Exclusive to STR
June 20, 2007
'The word 'politics' is derived from the words 'poly' meaning many, and the word 'tics' meaning blood-sucking parasites.' ~ Larry Hardiman
I take liberty very seriously. I'm also passionate about it, and I think this can sometimes frighten other people. If we take ourselves too seriously too often, we risk alienating people with relatively open minds from understanding the true nature and desirability of freedom. (People with closed minds are nigh unreachable in any way, and usually I leave them to learn life's lessons on their own, the hard way, as this is what they seem to wish.)
I don't need to tell anyone that headline news can be very depressing these days. I find it necessary for my mental health to find something to laugh about everyday. Finding humor in life and the human condition makes life enjoyable, and enjoying life helps me find more humor. It's a wonderfully self-perpetuating practice and, as an outreach tool, to coin a phrase, you can't beat it with a stick.
'President Clinton steps off Air Force one with a piglet under his arm. A smiling Colonel greets the President.
Colonel: Nice pig you got there, Sir.
President: This here is an Arkansas Razorback that I got for Hillary.
Colonel: Nice trade, Sir!'*
Genuine laughter is healing to the body (I've heard that it 'massages' the liver) as well as the mind. Humor, when not cruel, is the embodiment of love and peace because it is a kind of song which creates a bond between two people. It can transcend any artificial boundary that we might think separates us from our brother. It can also be a gentle means of making a point that could otherwise be quite contentious. It's a disarming way of breaking down barriers.
'George W. and Dick were flying aboard Air Force One. George threw out a $100 bill and said, 'I just helped one lucky person!' Dick threw out two $100 bills, and said, 'I just helped two lucky people.' An attendant threw out George and Dick and said, 'There, I just helped the whole world!''*
In my experience, people do not, alas, cannot, transform their beliefs overnight. Humans have an internal operating system, a paradigm, as Glen Allport refers to it. It is a complicated, multi-faceted and multi-layered system amassed over decades. Any shift for the better in a human operating paradigm requires a sense of safety, affinity or brotherhood ' some form of nurture. I believe humor can provide a form of this almost effortlessly, and when we exercise our funny bone, we help ourselves too. When you can laugh, there just has to be something right with the world.
'John, the farmer, was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers (hens,) called 'pullets' and eight or ten roosters, whose job was to fertilize the eggs. The farmer kept records and any rooster that didn't perform went into the soup pot and was replaced.
This all took an awful lot of time, so John bought a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone, so that John could tell from a distance which rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.
The farmer's favorite rooster was old Butch, and a very fine specimen he was too. But on this particular morning, John noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all. The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover. But to Farmer John's amazement, Butch had learned to hold his bell in his beak so that it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and move on to the next one.
John was so proud of Butch that he entered him in the Boone County Fair. Butch became an overnight sensation among the judges.
The result: the judges not only awarded Butch the No Bell Piece Prize, but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well. Clearly Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention? (~Anonymous?)
Most people find political humor funny only if it exposes the hypocrisy of the perceived opposition. However, even a statist could appreciate this shot at politicians as a whole. As a defense mechanism, people may consciously hope that it only applies to the other party's politicians. But on a deeper level, I believe we are all aware of the great, wide 'whom' to which it surely applies. Even when I was a voter, I knew there were always shady deals going down, but so long as my demographic group seemed to be on the receiving end of the (actually empty) promises, it seemed foregone and excusable.
Don't blame me. I was raised to be a good voter. I was young and had grand illusions about some pimp daddy taking care of me. At that time it seemed to me that there was no alternative but to play ball. I know better now ' but this happened by degrees over time. If only someone had pointed it out to me sooner and given me a dose of dissonance. I can only assume I wasn't ready for the lesson.
"Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton visited Iraq to boost morale. Apparently it worked because former President Clinton has never been in a better mood." ~ Conan O'Brien
When we reach each other on the level of humor, it is not only disarming, but it snaps people out of the trance under which most people operate, even if only temporarily. If we can snap them out of the trance of statism and reliance on the use of force to achieve social goals for even a moment, this can only be good. It's like penetrating enemy lines without setting off alarms. Humor is an icebreaker, affinity maker and at the very least, it's a start at the positive environment necessary to bring about change.
Part of my purpose in writing, in general, is to create a safe space for readers to rediscover the love and tenderness in their own hearts and spread it around in their daily lives like a pebble tossed into a pond. (It's not love if I keep it to myself.) The other part is to create discomfort for the reader by exposing injustice, hopefully achieving the same ends by the simple exposure of the contrast between what political ho's say and what they do, between what works and what doesn't, between what I'd want done to me and what I wouldn't.
'Happy Indigenous Peoples-Columbus Day!
In 1990, the Berkeley City Council passed a law changing the name of Columbus Day to Native American Day because Columbus wasn't nice to the Indians. Of course, no Indians were asked if they wanted the holiday's name changed or if they wanted to be called Native Americans.
In 1991, the Berkeley City Council changed the name again, to Indigenous People Day. A group of P.C.ers argued that Indians are not native to America but to Asia , so calling them Native Americans might be insulting to Asians. Of course, neither the Indian or Asian communities were consulted about this.
In 1992, the Italian American Anti-Defamation League gave the City of Berkeley their Insensitivity Award. The Italian-American group said that they agreed that Indians haven't been treated well, but that the Italians weren't the ones who did it, so why take away their holiday? Nobody asked Italian-Americans how they felt about renaming Columbus Day.
In 1994, the Berkeley City Council changed the holiday back to Columbus Day.
In 1995, representatives of the Winnamucca Indians protested City Council meetings. They argued that Indians had never asked that Columbus day be renamed to honor Indians, since it had, the City Council couldn't take it back, less they become "indigenous peoples givers."
In 1996, the City Council changed the name to Indigenous Peoples - Columbus Day, but of course, that could change after the election in November.
One candidate for mayor wants to rename the holiday Animal Rights Day.'*
This story seems to expose the adage that you can't please all of the people all of the time. Actually, government's slip is hanging out, and it's not pretty. Humor such as this bears witness to the uselessness of government action, which, in this case, is decidedly better than the death toll it achieves in other cases! However, on some level the reader must become aware of the utter waste of not just such pandering, but taxpayer money which pays for the entire, whoring, distracting, useless, devastating mess. To question is the beginning of wisdom.
Humor is practically a 'free lunch.' It's the only one that truly is free ' nothing coming out of Washington D.C. is, no matter how much rhetoric accompanies it. Anarchists would serve themselves and the world well to take more advantage of humor in our interactions with everyday 'muggle' types, J.K. Rowling's term for non-magical folk.
'The politician shouted: 'My opponent has been stealing you blind while in office! All I ask for is a chance.'' ~ Milton Berle
*Mefco's Random Joke Server