Friday, August 29, 2014

We Must Be Wiser Than This

If you get your information or analysis of the world from The Daily Show, you need to have enough sense to be embarrassed for yourself.  You either need to grow up and learn to absorb the world and important issues like a thoughtful adult, or you need to turn in your “I Learned How To Use My Frontal Lobes” card.

The world of politics is rife with things that ought to be made fun of and the line of political comedians is long indeed.  Much in political life should be laughed at.  ISIS should not be.  Brutality matching ancient Assyrian levels is not an appropriate place for mockery.  It just isn’t funny.

Whether or not ISIS is a clear and present danger to the American homeland is up for debate (but remember, that is what we thought about Al Qaeda before 9/11), but the level of evil being acted out by them should not be.  What also should not be up for debate is whether or not we are allowed to laugh at ISIS and the kinds of things they are doing.  It is morally inappropriate to make this kind of mockery of this kind of evil.  Laughing at it and making cheap jokes does not help anyone deal with the systematic slaughter of Christians and other religious minorities, and it does not help us put the YouTube beheadings in some kind of ‘big picture’.

Part of maturity – the growth of virtue in the human character – is learning what emotions are appropriate and inappropriate given the situation.  You do not laugh at funny cat videos during the funeral of a friend who committed suicide.  You do not weep at your loss to a friend when they are tremendously blessed and you are not.  Instead, you learn to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.

The Daily Show gets this profoundly wrong.  It is unable to tell the difference between things that ought and ought not be laughed at.  Stewart, though a very intelligent man, is not wise.  Maybe we can laugh with him from time to time at the absolute absurdity that is our political system, but we must be wiser than he is and learn when not to laugh.

I don't have the stomach to embed the video. Here is the link.

1 comment:

David Eriol Hickman said...

>>I had thought — I had been told — that a 'funny' thing is a thing of a goodness. It isn't. Not ever is it funny to the person it happens to. Like that sheriff without his pants. The goodness is in the laughing itself. I grok it is a bravery . . . and a sharing… against pain and sorrow and defeat.

Robert Heinlein- Stranger in a strange land.