and the growth you note about you.  You do not consider yourself a pessimist, yet if your hypotheses and explorations come forth with the tang of cynicism, so be it; you'll have outlined guidelines for yourself to follow.

In the same spirit as the one in which you have become aware of your attempts not to categorize or generalize yourself, you seek a realistic assessment of the load of ideas, attitudes, and behavior you can process.

In a sense, you are a Tower of Babel, seeking to arrive at a functional language where clarity and tolerance prevail.  But there, you've done it again, produced a polarity of clarity to the North Pole and Tolerance at the South, thus your world, with yet another marker at the Equator.  

That marker is the product of an individual setting off to experience, explain, and reconcile.  The product is called humor, which is a revelation of the sad truths and side effects of the civil wars going on about us in the outside world and the worlds inside.

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