Friday, October 14, 2016

Do Not Write an Amusing Caption For This

I saw the picture, and at first captions popped into my mind, because that's what my mind reflexively does.

I blame Mad magazine, and MST3K, and, well, my fundamental nature as a mischievous little monkey.  I can't see most things without thinking something faintly inappropriate.  I am a silly person.

"Wouldn't that be funny," murmured my snarkiness subroutines.  "Shareitshareitshareit," hummed the neurons that have been coopted by Mark Zuckerberg.

But then...I couldn't.

The impetus withered and died, because I haven't been feeling quite that way lately.  So much of our political life is defined by comedy these last few years, as people behind desks or prowling a soundstage say amusing things about the people vying for the Presidency.  Audiences laugh, and it's all in such fun.

And perhaps, perhaps that's comedy as prophetic discourse, comedy at the the thing that skewers our cultural delusions.   Comedy can be that.  So often, that's a healthy thing.

Perhaps that's comedy as release, as the tension of living in a culture that offers us no sense of shared purpose pours its hive mind dissonance into us.  We need to mock, or we would go mad.

There are things that humor helps us approach.  Politics is almost always one of them.

But not for me, not now.  The political jesters and wags and wits who seek to amuse us with their wry or bawdy commentary do not speak to where I am.  I have stopped watching them.

I don't blame them for it.  It's not their fault.  Perhaps for some, that is still helpful.  Maybe it makes this whole mess bearable.  I do not judge those who still find they want to laugh.

For me, the time feels wrong.

Like cracking wise at the graveside, when a family has lost a seven year old child to leukemia.

Like making jokes while you explain to a trembling young woman how and why you're going to use that rape kit.

I don't feel like laughing.  Not right now, at this strange, surreal, dangerous time in the life of our nation.