Religion in Humor

I’m a comedian. (And an actor, and a writer, and an artist as well, but that’’s another story.) As a comedian I really feel that most things are fair game. I can have a joke that includes nearly any subject. HOWEVER there are a couple of rules. First you cannot make fun of the victim. Humour must attack power. To attack the weak, the victim, the downtrodden, is in bad taste and simply put not funny. Conversely, having religion in a joke is fine as long as you don’t MOCK the religion. For example:

A Muslim, a Mormon, and a Methodist walk into a bar.
And nobody knows why.

You see there’s an example where religion is the backdrop, but the target is the classic joke form. The other aspect of religious, or for that matter any humour is that the rules are more lax if you are a member of that group. Years ago I memorizes some great routines by Jackie Mason. But I cannot use most of that material because I am not Jewish. On the other hand:

Heaven hired an efficiency expert who told St. Peter that he could tell where someone should be by the first thing they said upon arrival. Doubtful, St. Peter decided to give it a try. The next person to arrive was an Evangelical Christian.

“Welcome to Heaven,” said St Peter.
“Heaven? Well, praise the Lord.”
“Okay,” said St. Peter, “But that was an easy one.
Just then an Atheist arrived.
“Welcome to Heaven,” said St. Peter.
The Atheist looked around “Heaven is REAL? Well I’ll be damned.”

Which is fine because I AM an Atheist, even though the target of the joke isn’t Atheists as much as common vernacular. Sometimes you need to make it fairly clear what the target of the joke is, to whit:

I have a number of Muslim friends and they’re really cool people. Mind you, that doesn’t mean I want to fly someplace with my friend Jihad. But that has more to do with the TSA.

In that case it’s not only not making fun of Islam and Muslims, it shines a light on some of the unfair treatment they have received. There is a difference between having religion as a part of, as the setting for, as a critical element of, a joke, and making FUN of a particular religion. In this day and age it’s just not gonna fly to make fun of particular religion, or ethnic or sexual group. Or for that matter handicapped people. Charlie Callas had a routine back in the ’60s about a person with spasticity and someone with a stutter going hunting together. Very funny, but you just can’t do that kind of material any more. Times, and what is considered acceptable, change.

I’m not Catholic but I was at a Catholic funeral a while back. At a point in the service everyone had to go up for Communion. The Priest said if you weren’t receiving just put your hand on your heart and he would know to just give a blessing, which was cool. However, being the kind of guy I am, when it was my turn I put my hand on my chest…and said “Qapla”. The best part was the Priest knew what I meant. 

What’s important is to be very aware of what the TARGET of the joke is. You can include religion, or other taboo subjects, as long as they aren’t the target of the joke. You can have fun WITH religion, just not make fun OF religion. Some of the funniest people I’ve ever known were ministers or priests. 

It’s Not The Hate


My dad always told me that companies advertise their weakest point. If they talk about their cars acceleration, you can be sure it’s slowest off the line. If they say their bread is full of vitamins, you can be sure others are better

With Trump’s election, the racist right wing in America has been emboldened. There boy is in the White House, time to try to reclaim the privilege they feel they’re owed. The thing is, there is a problem with these white supremacists. In fact the whole White Power movement has a fundamental flaw at its heart. 

They’re just not very bright. 

Look at the symbols they rally around. Some of them are neo-Nazi’s. They espouse racist pseudo science, and clutch copies of Mein Kampf. They stomp around in Hitler brownshirt uniforms looking like they took last place at a cosplay contest. But the costume is not the heart of the problem. The real issue is more fundamental. They are holding Nazi’s up as symbols of White Power. News flash: Nazi Germany LOST the war. You are covering yourself with the image of the losers. Nowadays Nazis are a punch line, a joke. Nobody takes them seriously any more than they take self proclaimed Communists seriously. Oh and who did the racists of Nazi Germany lose to? A combined multi ethnic, multi national, MULTI RACIAL force. Not only did they lose, their racial theories were proven wrong by the rest of the world.

And then there’s the flag they scream and yell to protect. The Stars and Bars. The Confederate flag. The very same flag that Robert E. Lee … took down when he surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. It is the flag of the side that lost the Civil War. Why wrap yourself in the banner of the losers. Why march and protest to defend statues of people who were not only on the wrong side, but the losing side of a war they were stupid enough to start.

And then there’s the Klan. The KKK is at most of these rallies. People in white robes and hoods. Dudes, fifty years ago that would have been terrifying. A Klan rally was a symbol of power, a symbol of hate, a symbol of violence. The Klan controlled some areas of the South. And admittedly they can still terrorize the odd small town family. But in reality, now they are a joke. Literally, LITERALLY, a punchline from a long line of bad movies and comedy sketches. They’re just a bunch of posers that stomp around and try to act like they have power. But guess what? If you look up “wannabe” in the dictionary you will find a picture of a klansman. They have no real power any more. They lost. They are by definition losers. Once again, why wrap yourself in the image of the losers?

Now, some in the white pride movement are talking about setting up a White Homeland. A place for white culture to be protected, to thrive. Huh. I guess that would be something like the Indian Reservations. And you know how well they worked to preserve their culture. How well the tribes have thrived in their ethnic enclaves. And even more isn’t that an admission that their vision of white culture is incapable of standing on its own? Aren’t they saying that white European Christian culture is so inferior that it needs protecting from all these other cultures in the world? 

LOSERS.

So there they are, the White Power Movement. Proclaiming pride in the white race, by wrapping themselves in the trappings of every loser movement, and failed revolution of the last couple of centuries. Standing up for how “superior” the white race is, while demanding protection from other cultures. They’re too stupid to grasp how weak and pathetic that makes them look. It makes you wonder. Oh but it gets back to what my dad said about advertising. They advertised themselves as a white power movement when they really have no power, and are hardly a movement, and I suspect that a genetic test would show that none of them are really “white” either.

The thing I wonder about though, why don’t they promote white power by promoting real heroes who were white. Great scientists like Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, or legendary musicians like Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein, or doctors like Sigmund Freud and Jonas Salk. These are the real white heroes. Oh thats right, those guys were all Jewish. These White Power mental midgets are proud of white people unless they are Jewish. News Flash: you are already a minority in this world. Not a good idea to whittle down your numbers even farther for ridiculous arbitrary reasons.

For many years in the early part of American history there was something called The Paper Bag Test. The idea was simple. If someone’s skin was lighter than a brown paper bag, they were “white” and got rights and privileges. If they were darker, they were “black” and were discriminated against. It was a simple test, used by very simple minded people.

The irony, is that the people in todays white supremacist movement fail the paper bag test. Oh they all look like white nordic types. They fail the 21st century paper bag test. 

They are all dumber than a paper sack. 

There’s an old line that I keep thinking of. You know how in summer people will say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity?” Well, when you’re dealing with today’s white supremacists, it’s not the hate, it’s the stupidity. Thats what I find the most annoying. 

And I can say that because I am white. And as a white person, I want to tell you White Power morons something. Every time I see one of you guys, and have you noticed it’s almost always guys, I guess for the most part women are smart enough to not fall for this garbage. Anyway when I see one of you show up at a rally, or an event of some kind, frankly you are embarrassing. You show up like somebodies idiot brother, and every other white person in the world does a facepalm. We’re all thinking, I don’t know him, no not any connection to me, no not my family. 

Hey Racist White Power Morons. You’re embarrassing the rest of us. Just stop it.

Politics

I Hate Politics

There, I said it. I despise politics and the sleazy people that make it their life’s work. But no, I don’t think getting businessmen or other civilians involved will improve things. It will only corrupt good people. It is the form that is fatally, terminally, irreparably flawed.

You see, I consider Governance to be humanities greatest invention. Governance is where individuals gather together, work together, join together, to deal with problems that face all. Governance is people building the dam to stop the floods. Governance is the police and courts that deal with people who want to harm others. Governance is the rule of law, not the guy with the biggest gun. Governance is how things get done in a society. You can thank Governance for schools and roads. For food that isn’t poisonous, for clean water and air, for every house having electricity, and for the house being built to standards so it doesn’t fall down. That is Governance. 

Now I hear you saying that this was all done by politicians making political decisions. No, it was done because those in charge did what the people wanted or needed. Politics is the exact opposite of Governance.

Politics is the parry and thrust of people who want power, prestige, and profit for themselves, regardless of what it does to the wider society. You see it all the time. Something happens, immediately those in opposition act like it was a massive breakdown in management, that those in charge must resign, that it is incompetence at the highest level. Conversely those in power defend themselves, regardless of whether they made a mistake or not. Both sides use distortion, fabrications, exaggerations, and lies to defend their position.

Most tellingly in all of this, nobody talks about the problem, how to solve it, what needs to be done for the good of the people. What needs to be done for the good of the city, state, province, or country. Each individual playing the political game is fighting for their own personal power and wealth, to the detriment of everyone else. 

I’ve seen this over and over, those in power want to do something. The ones in opposition fight like hell to stop it. The ones in power see a problem that needs to be solved. The ones in opposition deny that the problem even exists, no matter how desperately, and obviously, the problem needs to be addressed. No matter how much suffering the delay causes among the citizenry. A good honest person in charge makes a mistake, an honest mistake of no consequence. The opposition acts like it’s the worst most immoral and incompetent thing ever committed by humanity and try like hell to drive the good, honest man out of office. Those in power rally around the person, even if it wasn’t an honest mistake. Nobody is interested in a little thing called The Facts. The one constant has been that politics has been the enemy of solving problems, of good governance, of The Facts, of the people.

There is another consequence of politics ruling public lives. When those in opposition DO finally gain control of the government, they arrive with a cynicism drawn from the struggle to climb to the top. Once on top, the new leaders know that they are just one peccadillo away from getting thrown out. One verbal gaff from losing it all. One natural disaster from getting blamed for all of the suffering of mankind and being frog marched out in disgrace. As a result there is a drive, I’d say a subliminal imperative, to profit while they can. Deals are made, pockets are lined, palms are greased. Why not? If they are going to get tossed, they might as well get thrown out for something big and profitable. This is corruption, corruption that is a direct and traceable consequence of politics. 

And don’t think the press is going to try to find the truth. They are so wrapped up in the horse race that they long ago stopped trying to find out who is right and who is wrong. The Press would rather get the two sides in a room and let them argue, so they can score it like a boxing match. Coverage is all about who is ahead in the polls. What this will do to this or that politicians standing. Who is on the way up, and who is on the way down. Can someone recover from this blow. The ethos of sports reporting has saturated much of The Press, driving good journalism out. Determining the truth behind the slander and innuendo isn’t even a question any more. The press is now little more than enablers, for a very sick system that helps no one. 

So yes I hate politics and politicians. Every once in a while I run across a bright, eager kid fresh out of high school. They want to change the world for the better. They want to improve humanity’s lot. They want to make a difference. When I hear that I am filled with hope. Then they say they are going to University to major in Political Science, and I die a little inside. They might as well say they are going to become a prostitute. At least then they would be honestly trying to screw everyone for money. Politics is essentially the same, but with a nauseating hypocritical facade of honestly. 

Politics and politicians are the direct opposite of good governance, of civilization, of humanity. Politics will be the downfall of humanity. When that happens there will be a tombstone a mile wide and three tall proclaiming “Here lies the remains of Human Civilization. Brought down by its inability to govern itself. Doomed by politics and politicians to ignominy.” 

That is unless the politicians get involved, then they will argue and pose for the cameras, but nothing will be accomplished.

Petals

Petals petals in the air.
Petals drifting everywhere.
Petals flying all around.
Old graves are covered in petals crown.

Words words are in the air. 
Words are flying everywhere. 
Words of hatred, words of scorn. 
Words of poison from dusk till morn.

Drums drums are in the air. 
Drums are sounding everywhere. 
Drums of war they do abound. 
Drums that bury dissent with sound.

Guns guns are in the air. 
Guns are pointing everywhere. 
Guns they glisten in the dawn. 
Guns on all sides they are drawn.

Lead lead is in the air. 
Lead is flying everywhere. 
Lead is tearing bodies apart.
Lead is shattering both heads and hearts.

Blood blood is in the air. 
Blood is pooling everywhere. 
Blood from all stains the ground bright red.
Blood of loved ones who are all dead.

Tears tears are in the air.
Tears are flowing everywhere.
Tears of anger, tears of remorse.
Tears of sorrow, tears of loss.

Petals petals in the air. 
Petals drifting everywhere. 
Petals falling to the ground. 
New graves are covered with petals crown.