September 3, 2012


Beyond a joke: the truth about why we laugh : Plato and Aristotle saw it as a tool to topple the mighty. It often accompanies gruesome acts of cruelty. Most of us will use it more routinely - to win friendship and love. So what lies behind the apparent spontaneity of laughter? (Robert Provine, 9/02/12, The Observer)

[I]n our politically correct, feel-good, be-happy time we are shielded from - and underestimate - the dark side of laughter that was better known to the ancients. If you think laughter is benign, be aware that laughter is present during the worst atrocities, from murder, rape and pillage in antiquity to the present. Laughter has been present at the entertainments of public executions and torture. On street corners around the world, laughing at the wrong person or at the wrong time can get you killed. The publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad by a Danish newspaper triggered calls for the death of the cartoonists and a worldwide murderous rampage that left many dead and injured. Although radical Islam is most in the news, all monotheistic religions ruthlessly suppress humorous challenges to their spiritual franchise. The killers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, were laughing as they strolled through classrooms murdering their classmates. Laughter accompanies ethnic violence and insult, from Kosovo to Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Laughing with brings the pleasure of acceptance, in-group feeling, and bonding. But laughing at is jeering and ridicule, targeting outsiders who look or act differently, pounding down the nail that sticks up, shaping them up, or driving them away.

Pssst...those aren't opposites, they're the same thing.  And it is that political correctness that precludes the Left from humor.

Posted by at September 3, 2012 7:55 AM

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