Friday, August 21, 2009
"That's not funny"
A remarkably vulgar animated sitcom, "Family Guy," did an episode about abortion that didn't get aired, but which is legendary in some circles. The Washington Post talked about this episode in an article. The article garned several letters griping about WaPo publishing the article that discussed the episode. Here's the comment I posted about the letters:
People without a sense of humor alway hotly deny it. They'll say "Why, I read 'Family Circus' daily" along with edgier stuff like 'Peanuts.'"
But in most regards they're deeply humor-impaired, and because, like those with Asperger's Syndrome, they don't understand its wellsprings or its social functions, they almost always criticize humor they don't like...while almost always thinking the humor's target is what they're obsessed with, while the target is actually...them.
They aim for a world in which no one ever says anything anyone might take offense at under any circumstances.
For these letter writers, it's abortion. For millions of Muslims, it's Mohammed. For gun nuts, it's their Glocks and AK-47 assault rifles. For peaceniks, it's war.
So for that last group, for example, the bumper sticker "Visualize whirled peas" is offensive because they think it trivializes war, when it fact it mocks their target fixation and general looniness.
For most people, living in such a neutered world, overflowing with teary sentimentality, would be like having died and gone to Hell.
So of course the target of abortion jokes isn't abortion itself--it's the abortion nuts who endorse the murder of obstetricians who include abortion among the services they offer pregnant women.
It's the abortion nuts who believe the Bible and/or Jesus said anything against abortion (they didn't), or that a ball of two dozen cells is a human being with a soul (ignoring the fact that identical twins and chimeras aren't formed at the moment of conception, thus making the moment of conception not the moment of soul-implantation--and as far as the Bible is concerned, it could be as late as the last trimester or even the moment of birth of a viable fetus.)
It's the abortion nuts who ignore the fact that innumerable fertilized ova are not nascent human being because of genetic defects such as anencepaly, that mean nothing with the substance of a human being is possible from that ovum--ever.
It's the abortion nuts who ignore the fact that forcing a 12 year old girl raped by her own father to carry the resulting fetus to term is regarded by a majority of Americans as pure evil, despite it being routine in nations controlled by the Catholic Church.
It's the abortion nuts who ignore the fact that their obsession with fetuses' imagined rights comes at the expense of actually born children.
But most of all, it's the abortion nuts who ignore the fact that the world's population exploded from 1 billion people in 1900 to nearly 7 billion people today--vastly more people than the world can sustain without destroying the ecologies we depend on for sustenance, such that if we took our responsibilities seriously we'd support free abortions, contraception and sterilization for everyone everywhere, and impose a 2 child limit here and if possible everywhere else, until the world's population went back to a billion.
So in response to the immoral consequences of anti-abortion nuts' efforts, despite their obviously thinking that they're way more moral than the rest of us--we make jokes.
Humor lets humans bear the unbearable, so we aren't paralyzed with grief but can actually do something about the situations that confront us.