Monday, November 5, 2012

Comedy porn

David French offers us this little nugget from Bill Maher.

Uh, what?  Not that my opinion matters, but whenever anybody wants to complain about the lack of civility in our nation, Maher ought to be example number ONE.  To keep things balanced, I hold a similarly dim view of right-wingers who consistently hammer Obama's supposed Muslim roots.  Ditto for the viral pics of Michelle Bachmann eating a corndog or the photoshopped comparisons of Michelle Obama to Chewbacca.

This sort of snark comes from two places:  1) the very same technology by which I compose and you read this blog;  2) strands of 1980s-era college humor that combine savage satire with an utter lack of social conscience.  True confession:  I know more about the latter than I do the former.  Still working on this whole "blog" thing...

But ripping apart my enemies without any concern for their reputation, especially if it gives me a rhetorical advantage?  SURE.  Hey, Leo Durocher said he'd run over his mom at third if it meant winning the game.  THIS, though, is the acid corroding our ability to perceive each other's instrinsic dignity as humans...and of course act accordingly.

Maher, of course, doesn't give a damn about religion (see this dressing-down from the Weekly Standard). And it's obvious from the clip that he means to ridicule the supposed racism of Romney voters.  (let's leave aside for a second the presumption there:  vote for Romney = racism)  Still, the virtue of prudence suggests that joking about voting and race wars is simply wrong.  Not just a bad idea, it is harmful.  (See the Catechism #1807, 1810-1.)

Just as some have written about food porn or weather porn, maybe one of the unspoken hungers we Americans suffer from is comedy porn.  We already have the word schadenfreude to describe this:  getting our jollies watching others suffer.  Comedy porn might recall the Greek original word: pornography means something like "anger writing," so "comedy porn" would mean something like "funny anger."  Thus, it's OK to ridicule Republican voters or our first African-American First Lady because, well, they made us angry and our ridicule of them is, well, funny.

Nothing like a little seventh-grade logic to make your day, eh?

Originally when I drummed this whole "Spiritual Diabetes" vision I had planned to lampoon a variety of popular spirituality expressions I'd seen from the mid-1990s up through 2004 or so.  Then John Kerry lost the 2004 election and the next day the JESUSLAND cartoon began circulating.  That's when I realized that maybe I had missed an angle.  The Left thirsts for comedy porn just as much as the Right...and they're both wrong.

That's one of the reasons why, more and more, the Christian tradition's insistence on God's sovereignty and the Church's counter-cultural social justice tradition seem the only, well, prudent responses.

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