Saturday, December 01, 2012

did you hear the one about -- ?

I love humor.

Several years ago, I was standing in Waldenbooks.  That lets you know how long ago it was.  For you young people Waldenbooks was a book store.  Ask your parents what a book is.

I was thumbing through a collection of Gary Larson Far Side cartoons.  Softly chuckling while turning the pages.

Gary Larson had long been one of my favorite humorists.  Each panel was enough to make me smile.

I then flipped to the cartoon at the top of this post.  The laughter started deep and exploded.  In public.  I must have laughed for a full minute.

Larson is the master of the phantom panel cartoon.  The joke is not in the drawn panel.  But in the panel we imagine in our mind.  And this one was perfect.

It is still my favorite Gary Larson cartoon.

My former girl friend Linda had her own favorite.  As Kurt Vonnegut would say: here it is.

Any analysis would simply be gilding the lily.  It is either funny to you -- or it is not.

After sixty years of entertaining those around me (well, I thought it was "entertaining"), I continue to be surprised at what people find to be (and not to be) funny.

And I am not talking about cultural differences.

When I presented legal updates for our company, the reaction to most jokes was predictable.  An immediate reaction from a few hearty souls.  Two beats later, more laughs.  Two more beats, general laughter.  But nearly a quarter of the audience sat there more bemused than amused.

I was not the variable.  The other two presenters had similar experiences.

But enough of this analysis.  Let me pass along a news story.

The Korean Central News Agency (the official mouth of the mad-manocracy of North Korea) reports that archaeologists in Pyongyang have recently reconfirmed the existence of a unicorn's lair. 

And that one of the lair's unicorns was ridden by the ancient Korean King Tongmyong, founder of a kingdom which ruled parts of China and the Korean peninsula from the the 3rd century BC to 7th century AD.

OK.  Stop rolling your eyes.  You are simply being culturally insensitive.  Everyone knows we are not talking about the obviously mythical horse with a horn in the middle of its head that lives only in the minds of American 13-year old girls.  How ethnocentric can you be?

"Unicorn" is the wrong word.  What the Korean archaeologists (practitioners, I am certain, of the scientific method) have confirmed is the existence of a Qilin lair.  As you can see, from this photograph, the Qilin is a real animal.

And can be seen throughout North Korea.  Along with happy, well-fed peasants.  Led by the sexy genius of the universe.

As long as there is a North Korea, none of us will lack for material.

Note -- If history is any guide, I will receive a note from the Larson people asking me to remove the cartoons from this post.  Enjoy them while you can.


norm said...

Madmanocracy is a fine word, if you do not mind, I'll add that one to my tool box.

Steve Cotton said...

Feel free. I rather like it myself.

barbara eckrote said...

How do "they know"? How?

John Calypso said...

I laughed and beat then to the punch (or switch).

Steve Cotton said...

"They" belong to a service that trolls the internet for violations. I have been the recipient of two email to cease and desist or suffer the wrath of federal circuit court.

You should read some of the nasty letters that 12-year old girls receive for posting drawings of Cinderella on their blogs. Many are posted online.

Steve Cotton said...

Both are classics.

Andean said...

I also love humor, but often don't get what's implied.

I looked at the cartoons over and over...and I do have a cat...oh well.

Steve Cotton said...

Interesting.Something to discuss on your next trip south.

Andean said...

As often I hear, and who knows when that will be.

EricChaffee said...

You've reminded me of my favorite Larson cartoon: A deer is standing on two legs behind a tree, bullets whizzing past, silhouette of a hunter in the distance.
CAPTION: Do I know this guy?

But then, my wife will be doubled in contortions, and hand me a New Yorker cartoon which I will then stare at with incomprehension. Humor is so elusive sometimes.

Steve Cotton said...

Humor seems to find that part of us that finds joy in life. Maybe that is it. We each walk our own path.

Andean said...

Humor is, isn't it.
Wonder if it's m/f oriented, Steve?

Steve Cotton said...

You don't think I am going to get sucked into that bottomless pit, do you?

Andean said...

Well said.

"We each walk our own path."