None of you knows me. Not really.
You've not seen me laugh my way through a 2 hour bible study - whether I'm teaching, the pastor's teaching, or no one's teaching. You don't know my reputation as a class clown. I didn't either until a couple nights ago, when the group had a good laugh at me and my bible study stand up routine. So it will seem normal to you that I'm against most laughter, while it might seem odd if you knew me.
The only humor I can ever remember blogging is my Green Pants story, and I'm not sure that caused anyone any side-pain. I tried humor in email years ago, and it never, ever worked predictably. My humor is dry enough without taking away all non-verbal clues. So, to the best of my ability, I'm just not funny out here at all. (Tari knows of once when I flat-out mocked a troll, but I don't know of any other time I risked hurting someone's feelings for a joke.)
I'm hyper-sensitive on the subject anyway. I doubt it will surprise anyone that I was the least popular kid in my class from 2nd to 12th grade. I pretty much deserved it. I was a thin-skinned, self-righteous prick, and I doubt I would have liked myself, but everyone else was quite sure. So, laughter was always what other people had at my expense.
So, when Lingamish posted, Whoa to You Who Laugh, he had my attention. I linked over from Better Bibles Blog, and was pretty much taken in. He is spoofing things I hold dear. Never a lot of fun. I didn't figure out he was poking fun until the last few lines of the post, which is of course how a good spoof should be. Fortunately, he told us to read the obits instead of the comics, and even I could tell he was parodying people like me. Upon finally "getting it" and seeing him confirm his humorous intent in his comments, it left me with that familar old "outside looking in" feeling that the years and my friends have taught me to hate.
Lingamish is a great guy, and his post is excellent and in great taste. I have no complaints for him, the way he's written, the method he employed, or even the indignity of having been "gotten" by his clever work. I didn't enjoy thinking I'd found someone who half agreed with me, only to discover I was pranked, but the victim isn't really supposed to enjoy the prank. They just laugh to show they're good sports. I guess I'm not one.
You can read my comment at his site, and tell me whether you think there's any truth in what I said.
Here's my opinion. I don't think it's funny unless everyone can laugh from the heart. There are mountains of wordplays and insights and victories in which everyone can rejoice and laugh. But those don't get the glory here in America. In America, someone has to be pranked. And all those allegedly funny movies are based upon someone being the fool. If there's a fool, it isn't funny. If there's a fool, you are laughing because you're glad it's happening to him and not you. Of course, it's pretty easy to hold that line when I've spent a lifetime as the fool.
In my family, I'm held in pretty low esteem because I don't think "Something About Mary" was funny. There are parts of the show where I laugh, but it's laughing against my heart not with it. All the laughter of that movie is of the type described by Heinlein in this not-famous-enough quote, "I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts... because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting."
So, if you feel like a challenge today, take a little read of Lingamish's post and see whether you think it should be taken more seriously than he meant it. (And it's OK if you think it's just funny. :-)