Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey, Where's the Milk?

A friend of mine noted that the blog has been pretty serious and dark as of late and it is true.  Much more bittersweet cocoa than sugar or milk. More than once as a child, I tried to will myself to like those unsweetened baker's squares as I gnawed on it ferociously, hoping to make it taste better, wanting it to be what I loved. 

The blog has moved away from its original design to be humor, and delved into more about religion (specifically Catholicism), and the role of a lively faith in society, and the perceived threats I see to our existing way of life that protects the liberty of all to live out their faith fully.  I cannot play the clown or laugh at these serious things, they are too close, to near to the bone and they are frankly, constant. I'd love the world to taste sweeter, much as I gnaw on it.

So Sherry, why not add the sugar yourself? Why not be the light to the dark?

That is what humorists are called to do, to bring about a merciful break in the pain. I admittedly have always had this theory about humor, that it must at its core, contain an element of mercy, because humor almost always has to address at its core, pain. 

Slapstick is the counter to actual physical injury.  A clever comeback can disarm a bully.  The right bit of self depreciating asides in a speech can counter the perception that a leader is arrogant or out of touch.  It is a universal component that connects across cultures. A smile is a smile, in utero, in old age, at any time and anywhere and laughter can create friends in an instant.  Humor is a salve on the human soul when properly employed.

This isn't to say humor can't be abused --for recent examples, one need only see the sorry saga of Rush Limbaugh's comments on Ms. Fluke or any comments on people from the Conservative side of politics from Bill Maher. When the desire to inflict pain to the other side trumps judgement, we wind up with this sort of unsavory commentary served as humor.  As the cliche goes, dying is easy, comedy is hard. 

Humor also must contain an element of truth.  We live in an age that prefers that truths be "tacitly understood" or rather like children of old, seen and not heard.  When people speak truths, they get blasted for saying something that someone else finds disagreeable or told that what they say is truth, isn't, it's only opinion.  Few want to point out the irony of "There are no universal truths." is that the sentence itself is an assertion of an absolute, because the squishy world of relativism seems more comfortable than the possibility of hard real moral consequences to our choices that we are either ignoring or defying.

Humor is also fundamentally about relationships, juxtapositions, ups and downs, ironies, inverses and reverses.   The comedian offers the jokes to the audience, but can't make them laugh, can't force it, and when they don't reciprocate the gift of laughter in response to the offered jokes, it is like a desperate fight in public.  It is painful.  Humor has to be given and received to be effective.

 So I apologize for the lack of milk or sugar. I've been trying, but the muse seems awol at the moment. You can't fake comedy. You can recycle it some if it's good enough, you can descend into satire and snark and bite, but humor, genuine humor for me has to have an element of mercy in it. 

So if I'm not going to make you the best chocolate cookies I know, I'll at least explain, at the moment, I don't have all the ingredients and have to make a run to the store.

Thanks for reading. Will keep trying.   Maybe if I just bite down hard enough on this unsweetened square.


gaylene said...

I love humor. But I also appreciate honesty. And as a writer, you have to write what is begging you to be written. So I miss your laughs, but have loved the passion you've expressed! maybe you need two blogs for the two sides of your writing world :)

Karen said...

How many Catholics does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. Candles only.

A smile is the world's greatest teacher.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!