Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
When I first read, “It’s not funny anymore. Far-right extremists’ use of humor,” by Maik Faelitz and Reem Ahmed, “External Experts” from RAN (Radicalisation Awareness Network), a European Commission affiliate, I kept waiting for the punch line, at least for some artful turn of phrase, play on words, clever tidbit of wit, anything to help me deny what turned out to be, sadly, the obvious: the Cancel Culture has wielded its exceedingly verbose, ideology-saturated rhetorical pitchforks and knives against grins and giggles now, too.
And the authors favor a decidedly one-sided war, as in, they blame, shame, and aim only at those they deem “right wing extremists” as having a sense of (politically-biased, dangerous even) humor, ignoring entirely any blame, shame, and aim directed at left-wing extremists.
Humorous aside: apparently, the irony of themselves hurling leftist radicals’ ideological darling Saul Alinsky’s famous quote regarding a form of weaponized humor called “ridicule” (see #5 of Alisky’s 12 Rules for Radicals, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”) at the right has completely escaped the authors–which is what happens, though, when all the high energy and fun of the early days of the revolution, i.e., all the unrestricted trashing, looting, and burning, has, first, distracted True Believers, then run its course.
And besides, by that time, all the stores have been emptied of expensive athletic footware and big screen T.V.s–items essential, apparently, to the Revolution-to-make-things-just-for-all (except, apparently again, for small, many minority-run, businesses downtown now destroyed. But, then and again, irony escapes…)
So with irony on the skids and minds in ideological shackles, it would be hard for some of the young Alinskyites to not only see such humor but also to comprehend it…
But poking a little fun myself at the decidedly anti-fun publication and radical leftists’ narrow point of view is not my main reason for this post.
My main reason it to remind the reader who might, in such a time as this, find himself or herself in the thick of such a hostile, humorless world, that a sense of humor isn’t just a weapon one political side weilds or projects onto the other side. Humor in its best forms is that which, in the face of challenge, even hopelessness, uplifts the soul, encourages the heart, and calms the spirit.
And intelligent humor has a way of exposing the truth in a popular, more palatable manner that those who want to hide truth, hate because it’s so effective.
Put another way:
Humor is something that thrives between man’s aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth. (Victor Borge)
IN PRAISE OF GRINS AND GIGGLES
The main reason for this post, then, is to highlight the many positive effects of humor, particularly in challenging times, whether they be political, social, psychological, emotional, physical, or all of the above–kind of like the world we live in today.
To do so, I invite the reader to read a very different summary of humor than the one the Outside Experts, above, propose, a summary that looks up and beyond weaponizing the genre in order to stifle humor to using it for an altogether different kind of weapon that wields truth in the face of real injustice, pain, or even, perhaps, the revolution.
As satirist (satire as another form of humor) George Orwell, author of 1984 put it,
In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Humor, in this case, greases the (intellectual) skids, inspires, and motivates.
Humor in Psychology: Coping and Laughing Your Woes Away
by Heather S. Lonczak, Ph.D., PositivePsychology.com 28-01-2021
The belief that laughter heals the mind has been around for centuries. And why not?
Humor just feels good; it distracts us from our problems and promotes a lighter perspective. For this reason, many famous quotes have been penned about the benefits of humor, such as:
The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
Twain had a point, as the research literature supports a relationship between humor and a wide range of positive psychosocial outcomes. This article will provide readers with an abundance of information regarding the theoretical foundations of humor within the field of psychology, as well as empirical studies linking humor to various favorable outcomes.
Meaningful quotes and additional resources are also included, along with a bit of humor sprinkled throughout. continue reading…
From another source, this One, the Gift Giver, Himself, never forget one more essential benefit:
A cheerful heart is good medicine… (Proverbs 17:22)
Take at will.