Every Answer, A Punchline
December 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’ve had difficulties this past week figuring out how to best begin this series of posts I have planned on the dichotomy between composed jokes and spontaneous wit; my original impetus was a desire to definitively prove wit the superior form of humor, but after some careful reflection, I’m not even going to bother trying.
I’ve recently found myself increasingly distrustful of easy answers, even skeptical of answers in general. I’ve mostly noticed it as a feeling—sometimes a wise sense of patience, at other times a lazy despair—that causes me to always suspect there’s more to the truth than whatever thesis I’m reading can contain. It’s nowhere more concrete, though, than in my writing for the blog.
Whenever I’ve tried to write the sort of startling and declarative statement that will grab the blogosphere’s attentions, inspire passionate debate, and rack up the page views, I unfortunately keep writing after I’ve made my point. Following the writing to fuller description and acknowledgement of exceptions, I complicate the simple thesis I started with until I end up with a subtler, less conclusive truth (see Punning in Circles). Maybe it is all this humor studying, but it increasingly seems to me that every answer is a punchline when compared with the rich complications of the actual truth.
As a result, I want to start this discussion with a punchline of sorts for us to work our way backwards from: an image of me in the year 2000, when I was eighteen years old and as close as I’ve ever been to feeling like I had all the answers: I was so sure I had life figured out that I started wearing a karaoke microphone tied to my belt loop as a fashion accessory.
To find out why and what it all has to do with Jack Kerouac, check back next week!