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Good morning! This is Priscila, and I’m sharing with you my Saturday pick.
We constantly talk about the urgent need of finding some common ground to dodge—or face—upcoming threats. Yet, we ridicule and demonize those who don’t agree with our little, usually petty and self-absorbed belief system.
In the same vein, we “condemn violence in all its forms” in our speeches, until one day we find ourselves defending some guy who publicly slapped a comedian over a silly joke (the only problem with the G.I. Jane line was that it was unfunny as hell).
Further, we swear we try hard to “deconstruct” and “get rid of toxic masculinity” and here we are, rooting for an entertainer—he did receive a standing ovation—who saw himself in the need to resort to actual physical violence to save the honor of his “damsel in distress.”
On one hand, we are all inspired and moved by a fearless, brave comedian—Volodymyr Zelensky—and on the other, we demand hand-picked, harmless, sanitized humor.
What have we become? Have we no sense of shame? Some fear humor because it shows us who we really are; it exposes our weaknesses and insecurities. However, that’s not the only function of humor.
When my dad died, I made a joke to my mom and brother about not getting up from the grave again (you lack the context, but I promise it was funnier than Chris Rock’s). It was right there, in the cemetery. I loved–and love, and need, and miss–my dad with every fiber of my body. But this is what humor does for us: it protects us, it shields us from horror, and it helps us heal.
And if we let humor fade away in the name of the oversensitive moods that seem to be in fashion, we’ll lose all that; we’ll lose it all.
This article originally appeared in El American’s newsletter on April 2, 2022. Sign up for free here.
Pris Guinovart is a writer, editor and teacher. In 2014, she published her fiction book «The head of God» (Rumbo, Montevideo). She speaks six languages. Columnist since the age of 19, she has written for media in Latin America and the United States // Pris Guinovart es escritora, editora y docente. En 2014, publicó su libro de ficciones «La cabeza de Dios» (Rumbo, Montevideo). Habla seis idiomas. Columnista desde los 19 años, ha escrito para medios de America Latina y Estados Unidos