By Eve W. Engle

The dogs rule in our house. They are fed first, allowed in our bed, have their own bed in the guest room and sneak up onto the sofas when we aren't looking. Maxie, short for Maximus, is a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenes mix, Sammy is a Black Lab/Border Collie mix. His full name is Samuel L. Jackson after one of my favorite actors. Both were abused and rescued from their former owners. They get cookies every morning.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Attack on "Humor", "Satire", and "Freedom of Speech"

From Google

the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.
comply with the wishes of (someone) in order to keep them content, however unreasonable such wishes might be.
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

free·dom of speech (free speech)
the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint.

  1. No one questions the lack of humor in terrorist theory. Every moral person knows that dictators, thugs, and terrorists are bullies, and that bullies can't abide someone else not taking them seriously, or promoting humor at their expense. But this idea of controlling the world media through threats, murder, and economic instability affects us all. The attack on the World Trade Centers was an obvious warning that dangerous minds can destabilize the world market through destruction, murder, and mayhem. The same message was sent with the recent hacking of Sony and the threat to theater owners. Show this poorly written satirical movie meant to promote a comedic actor (Seth Rogen) and a heart-throb (James Franco) and we promise some kind of retaliation (destruction? murder? mayhem?) which means all your other movies will suffer because Americans will be afraid to come to the theater, resulting in economic instability. But the message sent this week in France went a step further. 

    It wasn't a random target with random casualties. It was very specific. And the message was loud and clear. Take us seriously and don't ridicule or criticize our stupidity or vices through satire. Do not express any opinions that question our authority or our purpose. It isn't funny to us. We don't see the humor (noun). 

    Humor (verb) us and we will not kill you or destroy your means of economic support. 

    Personally I love humor, but I'm not so sure about satire. There have been enough bullies throughout my life that I tend to find satire suspect. But instead of trying to censure it I choose to ignore it. Growing up during the '60s and '70s I loved Mad Magazine. Maybe it was because the cartoons were funny and I loved silly looking illustrations. But I didn't care for All In the Family even though I understood it's purpose and the humor behind its satirical script.  Maybe it was because there were "real" people being bullied. Maybe it was because I felt the bigotry, the undercurrent of mistrust, dislike, and fear between the characters. 

    This week we have all been hurt and offended. That anyone would hide behind a religious doctrine that condones torture and murder in order to force that doctrine on others goes against everything democratic societies find morally precious. Standing together to define our outrage and to show solidarity is commendable but it cannot be temporary. This isn't a "problem" of another city, country, or culture, or even of this generation. This involves us all. This is forever.

    Freedom is more than being able to write and publish satirical cartoons or write and produce satirical movies. It's more than having the ability to buy a magazine or a movie ticket.

    Freedom is about living without fear. It's about the ability to live WITH HUMOR. 

    Je suis Charlie. Vive la liberté! Longue vie un sens de l'humour!


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