Tag Archives: black comedy

A Conspiracy of Doody-Heads

Dumb Luck

I enjoy talking about, reading about, promoting, and debunking conspiracy theories of all sorts.  It reaches a point that any time the topic comes up… Elvis faking his own death, the Roswell crash, lizard-men from the center of the hollow Earth… you know, all that good stuff… my kids roll their eyes and attempt to change the subject before I can get on a roll.  Okay, I get that.  Other people like to see history as a static, unchangeable thing set in stone.  It makes them comfortable to believe the same things others believe about what is ultimately true.  It makes them uncomfortable to think about how what they know might not be grounded in fact, especially if it is not grounded in fact because someone they have always trusted intentionally misrepresented or altered the facts.

I have always laughed about Elvis being sighted eating chili in a Wendy’s somewhere in Michigan.  It is a joke that people are ever swayed by the spurious journalism of National Enquirer and such trashy fluff.  And yet, there are questions out there that haven’t been fully resolved.  People are right to wonder and demand investigation, even into silly things.  There are anomalies that real investigative journalists have uncovered surrounding Elvis’ apparent demise.  For instance, why does the autopsy DNA not match the tissue sample from the liver biopsy performed on Elvis in 1975?  Why does all the evidence put forward by researchers only indicate that his 1977 death was faked, and nothing debunkers uncover actually disproves that?  This controversy has entertainment value, and people will constantly make jokes about it and continue to clamor for more proof.  Myself, as a conspiracy aficionado,  I believe there is good reason to believe he did fake his death, and may still be alive.  However, I also think that if he was driven to such extremes that he had to fake his own death, we should give him the peace he seeks and leave him alone.  Jokes about Elvis’ love children with space aliens are much funnier when you don’t have to worry that Elvis will overhear and be offended.

Senator Tedhkruzh

Alien lizard men from the center of the Earth are another matter.  Have you never heard that the Queen of England, the Clintons, and other important world leaders are actually shape-shifting reptoid aliens intent on taking over planet Earth to feed on its human population?  If you haven’t, it is not because David Icke hasn’t been working hard to promote the idea and introduce it to you.  This former soccer player and broadcaster makes a mint on his conspiracy-theory lectures and programs.  He is very much the same kind of huckster and con man that once sold snake-oil cure-alls across this country.  I have found this particular conspiracy theory easy to debunk.  It does have entertainment value and makes for some very interesting humor.  But it also puts lot of money in the pockets of people who are intentionally misleading others into thinking this absurdist science fiction is somehow based on facts.  And it makes people distrust world leaders for all the wrong reasons.  We should vote Ted Cruz out of office for his despicable policies, not because he is a lizard man from the center of the Earth.

So, why do I associate myself at all with conspiracy theories?  Well, why do some comedians like Stephen Colbert whose politics are obviously liberal associate themselves with conservative politicians and focus so much on that side of the political debate?  It is a source of great humor, and it actually adds meaningfully to the over-all debate.  Conspiracies do exist.  We have been lied to about important things like the death of JFK, the events of 9-11, and possibly, the Roswell crash.  The truth matters to me.  It matters almost as much as the ability to make fun Elvis sightings and lizard people like Texas Senator Ted Cruz (pictured above in his natural form).

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Filed under conspiracy theory, humor, Paffooney, telling lies

Now, That’s Entertainment!

How do you spell comedy?  R-E-D-S-K-E-L-T-O-N!  For real, that’s how I spelled it during a third grade spelling bee in 1965.  Pretty dang dumb, wasn’t I?  But it got a laugh from the prettiest girl in class.  I truly couldn’t get enough of Red Skelton on Wednesday nights.  It was on past my bedtime, but Dad always let me watch, because… well, I think it was his favorite show too.  George Appleby always trying to get something past his wife who would always catch him and punish him soundly for something that truthfully wasn’t his fault.  That con man tricked him into drinking that stuff that made him act like an insane lady’s man.  San Fernando Red pulling a gag on the man with the silver six-gun and hoofing it out of town before the townsfolk caught on to him with the tar and feathers.  He never truly got what he had coming, or what he wanted, either.  Someone else got it instead.  Freddy the Freeloader making even poverty and homelessness funny.  He never passed up a cigar butt in the street and found a dime on every sidewalk.

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    picture from  boomermagonline.com

I always thought that if it was going to be funny, it had to be done Red’s way.  Let’s face it, there were two kinds of humor back then and only one my parents truly approved of.  They were Eisenhower Republicans living in Iowa, the heart of the Midwest.  Red’s gentle humor, with its hidden ribald parts, could profoundly make you laugh, and once in a while bring a tear into your eye.  It was never mean-spirited or cruel.  It never made a political or religious point.  It always assumed that all people were good deep down, and even the bad guys could be reformed with the right joke or prank to make them see the error of their ways.  That was comedy.

The other kind, the scary kind was Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.  They would say bad words, even though you couldn’t say Carlin’s famous seven words on TV back then.  They made jokes about dark and desperate things.  Democratic political conventions in Chicago, the Viet Nam War, racial tension, the Black Panthers, these were all fair game for satire and black humor.  Their jokes assumed that all people were basically bad and greedy and ignorant… full of malice towards all.  Not even the comedian himself was assumed to be the exception to the rule.

And seriously un-funny things were happening.  Kennedy was shot in 1963.  Another Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.  were both killed in 1968.  Patty Hearst was first kidnapped by and then somehow forced to be a part of the Symbionese  Liberation Army.  Chaos took the world we knew and turned it upside down.  You had to learn to laugh at dark things, because laughing was somehow better than crying and hurting inside.  The pictures of the My Lai Massacre in Life Magazine made me sick to my stomach for weeks.  I did everything I could in class to make that pretty girl laugh, and when I couldn’t… I had to shut up for a while.  I had to think.

I decided early on that I needed humor to live.  I had to have the funny parts in my life in order to ward off the darkness.  I whistled walking home from choir practice at the Methodist church on dark November nights.  I told jokes to the rustling leaves and invisible hoot owls.  I got by.

So, what is the lesson learned?  If you read this far without gagging, then you know I mix a little funny with a little sad… and try to make a serious point in my writing.  Maybe I’m a fool to do it, but I truly believe that Red had it right.  People are basically good.  You can reform a bad guy with a good joke.   You can get by in the dark times.

If dark times are truly here again, then maybe that is why I have to tell my stories, make a few jokes, and make people think.  I know I may be killing you with boredom by now, but that’s what I do.  I’m a professional English teacher.   I bore people to death.  And if you read this far, and you’re still alive, maybe I can make you a little bit smarter too.

 

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