14 March 2007

Ha! Ha?

I like to laugh. I'm just a happy, laughing kind of person. I laugh in the face of adversity, and sometimes I laugh aloud at a funny idea that pops into my head when no one else is around. Some would say this makes me psychotic. I can't help it: I'm just a laugher.

That's why an article from yesterday's New York Times is just so disturbing. Seems you are only "supposed" to laugh at those who are above you in status and not at those who are below. And if you're a woman that pretty much means you are allowed to laugh at everything.

I don't like to think some poor self-image is what makes me laugh. When I laugh out loud at the dog pushing her ball through her tunnel in the backyard, am I somehow projecting that I'm inferior to the dog? Or is it possible that I actually get some joy out of seeing such unhibited play? When I laugh at an engineer telling an autobiographical story that he clearly means to be funny, am I sending a signal that he's a superior, or am I laughing because 1) I understand what happened and commiserate with his stuation, 2) I bet it was not even a little bit funny at the time, 3) I think he wants me to laugh rather than insult him, and 4) in hindsight and with proper comedic timing and his great accent, it's a giggle.

Not to be outdone by the muffin 'joke' that leads the NYT story (and no, I didn't laugh but I felt I was supposed to want to laugh), I will tell you the engineer's story that made my eyes water with laughing so hard. You can judge for yourself: Is it funny?

"I'll tell you, ma'am, we ran that [oilfield equipment] in the hole, and we did [the work we needed to do] just as perfect as anything. The customer was happy, I was happy, and we were doing great. Then this total idiot of an engineer -- and I can say that about him because I happen to know him reeeeeeeal well -- tells the operator ok, this is going so great, we can just crank it up a notch while we're pulling out of the hole. (pause) You know, he only took it up maybe 5 or 10 feet per minute. (pause) Damn if we didn't get that sucker stuck in the damn well."

Are you laughing? OK, it's not as funny on this end, either, as I'm typing it. I swear it was hilarious at the time.

Anyway, I don't buy the "superiority" argument. I prefer the argument presented in Comment #7 on the NYT reporter's blog about that story.


Lee said...

All those stupid, senseless, pointless surveys make me laugh!

Just keep laughing, Smukke..don't let anyone else tell you to do otherwise! ;)

Richard said...

After reading the article, I still don't get it. If all of this is true, Hollywood would be out of business. No one would ever watch a "Dumb and Dumber" (ghod I hope so...) We're not supposed to feel inferior to the people we're laughing at in these, but much superior