Archive for January, 2007

Humor needs to reveal a truth

If humor does not reveal a truth, if instead it is vile and bitter, it says more about the humorist than it does about its target. Bosell uses one of the Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” format’s shows “Moral Orel” as an example in Shower after adult swim at Human Events Online.

Too much comedy today comes soaked in bile, oozing with cynicism, and when it unloads insults, it means them with a vengeance. Vicious mockery is so common on television today that it’s in danger of seeming blase. Mockery is sometimes so frenzied that the satire doesn’t even come close to resembling the target.

In other words, humor becomes a personal attack rather than constructive feedback. It reveals negative emotions – hatred, bigotry, intolerance – rather than clarifying truths. The humor is being used to elevate its producer over its targets rather than to elevate its target as human and worthy.

Imagine, if you can, the long stream of producers and actors and writers and artists and executives who work on the assembly line of a TV production like this. No one in this imposing chorus seems to have had a fleeting thought that this series of unfunny, wildly inaccurate smears crosses a line from good-natured ribbing to mean-spirited character assassination.

The ‘humor’ becomes narcistic propaganda. Its perpetrators are often unaware of what they are saying about themselves. In this vein it harms us all.

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Facsism to believe and use evidence?

This goes under “One of the ways some folks handle views they don’t like.” In this case, they don’t like medicine being ‘scientific’ which means evidence based. So they create a straw man and accuse him of being fascist. That is, they rationalize their ‘alternative’ view by accusing the opposition as being a centralization of authority that suppresses opposition and makes them a victim.

The example here is at Stats.org Medicine’s Focus on Evidence is Not “Fascist”.

Medicine’s focus on evidence is “fascistic,” according to a paper in the September 2006 ( pp. 180-186) issue of the International Journal of Evidence-based Healthcare.

The authors wax rather eloquent in criticism of the paper…

This kind of blasé, jargon-driven, third-rate critical thinking tends to fall like manna to those who cannot bear to endorse anything that’s a product of the Enlightenment – save those attempts to destroy it from within. … If the authors are interested in European intellectual history, they should reflect on what Jean Paul Sartre meant by “bad faith.”

The question is whether or not we choose to value one of the fundamental precepts of Western Culture. This is the realization that we are going to do more for humanity if we work with what we can measure and see and observe rather than what is only a figment of the imagination. We can use placebos but only within a certain understanding of their limitations.

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