Friday 25 July 2014

Sometimes it's Hard to Write Anything Funny

Sometimes it's hard to write anything funny.

There are days when the world seems so dark, you can't find much of a funny side - or at least not without either living in a fluffy, kitten-filled bubble. I mean, sure, I'm English. We have a tradition of laughing in misfortune. But that's generally our own, not other people's. We like underdogs.

And the world's woes are so complex. In Mosul, it's probably clearest who are the rotten gets and who the innocents are. The rotten gets are the ones threatening to kill other people if they don't change religion. And I don't blame Islam - Christians, atheists and even Buddhists have historically been just as good at killing people they disagreed with. I blame the rotten gets. There are some, I know, in this country - teenage fantasists for the most part - who think the rotten gets are in the right. But you've gotta be proper delusional not to recognise a get that rotten when you see one.

Then Israel and the Palestinian territories, where they seem to have been carrying on the same war since Samson first picked up the jawbone of an ass. Easy enough to spot the innocents, cowering in their narrow strip of land, being told to evacuate when there's nowhere to go. Or waiting in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, wondering when a rocket's gonna land. But I reckon the rotten gets are a bit harder to find. Is it those that send rockets into Israel? Or the ones who shell back, with more effect? Who claim that they're accurate, and then hit schools? But who look beyond their own borders and see other enemies waiting for the big day - much bigger than the people on the Gaza Strip - and shudder?

And then for a hat-trick of disasters, Ukraine. I suspect there's a lot of rotten gets in there. But then there's also a lot who just don't wanna be ruled by what they see as a foreign power. Personally I blame the ultimate rotten gets - Lenin and Stalin - for that one.

And then I remember that there's a weird logic to this world, where yesterday's victim becomes tomorrow's rotten get. And even rotten gets justify their rotten-getness by appealing to their own victimhood.
And then I look at the world I live in - well-fed, well-watered, with no real problems - not round here, at least - for 70 years. And I want to go and hug Charlii and Keith and little Celestine and say, "We're so fragile. Our peace is so precarious. Our easy lives balance on such a knife-edge. We could be Shi'ites or Christians in Mosul, or Muslims on the West Bank or parts of Burma, or Jews in Paris. We could have lived in a border-land in Nigeria, or Tottenham."

But then we're cheaply fed and clothed through others' cheap labour. In a society where having some unemployed keeps others' cost of living down. Maybe we're the rotten gets?
And then I rant about the prissyness of our own, well-cushioned consciences. I mean, complaints that Christian bakers have to make a cake for gay people? Rants about "worshipping" gay people and other liberals?  For 2,000 years Christians have executed them, marginalised them, hounded them - surely it's not much to ask, to bake a cake? Hardly evens up the balance, does it?

Sometimes it is not easy to write something funny. This world is broken and complicated. The simplicity of our judgements break down when they're confronted with ground-level facts. Everything I say above is my own opinion, which is filtered through my own presuppositions and the way the media chooses to point its lens. It's pretty obvious to me that this world has too much hate, too much killing, too much suffering. But then you don't have to be John Lennon to notice that. It's changing hearts - starting with one's own - that's the hard bit.

But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you keep on forgetting us? Why do you forsake us so long?
Bring us back to yourself, O LORD, so that we may return to you; renew our life as in days before,
unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
(Lam 5:19-22)


  1. Surely the "cake" problem was that they were asked to bake a cake carrying political slogans that went against their Christian conscience?

    1. I'll be honest I wasn't really thinking about them. You are right, this is more complicated than some of the American noise I was thinking about. I may do more referencing this evening, once we've finished attending the Summer Fête of the Guinea Pig Worshippers.

      They're keeping us away from the bbq again.

  2. Perhaps the Archdruid is suggesting that its a bit too easy to indulge our Christian consciences in our comfortable world. I would also suggest that, seeing where these particular consciences reside, they may well come with large amounts of baggage with which we may not wish to be associated.

  3. Sometimes we shouldn't even try to write something funny. Humour is vital, but we can't hide from the world behind it.


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