Dangers Of Laughing Differently

My apologies for being so long off line. Five days is too long for addicts. Indulge me for the hiatus and let me catch up. Bravely I jump in to that most dangerous of subjects, humour.

Humour truly is a dangerous subject. Never mind eggs it is all too easy to end up with a custard pie in face.

Many years ago, as a student under the supervision of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, I had to attend a lecture given by a member of Presbytery. This minister, who later became a Moderator of the General Assembly, gave a lecture on “Humour in German Theology.” To my surprise it was rather long.

As usual, being a good Presbyterian, I sat in the back. Alone, as the lecture proceeded  I chortled away. Today I still maintain that, despite the ‘shussing’ and dirty looks I genuinely thought it funny.

I chortled away thinking this ex SRM in the Black Watch (now you know who the ex-Moderator was) was doing a take-off of German humour al-la Fawlty Towers. I didn’t notice that everyone else had a straight face, stiff spine and exuded moral rectitude like the force field on the Enterprise under Captain Kirk. This guy was deadly serious. In fact he was Deutschland serious.

There I sat entirely oblivious, loving every minute. Until afterwards.

“Quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum.” The point is that, as the English language, not as impenetrable as Latin but still has long said “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

Recently we have been getting our nether garments in a tangle because of the off the mike comment of some football commentators which were caught on mike.

Personally I think the commentators in question are clichéd, banal and boring. However, the ‘right on’ take this event with deadliness and there was a tsunami of outrage.

This exemplifies the basic truth that the more you take yourself seriously the less your sense of humour will flourish. Just look at Ben Elton and Billy Connelly. I actually admit to being old enough to remember those long distant days when Billy Connelly was funny.

But some are ­solemn, and as that ploughman genius said they tend to the “uco guid and righteous”.

Those with a sense of humour realise that life is earnest, life is real. And in the midst of it all God laughs. (Go on look it up, I’m not going to do your work for you.) God is not a legalist, He gives guidelines to behaviour for our own good, so we can live full lives before Him. He gives us a framework so that we can enjoy the life He has given us. After all that is why Jesus came John 10:10.

God’s reaction is so often unalloyed delight. For the progressive Guardinista Puritan however the reaction to anything untoward, however slight, is to frown and demand censure. All too often it is to demand some new law to improve behaviour. Who knows, someone who does not subscribe to their PC parameters might actually be enjoying themselves.

Under all this there is a serious point. Most of us believe that the purpose of law is to give us a framework within which we can live and enjoy our lives without harm to others. Unfortunately others have the godless conception that people not only can be made good by law but that they must be made good by law. There is an entire conceptual world of difference.

If you belong to a safe and encouraging socio-economic bloc there can be occasions when it is easy to be amusing, especially if it comes to traducing political opponents. Propaganda is most easily defended when it is cloaked with ‘humour’. If we are given carte blanche and the unhesitating support of the media establishment it is easy to be ‘cutting edge’ and find ourselves lauded.

But what if you see things differently? What if you are just a footballer from a deprived area of Scotland who, thanks to progressive educational policies has little actual education, never been to a good university, never signed on to the whole North London dinner party agenda? In effect, what about you and the rest of us?

The recent dumping of Grey and Keys, boring as they are, reveals underlying stresses within society. It’s not about football . It’s not about political correctness. It is about an effort to make the whole of society conform.

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About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
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