Desensitized America: Humor
April 14, 2011Posted by on
Our culture is saturated by media. In particular, death, pain, suffering and other destructive behavior are being glorified in media as being no big deal. There seems to be one particular genre in which this ideology has become extremely prominent; humor. We all have a different sense of humor. But I believe that main stream media through movies, television programs, and other facets have shaped our perception of what is funny. There are literally thousands of examples but the first one I want to show is the now iconic scene from Indiana Jones: The Lost Ark.
To be honest, I thought this scene was pretty funny the first time I saw it. But stepping back, I wondered if anyone prior to the 20th century would have found humor in that scene in the way we do today.
But as innocent as Indiana Jones shooting a swordsman is on the silver screen, we have to remember that this was some 25 years ago. Humor has evolved. What many people in America today find funny is in the suffering and torturing of others. The mentality of “it’s funny as long it’s not me” is very true in our society. Today, we literally live in what I consider, a Jackass nation. I am not going to post any clips of this show or the movies here, but to those who do not know about Jackass, let me enlighten you. Jackass is basically a bunch of guys running around pulling pranks and putting themselves in dangerous and disgusting situations on purpose to provoke laughter. Without going into detail of some of the grueling and disturbing pranks and stunts performed, I will use a couple examples from the DVD that launched the Jackass crew to MTV stardom called CKY2 K which I recall watching a year or so prior to the show airing on MTV.
One of the fellows, whose name is Bam, set up a handful of fireworks in his fathers van. His father who had to leave for work at 5 in the morning got in his van and to his surprise, was treated to a firework show. He panicked and quickly got out of the car to escape the life threatening situation to find his son Bam and his friends not only filming the whole thing, but laughing hysterically. Another prank that was done to Bam’s father was when Bam and his friends stormed into the restroom where Bams father was taking care of business. They slapped him, hit him, ran around like lunatics yelling, screaming and laughing hysterically. I will say that these pranks were relatively innocent compared to what was to come. The pranks became more and more devious and disturbing, while their stunts became more life threatening and dangerous. America at this point was already on a downward spiral of morality and ethics, especially when it came to humor, but I believe the advent of shows like Jackass was an acceleration of that process.
In 2002, the Jackass series moved to the silver screen and their first major motion picture was produced. I am sure from the Hollywood perspective, this was a great idea because it was relatively inexpensive to make, yet it was tremendously popular to the impressionable youth of America. I remember as a freshman in college going to see the movie the day it came out with all of my roommates and buddies on the swim team, which was basically a college fraternity. The theaters were packed and as I looked around, I remember seeing a majority of the audience being teenagers to mid twenties. As the movie began, there were several pranks that were the typical Jackass style. But since each stunk or prank lasts no more than a couple minutes, the movie which ran nearly two hours was packed full of content that continued to push the envelope.
I recall being somewhat “into it” at the beginning of the film to see what kinds of crazy stunts they had done for the movie. But as the film progressed, I became increasingly uncomfortable and annoyed. Keep in mind that I was a freshman in college, and not yet a believer in Christ. I was as rebellious as the fellows on the screen, but some of the stunts were too much for even me to bare. The most disturbing part of the entire experience that haunts me to this day, is not any prank or stunt pulled in the movie. It was the forced laughter of hysterical proportions that the audience continued to spew out as the scenes got worse and worse.
This was no innocent chuckle. It was down right sinister. I remember seeing my roommate forcing his laughter so hard, that his veins were popping out of his neck and forehead. The laughter was fake, forced, loud and disturbing. It was almost as if they were purposely laughing simply to deal with the disgusting content. I recall missing a good portion of the movie because my attention was on the reaction of the people rather than the movie itself. There were some who had negative reactions. I remember seeing a couple of girls covering their eyes, and remember this is not a horror film in the traditional sense. I had a roommate vomit. I saw others just get up and walk out. Yet, the majority of the audience was in hysterical laughter of a sinister and evil nature.
Again, there is no need to post any footage of this movie or the shows because of its disturbing nature. But I believe movies and shows such as these are responsible for the continuing down turn of our culture on a moral, ethical, and social level. Flip through the television and you will see 90% of the content being what I consider un-Godly and sinful. Walk into a Blockbuster and you will find that 90% of the movies on the shelves promote immorality, death, lust, or some other outright sinful act. The problem is more than simply depicting the sin, it is the reveling of it. It is not being depicted to show its problems, but rather, it is glorified making it “normal” or “cool” for the masses. The ideology that stems from this kind of content is that this behavior is the norm and something is wrong with you if you don’t revel in sin like the rest of them.
Another example that glorifies death with the use of humor is the Darwin Awards. The Darwin Awards is a website that has been around for some years now. The header caption on the website says this, “A Chronicle of Enterprising Demises Honoring Those Who Improve the Species…by accidentally removing themselves from it.” The basic idea of the website is to hand out awards every year to the funniest accidental deaths. This is another example of how we are being indoctrinated to think death is funny in some way. I am sure that the family and friends of those who passed away and are glorified on this website do not think its funny. Yet, every year, the website gets over 65 million hits and has over 150,000 newsletter subscribers. This is a deliberate degrading of the importance and sacredness of life. It is reducing life to something that is insignificant and unimportant and it makes me sad to see so many people supporting and following this website.
I was recently having a conversation with a co-worker who was talking about some of the issues she was having with her children and how they thought that she was “falling behind the times.” I believe this is an illusion. The concept that people are “moving forward” to me is a deception. This is particularly true in the human rights movement supporting the Gay and Lesbian community. Now that’s a whole different topic that I won’t get into here, but the fact is what our children perceive as “progress” is nothing more than the continuing of the break down of moral, ethical and social standards of humanity. At the end of the day, what is being promoted through main stream entertainment is that there is no God, that we are all free to make our own decisions, and that we are perfect the way we are. In other words, we are our own gods. I think I’ve heard this one before:
““For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”-GENESIS 1:3
Humor has been used as a tool or veil to corrupt our minds. There is nothing inherently wrong with humor. But like anything, used in the wrong context and the results are disastrous. I am not against progress in technology, in culture, in society. But I am against progress just for the sake of progress without a purpose. What I see and hear in the world around me is the perception of progress for good, but I believe we all need to take a step back and really look at what we are indoctrinating the minds of ourselves and our children with. Compare it to the teachings of Jesus Christ and look at the pros and cons and then move forward with the best suitable action. Come Lord Jesus.
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”