Libertease - art by Brian Viveros
It's a given that if one is going to open one's mouth and let the words flow, whether questions or statements, one is going to get laughed at. Sometimes it's justified. We're a foolish lot at times and even when we're not ridicule is an expected response when we touch upon the deep seated myths so commonly held.
Maybe the first public laugh I got was when I was four and asked my Sunday school teacher "If God is the father, who is the mother?" This was relayed to me by the lady some forty-five years after the fact and she still got a good laugh out of it. She never gave me an answer though.
As kids we were all trying to be comedians and outdo each other with silliness and sarcasm but a funny thing happened on the way to maturity. The Vietnam war came along and it was no laughing matter. Our questions were rarely laughed at. They were often yelled at and raising the blood pressure of those around us became the new 'insider' humor. Yeah, we laughed at them for their beliefs but it wasn't as funny as we may have thought. It was actually sad.
Getting laughed at became the norm. The dangers of nuclear power, junk food and the creeping unnaturalness of society were met with snide laughs and often "Well, it hasn't killed me yet." Looking back we see that it did for quite a few.
The first Iraq war made made me more immune to the laughs. Calling it insane invoked more than a few chuckles and as the skin became thicker so did the outspokenness. By the time of the 2000 election I was telling everyone who would listen that if Bush was elected we would be in a major war in two years. That got more than a few laughs and "Nah, that's not going to happen." My timeline was off a little.
Perhaps the biggest laugh I ever got, or at least the most memorable, was on September 12, 2001 in an office full of people discussing the events of the day before. I stood up and said "This is the beginning of perpetual, never ending war." One lady nearly fell out in the floor laughing and said "That's crazy." Crazy yes, but it's still going on and until/unless this country's war machine mentality and dominance completely collapses the never ending part will continue.
Today when questioning our situation the laughs are not as frequent. More and more folks are coming around every day. They either basically agree with us and when they don't it's usually attacks and name calling instead of debate or it's the fatal expression of "There's nothing we can do."
I don't know what the future holds but I'm sticking with the old saying. "He who laughs last laughs longest."
We're all in this together for the long haul and our long laugh will most likely be tempered by the thoughts of "It should not have taken this much time ... and lives."
George Carlin - 'Napalm and Silly Putty' April 2001
"I Kinda Like It When A Lot Of People Die" was allegedly test material Carlin was trying out in June of 2001.
"Who Really Controls America"