Did anyone see October go by? Seriously, though, wasn’t it September just … like last week? I have got to slow down, or else I’ll be retired before I really get started.
Please do not smile, and read this VERY SERIOUS column by Kansas City Star writer Lewis Diuguid. (You pronounce his name Do-Good. So yes, that means he is a left-wing opinion columnist named Do-Good. (Insert punchline here.))
Diuguid doesn’t want any more laughing. He thinks it detracts from the seriousness of the world’s situation. He wrote, “Laughter … deflates and diverts people’s attention from what should be a buildup of public outrage, causing folks to vote for change.” It “trivializes serious things” and “diminishes suffering.”
His column cites a study called “‘The ‘Daily Show’ Effect: Candidate Evaluations, Efficacy and American Youth.” This study proposes that young people in America are more cynical and negative about politics because we watch The Daily Show. Actually, I think young people in America watch The Daily Show because we are cynical and negative about politics. And furthermore, The Daily Show is thriving mostly because the American political scene is a joke, worthy of nothing much more than cynicism and negativity. Whatever, Diuguid then spins this study to try to prove his hypothesis that humor is deteriorating the level of public discourse in our society.
I usually agree with Mr. Diuguid, but not this time. If anything, we need MORE laughter in our public discourse. Like the soldiers in Iraq who responded to John Kerry’s recent stupid remark with a banner that read, “Halp us, Jon Carry. We R stuck hear in Irak.” Hilarious! Some people were “outraged” by Kerry’s remark – that’s their problem, bunch of fuddy-duddies. Laughing about it is a much healthier response.
Have you ever been in an emergency room and heard the banter among doctors, nurses, and staff? As a hospital chaplain a few years ago, I heard E.R. humor that most sensible Midwestern churchgoers would likely have deemed a smidge … umm … inappropriate, if not downright offensive. But when confronted with the nasty stuff they saw, the E.R. staff had a choice, either make jokes or go insane. Thankfully, they choose to laugh, and subsequently were better able to handle the stress so they could do their jobs.
When one takes oneself too seriously, a whole bunch of bad stuff starts to happen. One’s face gets all frowny and wrinkled, one’s shoulders start to hunch over, the acid produced in one’s stomach starts to eat away one’s stomach lining, and one ends up locked in a padded cell somewhere. Either that or becomes vice president of the United States. It is hard to imagine just how many problems we could fix if we would just agree to lighten up a little bit. Chill out! Relax! Don’t worry, be happy! And all that kind of stuff.
One other thing: I hereby decree that just typing “LOL” on your computer screen doesn’t count unless you actually Laugh Out Loud. Don’t abuse it, people, or else it will be taken away, probably by someone like Lewis Diuguid, who in my humble opinion is not doing anyone a bit of good by telling us to be more serious. As Dr. Seuss says, “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”