Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to tell jokes: Nonsensical Censorship

This shot is from 2009 when 
I was trying to get work 
as a lookalike for the late 
Philip Seymour Hoffman. 
Audrea Johnson Herrera 
took the shot.
Have you noticed that there are a lot of people who are offended these days? People get offended easily. You can hardly watch the news without seeing a story about someone who was offended or someone who wants someone else to shut up because they were offended. It’s a form of censorship that has gotten so bad that it borders on  having real thought and speech police.

Almost any joke has the potential to offend someone. Sometimes the jokes that people find the most offensive are the ones that make them think or question their own beliefs. Jesus told parables that were both educational and entertaining. People listened because Jesus was a great storyteller. When you think about it, he's probably the greatest storyteller there ever was. While people listened to him, their thoughts were being provoked.

The Pharisees didn’t much care for the stories Jesus was telling. They were smart enough to know when they were the butts of his jokes and they really wanted to shut him up. Remember when they tried to trick him with a question about taxes? He told them to render unto Caeser what was Caesers’s and unto God what was God’s. They marveled at that brilliant response. In this context, marvel equates to  scratching their heads. It wasn't the outcome they had anticipated. Trying to match wits with Jesus was no fun. The Pharisees gave up on that and made their exit, but it wasn’t because Jesus told them to shut up. It was because he saw through them and engaged them in a way that only he could.

Back to jokes and politics, wouldn’t it be nice if someone really funny was running for office? Not somebody who mocks and belittles others, but someone who tells kinder gentler jokes. Here’s what a speech by my dream candidate would be like.

“I envision an America with a thousand points of laughter, all over this great land of ours. This laugh is your laugh, this laugh is my laugh. Life, liberty, and laughter - these are the values that will bring our country back together. Ask not what your country can do to make you laugh. Ask what you can do to make a fellow American laugh. Give me laughter, or give me death!

Further reading.

#MakeAmericaLaughAgainRelated articles

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