Life is too short to laugh

There’s one in every crowd: the guy who is SO SRS that he takes it as a sign of his personal superiority, which enables him to, say, bash Terry Pratchett for being funny and popular, which inevitably conflicts with the aforementioned SRSness.

One should, of course, object to this sort of thing on general principle:

Life is short. But it’s also unpleasant sometimes and an escape is often a nice thing. I’ve read my share of “literary” novels (I read One Hundred Years of Solitude years ago as part of a book club. I tried reading Grass’ The Tin Drum but couldn’t get into it very far.) A lot of the modern literary novels — at least, the ones that seem to win awards — that I’ve tried have disappointed me; they seem mainly to be Cavalcades of Dysfunction where no one seems to be trying to be better. I get that they’re great art but in a lot of cases when I read, I am looking for diversion or entertainment.

The problem is that Great Art, according to our current gatekeepers, is supposed to Make You Think. Indoctrination, pure and simple. It is unthinkable that you should read something because you damned well want to read something. From my own distant past:

I encountered an example of this disjuncture myself, as a high-school student earnestly blabbing away about a Jack Finney novel — no, not the one you’re thinking — and then being shot down by a teacher who wondered why I was bothering with this comparatively “accessible” stuff while dust accumulated on The Vicar of Wakefield.

And besides, if I need a grounding in Goldsmith, I can always see a production of She Stoops to Conquer; it’s probably going on somewhere even as we speak.

With that in mind, I bring you the good work of Lindley Armstrong Jones, the last century’s most eccentric interpreter of Bizet:

But comedy, like Rodney Dangerfield, gets no respect in this You Must Be Edified universe.

See also Francis W. Porretto, a man of small-c catholic tastes:

I’ve often been sneered at by persons who pretend to “higher standards.” While I can’t argue for my tastes — who can? — it’s often seemed to me that the devotees of those “higher standards” are more interested in elevating themselves over others than in what they claim to enjoy.

We have a winner.


  1. McGehee »

    1 September 2015 · 5:52 pm

    I’ve read a lot of books that made me think — including “Dorothy Parker was a brilliant book reviewer.”

  2. McGehee »

    1 September 2015 · 5:52 pm

    That is, the books made me think that.

  3. fillyjonk »

    1 September 2015 · 6:06 pm

    There’s also the gem, “Tonstant Weader Fwowed Up,” which was apparently her response to Winnie-the-Pooh.

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