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On Humor. Online. | Catholic Life

On Humor. Online.

First of all, humorless fellows, begone! This post is intended to be like the best posts online: written for an appropriately cheering choir. And if you dare to mock me at all I will be unalterably offended. Even though I’m purposely using words like “unalterably” in order to tease you into mocking me. I probably should have used “inexplicably” instead.

Alright, now that they’re gone, I want to have a very clear, straightforward discussion with the two of you that are left. And by straightforward I mean that there will be absolutely no pictures included since images are confusing. Here are the basic facts to keep in mind about humor. Especially online.

Humor should never be used online. The only exception to this is when you’re emailing a friend who knows you well and you have room for 10-paragraph disclaimers explaining your joke before, during, and after the joke. As my professor of amusement in seminary told me: tell them what’s going to be funny, tell them the funny thing, and then tell them what you just told them was funny. Of course that could just been a speech book that I read once, but the point still holds. There is only one  acceptable way to use humor, and that is the way in which it is so carefully explained that no one will find it enjoyable in the way that evil humor is.

Remember that there is a reason that both the “choleric” and “melancholic” are referred to as “humors.” Humor isn’t funny. Making people approach things in anything other than a directly didactic manor is not a laughing matter. We should all take our work online SERIOUSLY the way that God and Saint Josemaría intend us to.  Everything that you say online must be carefully calculated to have the most serious, salubrious effect. It does not matter if the result is both soporific and sanctimonious as long as it is salvific. Now chant that five times fast and I’ll guarantee that you’ll be holier.

The reason that you must never for a moment slip into humor is that anyone may read what you say out of context, and that may damn their eternal soul, for which you will be soul-ly responsible. It does not matter how clear you make it that you like to joke. Even if you change your profile picture to something outrageous, yea, even then you must expect everyone to take each individual statement with the utmost seriousness, and therefore you must utter type it with the greatest gravitas. It is utterly unreasonable to think that people will have the opportunity to learn truth in a straightforward fashion from another source. It is most obvious that the briefest of encounters with less than seven score characters from your keyboard may be utterly crucial in determining their eternal destiny.

Goodness is bound up in writing to the public-schooled lowest common denominator the same way that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. Cling to unambiguously easy statements with the same vigor that you cling to your virtue and vodka. Or your guns and your religion. Or whatever it is that you cling to. Never, never, expect any grain of sophistication from your reader. For example, questions such as “is the Pope Catholic?” should only be used in private discussions with your confessor lest you cause radical traditionalist weaker brethren to stumble over your sedevacantist questioning and lack of fealty to the Pope. And while you’re at it, try to avoid using phrases like “fealty to the Pope” since everyone will assume that you’re talking about the fourth vow of a certain Jesuitical organization which will not be named here.

Embrace a starkly monolithic Catholicism. And then force and enforce it on others. After all, if Jesus thought it would be good to make Peter the rock on which the Church is built, how much better is it to have a Church built entirely of one stone?! Paul was out of line in more than one place in scripture, and never mores so then when he mislead people into thinking that it was okay to be different from each other. If you think that something is insulting, unclear, or less than perfectly congratulatory, it is. Do not be lured in by the evil Paulists who will tell you that there is beauty in diversity and that it is okay for some to be somber instructors while others are smirky, snarky, stumblers who say whatever they think.

Furthermore, pay no thought to those who are attracted to humor. The need for humor is intrinsically disordered and those who give into such an inclination give into acts of grave depravity. All healthy people will naturally be drawn to the monolithic Catholicism explained above. Those people who are not attracted to boring didactic Catholicism, for instance many Episcopalians, should simply be entrusted to the mercy of God who judges all with justice. Anyone who appreciates humor is nothing other than a temptation sent straight from the devil to lead you into compromise. Ignore all of your nagging fears about losing some because you were unwilling to become anything other than an uptight Catholic in a group of uptight Catholics in order to draw uptight Catholics closer together. That is, after all, what the Church explains that Paul really meant. Christ died for the many, meaning that Christ died for those who can give true glory to God in the somnolent splendor of un-funny truth.

Recognize that there are varying degrees of perniciousness in humor. Humor which engages in jabs at your expense should always be assumed to be the epitome of evilnessssssssssss straight from the serpent outside of Eden. Humor which pokes fun at your friends is the second worst, humor about the Church is next, and humor about your enemies is best.

Expect to be understood. Rejoice (somberly) in the fact that as long as you keep yourself spotless from any stain of the world humor online, everyone will understand exactly what you say. More importantly, they will be given the gift of insight into your deepest heart and will understand what you mean. It is only humor that prevents us from truly connecting with others. As long as you keep yourself far, far away from all appearance of humor God will bless your relationships. Everyone will read your words with graciousness, assume that you’re a truly wonderful person who means no harm, and grant you precisely the charity which you withhold from them in your disdain for all humor.

I’m sure that I will be back later to update these instructions, but in the meantime I would love your help with expanding them. I want to eventually be the (or, better yet, thee!) authoritative source for a lack of humor online. Then people will really know that I am Catholic, even if I utterly fail to be Christian because of that whole love thing.

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7 Responses to “On Humor. Online.”

  1. Rebecca @ The Road Home 06. Apr, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    I was wondering how you were doing after the snippets I caught today – glad to see you are still (not) maintaining your sense of humor :). (And since I had to look up about every other word in this post in my dictionary, I hope I’ve understood you correctly – ha! (or maybe not? :-/))

  2. Jonathan F. Sullivan 06. Apr, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    (Sorry, is quoting the Simpsons for ironic effect against the rules?)

  3. Michelle 06. Apr, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    “The need for humor is intrinsically disordered and those who give into such an inclination give into acts of grave depravity”

    This made my night! I’m such a humorless nut!

  4. Hallie 07. Apr, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    Isn’t the online world fun to navigate? I think sometimes the 140-character limit on Twitter makes it hard to use (and recognize) humor when we’re talking about sensitive topics. I’m so sorry if I misinterpreted what you were saying. Jen is a dear, dear friend of mine and I felt defensive on her behalf. Take care!

  5. Kristy 07. Apr, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Rae, I <3 you. Even if I am a smirky, snarky, stumbler who says whatever I think. 😉

  6. felicemifa 09. Apr, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    I love this to pieces. TO PIECES!!!

  7. Sarah 13. Apr, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    smirky, snarky, stumblers who say whatever they think — unite! online humor is so 2010. :p

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