Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Green Knight: And Another Thing...

From the always-brilliant The Green Knight:

And Another Thing...

Pursuant to the post below, in which the American right goes bananas over Canada (again):

A few years ago, if you'd heard somebody say, 'And they're going to cancel Christmas!' you'd know they were making a joke. The canceling Christmas gag was just a silly way of calling somebody a sourpuss. The whole idea is so self-evidently ridiculous that everybody knew it was just hyperbole.

Similarly, the whole idea that Canada could be an enemy to America, let alone a threat, was so obviously ridiculous that Michael Moore made a (rather mediocre) satirical movie about it, Canadian Bacon. It was obviously the sort of scenario that simply could not ever happen, and was therefore a useful gag to illustrate a different point.

The American right these days, though, is asserting that these scenarios -- canceling Christmas, and Canada as enemy -- are true. And apparently some people are buying it. Why? And what for?

I'd guess that there is one basic reason: the right just wants people to be afraid. If you can convince them that all of these self-evidently impossible scenarios are actually true, then you are giving them a portrait of a world that no longer makes any sense. Everything is turned upside-down; everything's out of control. Nothing is more terrifying than that.

Furthermore, in order to really make them afraid, you have to take away their ability to laugh. A sense of humor is a sense of perspective, after all; so if you can take away the sense of humor, then you can take away people's ability to comfort themselves by realizing the difference between what can happen and what cannot. So, you've got to destroy the jokes, replacing them with the sort of dank, bitter fury that alleged 'humorists' on the right peddle.

The right's purchase on the American psyche will wither as people learn to laugh again. And here's my final thought on the matter: a sense of humor is not only a sense of perspective, but an affirmation of life and hope. The morbid love of despair sold by the American right is as far from a real "culture of life" as you can get.

No comments: