Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blessed are the humble…

...for they can be funny.

Dr. Liccione recently posted about Comedy Central's new project to depict Jesus as getting lost (from the video-game-playing Father) in New York. He leads by citing a post by Jody Bottum at First Things:
There is much that could be said about all this, but here are two quick predictions:

1) It will be far more blasphemous about Christianity than the Danish cartoons were about Islam.

2) There won’t be any riots over it.
Liccione then comments:
…it's not just that Christianity is safer to mock, for reasons the mockers don't seem to appreciate. To the worldly mind, the claims of Christianity make it more mockable than its competitors. I am reminded of an Alanis Morissette song that came out some years ago: "What if God was One of Us?. Despite her Catholic upbringing, she had not got the message that he has long been one of us in the only way that matters. …

They say that the essence of humor is a sense of the discrepant. Comedy Central could live up to its title if they mocked the media elite, including themselves, for the very discrepancy they're all generating. But first they'd have to realize there is one. Apparently that requires a subtler sense of humor than they have.
I commented:
It's only borderline humor since trivializing the divine life is as old as sin. I know I sound curmudgeonly (I am the Codgitator) but these days so much outright blasphemy and simple folly is given an endless pass in the name of "humor." The paradox is that we are told not to mock any viewpoint and to accept all truth as "truth claims" but also we are trained to mock anything we want to with freedom as long as we disclaim, "But I'm only joking."

The world ages as it ages whereas the Church is ever made younger by the Ancient of Days and I can't help but detect a sprawling very nasty cynicism underneath most contemporary comedy. Why is Bill Maher even considered funny? Call it Carlinism. At some point people got bluffed into thinking that anyone grouchy and vulgar enough must be funny cuz it's, like, cutting edge and, you know, edgy.

The seed of humor is actually humility, for how silly it is for the lower to comment on the higher. Any joke is a case of the lowly (we ourselves) trying to bottle the higher for its own amusement. And that kind of humor I don't disdain at all. Call it Woodyism. As irreverent as Woody Allen was, he was always humble (at least in persona), which is what gave such a kick to his jester-like insights. But most comics these days are pompous and just faceful eddies in the viral pool of media generativity. Comedy Central is yukking it up since instinctively it feels it is part of something eternal–– broadcast media–– and therefore its wrist-flicking mockery of the Lord comes from arrogance, not humility.

No comments: