One of our regular authors presents: “Comedy in the Age of the Absurd: Helping or Harming?”
It’s an absurd new[s] era, and when faced with the question of “should we laugh or should we cry?” the choice is being made for us. Comedy news outlets (our ever-increasing primary news source) are having a heyday; observing and reporting with an almost glee. They couldn’t make this shit up.
And us? We’re devouring it.
It feels good to laugh. That’s probably why humour is the preferred coping mechanism for dealing with the reality that is Trump. But might getting our news in this way have its downside? If comedy is our news and their business, who’s gonna tell us it’s no laughing matter?
There is certainly an argument for humour as being an effective weapon here, as it’s clear that Trump can’t tolerate any form of criticism – and what’s more harmful to a man like this than the public buying the notion that he is a Joke on the world stage. He spends an inordinate amount of time reacting to haters with childlike petulance that he fails to see just adds to the comedy. Perhaps shows like SNL, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert and the like aren’t just capitalizing on the circumstance, but are here at exactly the right time and doing their duty as commanders of the Army of Comedy that will ultimate cause him to implode. It could. Or it could do the exact opposite.
Because here’s what needs to be taken seriously:
That Donald Trump, Actual President of the United States, is mentally ill. Saying so is not meant to be insulting or inflammatory. It’s to state what is plainly obvious but is being obscured by the sweet panacea of comedy. He displays all the criteria of someone with a serious psychological and/or medical condition that makes him – unfortunately, comically – unfit to be any kind of leader. A pathological liar; and not on disputable matters, but on facts of which there are images and recordings (of himself too). And not just occasionally, but constantly. And not after some thought, but reflexively. And not over insignificant things, but facts that matter. A level of emotional control and articulacy that is rarely observed in any mature, stable person, let alone . . . you get the picture. This is only what shows. Can you imagine?
(And then there’s this, which I consider to be the crown jewel on top of the trash pile of evidence for incompetency which at the same time is a mint example of this laugh/cry coin. For this to even BE, let alone get a pass as the very first broadcast of the official news outlet of the Trump Administration, boggles my mind and reduces me to tears of laughter despite myself. Just watch.)
We can certainly count his overall anti-environment, anti-education, anti-social security (anti-humanity, really) attitude as evidence that he is incapable of considering the welfare anyone outside of him and his. But I’m not so sure if that’s mental illness so much as the natural result of being born and raised in a bubble of extreme self-indulgence that this late in the game is psychologically incapable of being popped. Or is that mental illness too? Is greed evil or illness? And does mental illness imply that his behaviours are more excusable than, say, evil?
Now I’ve realized I’ve gone off track and opened up a can of worms about what mental illness is, and how or if it’s distinct from evil. You all better join in on discussion now.
Personally, I think there are not evil people so much as those with a lack of knowledge of good; and this moral confusion + power + fear of being irrelevant = the path of least resistance, which to a weak mind with strong negative influences can certainly cause evil, easily justified as something other than.
Anyways, my point is that if Trump’s behaviour can be explained by at least Narcissistic Personality Disorder (and possibly untreated syphilis, possible dementia), then he either needs treatment or to be treated like a person with special needs who doesn’t know his own strength.
And we need to stop laughing.
…or do we?