"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Even Salvation Has Its Wrinkles–Of Course Jesus Found Life Hilarious

There are two quick answers to the question, “Did Jesus have a sense of humor?” The first is, “Of course not”.  There was absolutely nothing funny about his mission – la via dolorosa, the Crucifixion, and the enormous responsibility of dying for the sins of all men.

The second answer is, “Of course he did”.  He might have been divine, but he was also human, and a sense of humor is one of humanity’s most characteristic traits.  At some point even the sourest, pinched, and humorless person has to laugh. At the many banquets described in the New Testament, could Jesus have always kept a straight face? Or not shared in a joke?

Was there no bantering and joking between him and his disciples like there almost always is when men get together?  Was everything in the three years recorded in the Gospels such a serious affair?  Surely, even a man on a mission as revolutionary as his could not have thought only of his Father, his being, and his divine purpose.  If God indeed created him as a man, then he must have given him room for comic pause.

Image result for images leonardo last supper

Surely as a boy Jesus must have found things funny.  His father was a carpenter who must have misplaced things, banged  his thumb, stumbled over the water bucket, and got kicked by the mule.  His mother, saintly though she might have been, must have had her share of comic mishaps.

Some Biblical critics have suggested that Jesus learned his communication skills from John the Baptist who was known for his empathy, oratory, and powerfully convincing arguments.   Others have noted that no man could have learned such an ability to speak in parables, empathize with the poor, be congenial at banquets and ceremonies, and especially get along so well with his disciples had he not been a normal, engaging, and social child.  Jesus must have learned how to get along, to influence, and to persuade from a very young age.  As any good communicator knows, a good, relaxed, empathetic speaker has a good sense of humor.  Jesus was so good at what he did, he must have bonded with his mates with some teasing, wit, sarcasm, and humor.

If  Jesus was human, of course he had a sense of humor.  All of us know that everything is funny.  Mel Brooks found the Nazis funny:

Germany was having trouble
What a sad, sad story
Needed a new leader to restore
Its former glory
Where oh where was he?
Where could that man be?
We looked around and then we found
The man for you and me and now it's
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Deutschland is happy and gay
We're marching to a faster pace
Look out, here comes the master race

And so did Charlie Chaplin

Especially in an era of political correctness, there is a lot to laugh about.  Comedian Bill Maher is not the first to expose the cancel culture, micro-aggression, and the absurd  sanctimony, pomposity, and humorlessness behind wokeness and political correctness.  

No matter how seriously one may take issues of race, gender, and ethnicity, there are too many stereotypes lurking in the closet, too many generations of Borscht Belt comics, and too many nihilists for the rest of us to ignore.

Rednecks, women, blacks, disabled, WASPs, crackers, the Russian Patriarch – everyone is funny.  The Pope is the leader of the world’s Catholics, empowered by God to speak ex cathedra, and a good, prayerful man.  Yet who but the most devout cannot find something very funny in his full-drag regalia?

Image result for images pope in full regalia

Or the Dalai Lama in photo ops with athletes and Hollywood stars?

Image result for images dalai lama with celebrities

Two men considered among the most holy and revered in the world either have a good sense of humor, or are so serious that they don’t realize how they look to others.

Robert Reich’s Locked in the Cabinet, Russell Baker’s Growing Up and especially The Good Times; and Roald Dahl’s Boy and Going Solo are some of the best memoirs written in recent years.  Reich tells the story of his White House years with a diffident humor that puts the arrogance, competitiveness, and pomposity of the Cabinet in hilarious perspective.   Baker does the same for his life in the press; and Dahl is at his funniest when he describes his RAF days and his horrific wounds after a near-death crash in the desert.

So what is it about today’s progressives?  For them nothing is funny and every joke is offensive.  There is nothing funny about universal racism, vile and insidious homophobia, and immoral, and criminal disregard for the poor and the marginalized, they say, nor could there ever be.  But of course there is.  A man pretending to be a woman has always been the stuff of burlesque, the shtick of vaudeville, and the comedic side of sexual identity.  A rough-cut still whiskered transgender man whose bouffant sleeves, décolleté, nail polish, high heels, and Paris hairdo cannot hide his tattooed biceps is hilarious, a street-level theatre of the absurd.

Biden picks transgender doctor Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary  - POLITICO

The answer to the question, “What is a woman?”, a simple enough proposition, but the bumbling, fumbling response of a gender activist who insists that culture, intent, and hope trump physiology and genetics is irrepressibly laughable. 

A black man, all bling, ghetto, pimp walk, ass crack pants, and Adidas accessories talking trash and spewing anti-white invective is so stereotypical, so predictable, so adjusted carefully within a prescribed media pattern, that he is hilarious.  Only the deadly serious find this a pure, legitimate, unique, and powerful racial expression.

The climate may or may not be changing, but the howling warnings of a fiery Armageddon, Doomsday, and The End of Time at the hands of an ignorant, foolish right wing mob are ‘The End Is Nigh’ cartoon-ready.

Humor is as human as intelligence, insight, and creativity; and wit, riposte, mimic, and sarcasm are in our nature.  Humor in fact is what most describes us – nowhere else in the animal kingdom does one find the ability to laugh and especially to laugh at oneself.  Not taking life seriously is as existential as it comes.  It is another version of fate, destiny, chance and the impossibility of predicting anything except the endless, repetitive mistakes we all make ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

Given that existential, primal nature of Man, how could Jesus not have had a funny bone?  He of all people who must have found it ironic at least that his Father created the world, tried twice to start over because of his mistakes, and was still at it by sending him to try to fix things once and for all.

The more progressive reformers rant on about race, gender, ethnicity, and climate change; and the more they do so in increasingly outrageous, impossible ways, the more the rest of the nation can only sit back and laugh.

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