Sunday, June 15, 2008

Observation: Woos and Humor

My brother and I were treating our parents for a Father's Day dinner this evening, and the topic drifted to a very poor parody written by an IDiot he read. That reminded me of something I've long thought about posting: As far as I've been able to determine, woos have no sense of humor.

When they attempt parody or satire, it tends to involve overt lying, usually in the form of straw men. Those forms of humor require at least a grain of truth. Exaggeration's fine, but I don't see any of them doing that.

One of the things that helps me deal with the absurdities of this world is humor. It's cliche, but if you don't laugh, you'll cry. Humor is a very strange thing to me, but I understand it on some levels. I've compared it to an incomplete knowledge of chemistry at one point: It's like knowing that two hydrogens and an oxygen make water without knowing why these two gases would come together as a liquid. (I know now.) Often, humor involves telling the audience about something horrible and expressing your outrage, and yet, do it in the right manner, picking the right moment to point out a contradiction, and you get laughter.

That just doesn't seem like something woos are capable of doing or appreciating. They seem to think simple insults pass as humor. Take the woo and skeptic approach to the standard 'basement dweller' insult and the premises I typically see between the lines.

First, the typical woo angle: "You obviously live in your mom's basement because you're angry and have been on the internet long enough to argue with me for X number of posts."

This only ends up funny in a reversed, unintentional manner because the woo in question has also been arguing in the manner described, and is apparently unaware of the hypocrisy.

Next the skeptic angle, and some of the specific angle I tend to use: "You obviously live in your mom's basement because you've based your entire worldview on one inherently flawed data point, speak out against the very idea of going out into the world and studying a subject, have no knowledge whatsoever about your opponents' views or arguments, and have psychologically barricaded yourself against anything new entering your world by setting up several knee-jerk defense mechanisms."

It doesn't tickle my funnybone at all when stated like that, but given the right timing and more succinct phrasing, there's potential, and it has a grain of truth (or more) to it, which is key in observational humor.

And yet, somehow, Hollywood thinks we're the humorless zombies.

1 comment:

Ed Zwart said...

Love the "one inherently flawed data point" line!

I think the odd parody, or caricature, of academy types might still be valid though...

..even if by accident. ;)