Humor is imperative for keeping up morale, especially during bad times. Not only does it put into perspective the ridiculousness of whatever it is you are going through, but it also mocks the very causes of your predicament. Tyranny, like hell, may not be easily conquered, but with the right attitude, it can also appear to be quite absurd.
Various techniques of culture jamming, such as subvertising, are inherently based on parody and satire. The idea is to reveal the underlying messages of the original advertisements through uniquely funny expressions, like puns or spoonerisms. Hopefully, the goal here is to change people’s minds about something by getting them to laugh at the caricatures presented before them.
Comedy does not require a specific target, because it is the intrinsic playfulness within it that appeals to our species. Take for instance some of the gags you can buy from Archie McPhee, like a FAIL button, some French Fry lip balm, a little gravy candy, the Great Scientists Finger Puppets, a fortune-telling geek ball, and (of course) the world famous Public Toilet Survival Kit. Any of these tools can be used to brighten a person’s otherwise bleary day, or successfully teach someone the intricacies of psychological warfare.
The Internet provides a virtual playground of websites to surf that will tickle your funny bone. Annoy.com’s free email postcard service, the Mad Martian’s Museum of Modern Madness, the Darwin Awards, and The Onion are all geared towards the absurd, surrealistic jokes about life itself (or at least, the one we are aware of, anyways). Some newcomers on the proverbial block include Something Awful and FunnyMos, but seriously, can these even really begin to compete with lolcats? Or how about your average, run-of-the-mill Internet meme?
Digital superhighways certainly do not possess a monopoly on satire, parody, or even ironic musings. Enter P.J. O’Rourke, political satirist extraordinaire! His books have lightened up my day many a time, especially after I have been drenched by the gross collective incompetencies of the political activist milieu. Some of his books have included:
Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-bending Celebrating America the Way It’s Supposed to Be – With an Oil Well in Every Backyard, a Cadillac Escalade in Every Carport, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Mowing Our Lawn
Needless to say, O’Rourke is just plain awesome, and I do consider myself a fan of his (for whatever that’s worth). Aside from his straight-ticket adherence for the GOP (which could arguably be greatly mitigated by my two favorite books of his, Don’t Vote and Parliament of Whores), O’Rourke is definitely the most prominent humorist for American political dissidents (or at least the closest any of us can realistically expect in this lifetime…maybe).
One idea I’ve been toying with is the absurdity of tyranny itself. Look at its adherents – Dianne Feinstein, Orrin Hatch, David Dewhurst, Rick Perry, Lee Leffingwell, Dov Zakheim, Art Acevedo, Ben Bernanke, Andy Stern, the Bilderburg Group, all of Barry Obama’s White House bureaucratic czars… all of these statists (and many more, unfortunately) are control freaks whose insatiable lust for power is only mitigated (somewhat) by their desire to be seen as kind and benevolent towards their victims. Do they really think they are masters of the universe because (at best) they might be able to, as Carl Sagan put it, “become the momentary masters of a fraction of a [pale blue] dot?” What, my fine-feathered friends, could be more absurd than that?
Taking a break from the drudging hardship of life is necessary for one’s sanity, and what better way to do that than by being absurd yourself? Stand-up comics do it all the time – just look at Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, or the late George Carlin. You could emulate The Crotch Shot Radio Show by performing your comedy gratis via a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel (like Louie Bee has done). An easier way than trying to “break into the business” by performing a set at the local amateur comedy club would be to become a Discordian, since both seem to accomplish the same goal (albeit with Discordianism you aren’t trying to eventually get paid, someday….possibly….never).
Look, just because the current situation we are all suffering under is getting noticeably worse, that doesn’t mean you should get all mopey with a chronic case of “give-up-itis.” Hell, no! If anything, this would be the time for creative dissent by doing such things like banner hangings, moss graffitti, and infiltrating self-important conferences. Or you could just stay at home and masturbate like a chimp (it has all the benefits of hooking up without the costs of disease-riddled, pregnancy-inducing sex partners! Don’t worry…it’s okay because it’s God’s Great Gift to Us since it’s philosophically defendable from a biblical worldview). And no, I will not apologize for my partially inebriated attempts at humor being drier than the intersection of Elena Kagan‘s legs.