Talk of beheadings have been non-stop around dinner (or bar) tables for the past week. Do you know why? Because a man was beheaded senselessly on the lonesome roads of Isolation, Canada on a Greyhound bus by an (alleged) wack job psychotic.
And journalists have been analyzing what the public's relentless fascination of the story means for humanity -- i.e., that we love the gory details (in case you weren't aware); that we still do have the ability to be shocked (in case you weren't aware); and that we (according to Globe and Mail journalist Judith Timson) crave for more information, all the while feeling shameful about "our prurience." Humans love sex and violence. In case you weren't aware..
What's most fascinating to me is all the sick laughter flying around these dinner tables about the atrocity. Every single one of my conversations invariably resorts to some shameful (yet hilarious!) quip on the matter. I won't reiterate any of these for the (very few) people who actually read this blog because I can't remember a single one.
But what it says about the human condition is that we (e.g., myself, my associates and therefore every single individual, including the newborn, on the planet, ) don't have the capacity to deal with horrific situations by being deadpan. There's some deep-rooted urge in humanity to turn darkness to light and this is no different. It seems like we need to laugh so we can make sense of a world that consistently rears it's disfigured underbelly. Laughter is how I and the people around me deal with anything bad that rests on a massive scale: alcoholism, Republicans, ugly babies and now random beheadings.
This doesn't mean we're being insensitive. Or maybe it does, I don't know. But I think it's important for all of us to deal with this kind of news the only way they know how. For many of us, that's to laugh. Ugliness is easier to accept that way. It's similar to seat-belt resistance in a car accident. It cushions the blow.
That's why AIDs is funny.
Because George Bernard Shaw once wrote: , "Life does not cease to be funny when someone dies, as it does not cease to be serious when people laugh." This quote is now bordering on cliche, but it's apt and I'm lazy.
I'm not actually lazy.
And I've just been informed that AIDs isn't funny. Neither are ugly babies.
Say, did you hear that one about the guy on the Greyhound?