Friday, July 10, 2009

Raoul Duke’s Unique Definition of Humor

In his collection of personal correspondence Kingdom of Fear, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson wrote that the Bible is humorless and, therefore, God is humorless (p. 17-18). By examining the two components of his statement, it seems that Dr. Thompson ignored the obvious in order to make his point. Sitting here in Huntsville, Texas, with no money and no accolades, I can’t help but notice that the good doctor is dead wrong.

The first component of Dr. Thompson’s statement is that the Bible is devoid of humor. Maybe, but I don’t see it that way. Proverbs 16: 13-16 read sarcastic to me. King Solomon would fit in nicely over at the Daily Show.

When Proverbs 16-14 says, “A king’s wrath is a messenger of death”, the verse is not referring to King Tut, King Edward or the King of Beers. It’s King Solomon transposing God’s word in the third-person perspective. It’s textbook sarcasm. He saying that a king’s wrath (wink, wink) means God and death means you. If necessary, try reading the verse in Pee Wee Herman’s voice. Not everyone will see the humor in this but I certainly do.

Then again, let’s run with Dr. Thompson’s assumption that the Bible is a drab and dreary history book. This, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Bible is the instruction book for life. It doesn’t need to be filled with zingers.

Here’s another drab, humorless instruction book that receives no criticism from the public-at-large: the owner’s manual to your car. Go ahead, flip through it. There’s not a joke to be found. It’s also safe to assume that, when calling tech support, no one wants Jerry Seinfeld answering the phone while the hard drive is crashing. Sometimes, it’s okay not to be entertained.

I’m not sure exactly what point Dr. Thompson was trying to make with his barbed criticism of the Holy Scripture but he clearly didn’t get any of the points that I’m making.

As for the second component of Dr. Thompson’s statement, that God is humorless, I defer to filmmaker Kevin Smith and his controversial yet poignant film Dogma. If you he honestly thought that God has no sense of humor, then I would love to hear the good doctor’s explanation for the platypus.

Brian No Funeral
Huntsville, TX

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