Tuesday, September 3, 2019

On Fun In Discourse

     The piece below seems to have hit a nerve. Perhaps two nerves, as some of the respondents have been rather acerbic. “You shouldn’t be making fun about this,” they write. Cause People can be like that, as we know...but Americans in the Right, too? I didn’t expect that.

     Allow me a seeming tangent, as whether you want to or not I’m going to take it anyway. The world is filled with a number of things...yet there are “shortages.” Can you work out why a world packed full of so many good things should have “shortages?” It’s not because anything we genuinely value is all that scarce. The rarest of the elements are present in the Earth’s crust in such quantities that no one could possibly possess or consume the whole supply. So what’s going on?

     The sneer quotes around “shortages” should have given the game away...but there I go saying “should” again.

     It’s quite simple, really: There is no such thing as a “shortage,” separate from considerations of price. He who says “there’s a shortage of X” is really saying “I want more X but I’m unwilling to pay the going rate for it.”

     An old joke has much point here:

Butcher: Good morning, Madam. What can I get you today?
Customer: What are you asking for pork chops?
Butcher: Three dollars per pound.
Customer: What? Why, across the street they’re only two dollars a pound!
Butcher: Why don’t you buy them across the street, then?
Customer: They don’t have any pork chops.
Butcher: Well, when I didn’t have any pork chops, they were two dollars a pound here, too.

     As it is with pork chops, so it is with fun.

     I’ve become a fan of comedian James Veitch. Some of his bits on YouTube are enough to get me laughing uncontrollably. The one I have in mind just now is embedded below:

     It can seem as if there’s a shortage of fun just now. Not so! There’s fun to be had from most things, including quite a lot of things that irritate or frustrate us. You have to pay the price: i.e., you have to put in the effort required. There’s a lot of fun to be had in fencing with Cause People. There’s even fun to be had from dealing with our detractors and those who want to subjugate us. Do you think President Trump isn’t having fun when he tweets about his Fake News detractors? I’d bet my bottom dollar that he laughs out loud, thinking of the reddened faces and clenched fists at the Washington Post and CNN. The key is, in James Veitch’s words, to “find the game.”

     There’s just about always a game available, especially when you’re confronted by some humorless scold who wants your freedom, or your money, and / or your immortal soul. I’ve even had fun with door-to-door religious solicitors, a species of which Long Island has no “shortage” whatsoever. You wouldn’t believe some of the reactions I’ve received – and just in case you’re a newcomer to Liberty’s Torch, be advised that I take religion seriously...especially my own.

     This isn’t a blanket prescription. For some varieties of harassers, the business end of a 12-gauge is the only sensible reply. But when you’re in the mood to play, play! Find the game. There’s almost certainly a game to be found, and you won’t know how much fun you can have with it until you unearth it and set it in motion.

     Just a thought.


Paul Bonneau said...

Thanks Francis, Veitch is a hoot. I'll roll out my favorite Mencken quote:

"Here (in America)... the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly - the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and throat slittings, of theological buffoneeries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies, imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances - is so inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only a person born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to laugh himself to sleep every night and wake up with all the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-School superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows."
--HL Mencken

Ragin' Dave said...

Personally, I thought that post was funny. Don't let the haters get you down!