Friday, May 16, 2008

Seriousness


Thanks to adriansalamandre for the photo.



Seriousness -- that dour, I Do Not Find That Funny At All Sir air that overtakes everyone now and again -- is usually an indicator that it's time to get off the crazy train.

Now I know I make these largely baseless, ridiculous assertions (about protests, for example), but that's only because there is a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

Think of all the people you've talked to, who, in the middle of a charming conversation about the degrading power of the UN in inter-nation monetary disputes, erupt in a wild-eyed rant about the need for independent states to regulate their own water treatment? Or folks who have a list of foods they simply, absolutely, CANNOT eat. It might be red-meat, refined sugar, dairy products, dolphin whatever -- people get crazy about food. They'll get a closed look about them. Like it's their 10th birthday and you've just taken the last corner piece of their Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Mirth is gone. Any sort of mental pliability is out the window. Joviality taken behind the VW bus and given the what for.

They've become Serious. And not a good Serious, like, say, Charlie Rose or CSPAN. This is a Serious Because This Is Too Important To Ever Be Taken Lightly And Therefore That Much Easier For Me To Be Offended. That super touchy state equal parts high-mindedness and strident indignance. A state that, I'd argue, some people relish; actually, the sort of people who seem to get into that state quite often.

And we've all been That Person, who offends, who crosses some invisible yet PAINFULLY important line that must never ever be crossed, let alone discussed. There is just something that doesn't feel right about being in that position. One gets the impulse to just tell the offended party to lighten up just a scoch, breathe in, breathe out. But of course, it's far past responding with any levity.

Invariably, it's over things that demand unquestionable faith, like (oh, so many targets)... uh... let's say the raw food movement. I suppose it's the calcified pillars of dogma that have set in. Dogma doesn't play well with humour. Humour only plays well with (at its finest), truth; which is why satire works so well. Dogma tries to make a few bold sweeping assertions, then lead you down the garden path to an idling van with no windows.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you find yourself all Serious, without one iota of space available for a good guffaw or levity, then you might want to step away from the juicer, slide slowly from your Dianetics books, and maybe rethink what you're holding to so dear*.

*not to say there aren't things to be Serious about, but there are just a lot fewer of them than most people think.

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