Mowing the lawn gives me time to think. Mowing doesn’t use a lot of intellect, so my brain runs at warp-speed as I mow. My brain wandered towards the latest issue of New York Magazine. It was about TV humor.
The magazine praised today’s television claiming it is so funny. My reaction to reading this was, “What drugs are they taking?”
Television is anything but funny any more. About the only TV show that isn’t vulgar is Last Man Standing. I’ve attempted to watch others, but at first reference to male or female genitalia, I change the channel. Vulgarity isn’t funny. It was funny when I was 13, but I out grew that. And, when I was 13 it wasn’t allowed on TV. TV played to a higher class of people.
Driving the mower back and forth, I questioned how we became such a low class society. When I went to get gasoline for the mower, there was a young, scruffy looking guy who made his girl friend get out of the car and pump the gas because his favorite song was on the radio. She had no idea how to use the debit card or the pump and he wasn’t offering any assistance. Yet, this real-life scenario is the type of low-class stuff you see on TV labeled as comedy — humor.
It was about then that it hit me.
Treating Things Lightly
Treating things lightly is something the Lord has warned us about. In D&C 84:54 he says,
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—”
I haven’t thought of this scripture in this way prior to today, so here is another…
“Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings.” D&C 88:121
While that sounds pretty serious, pious, and almost self-righteous, I share one more scripture before I give you my theory.
“Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you.” D&C 88:69
I don’t think God wants us to be stone-cold-sober (as in serious) all of the time. I think what he is warning against is making fun of sacred things. That led me to this…
Things have gone downhill because we make light of sacred things, or people of importance. This leads to disrespect.
Many years ago, I was at a leadership meeting where one of the visiting authorities instructed us to avoid ward activities where the bishop is the brunt of the joke. One example was asking the bishop to be in a dunking booth. Another example was “roast” dinners. It was said that such activities were disrespectful to the calling.
My thoughts today turned to things we should not make light of: Deity, church leaders, political leaders, law enforcement officers, parents, husbands, wives, children, the family… just to name a few.
Modern examples of this are found in crass humor that makes light of intimacy and body parts. Jokes about the president and those running for office says we are making light of a bad situation. Making light of a bad situation only makes it worse.
There’s a Broadway Musical (supposedly a comedy) that pokes fun of the Book of Mormon and Mormons. I wonder how much of an impact for good the musical has verses the book. Yet, there are those who will attend the musical thinking it was so funny while missing out on the blessings that can come from reading the book. I will venture to say some of them won’t read the book because the were humorously entertained by the play and therefore take the book lightly. (D&C 84:54)
I look at the election of 2008. Mitt Romney chose a very good running mate. In fact, shortly before choosing Sarah Palin, one of the leading women’s magazines did a write up on what a powerful woman she was for taking on corruption in Alaska, hunting big game with the boys, and flying planes. Yet, a popular TV show comedian began portraying her as ditzy. It was the furthest thing from the truth, but people were entertained by Tina Fey’s portrayal and she went from being a role model of a powerful woman to the brunt of all jokes.
Obama isn’t immune from it. He too has been imitated and made light of. While politically I don’t agree with much of what our president does, making fun of the man doesn’t help. To make matters worse, he plays along in an embarrassing way by making fun of Christmas (2013 Correspondents’ Dinner), racial jokes (again, same dinner) that are acceptable because he’s a black man making fun of white people, to name a couple. Where is the dignity in this?
I miss the days where humor was cerebral. “Who’s on First”, was a wonderful play on words that didn’t make light of others or sacred things. Red Skelton was a master of comedy too, as well as Bob Newhart and Steve Allen.
New York Magazine is Wrong
New York Magazine is wrong (in the moral sense, not the opinion sense). TV is not at its funniest. It’s at is most vulgar disgusting era. Louis C.K. isn’t funny, he’s vulgar. The humor you are promoting is offensive.
Okay to Laugh
It’s okay to laugh. True humor doesn’t make fun of anyone or anything sacred. Let’s just be careful what we choose to laugh about.