Friday, 17 July 2009

i like to think that the growing tendency of the universe to lose its capacity to amuse me is due to the increased sophistication of my sense of the humorous. The wife of my bosom inevitably puts it down to me becoming a cranky old bastard. Even the banana skin no longer has within it the potential to crack a smile on my resolute visage.



That's the opening two panels of a four pager in The Years have Pants. It originally appeared in a small format anthology from Dark Horse titled Autobiographix. In a way, this little four pager amounted to an explanation for why I never finished my project titled The History of Humour, which is also included in the big book, or at least a substantial selection from it will be. And I like to think that the reader laughed then and will laugh again before they've finished the piece.

But there's a guy here, Marshall Blonsky, the author of "American Mythologies," at The Christian Science Monitor, who has taken upon himself the task of investigating the failed humour of a spate of recent tv ads, and he didn't make me laugh once:
TV's insipid commercials, decoded
A semiotics professor explores the strange new world of subcomedy, from Progressive Auto Insurance to Omnaris nasal spray.
"This supposed comedy has taken the shape of a celebration of the "blah," a passing off of the insipid in place of actual comedy. I watched scores of commercials. All of them were designed to make me laugh. None did.
I'm a professional semiotician, a reader of signs. Three commercials in particular deserve to be decoded."
Maybe he studied under the wrong gagmeisters.
"Baudrillard attributed the advent of this banality to the work of pop artist Andy Warhol, who was able to situate himself at the forefront of our postmodern condition. Warhol was shilling for a new world without passion, profundity, personality – but with just a touch of the aesthetic to lull people into feeling (until the great recession) that their suburbs, kids, cars were "so-o-o beautiful." Were he alive now, I think he would acknowledge our world, ads and subcomedy included, as his stillborn offspring. For that is banality: everything expressing nothing about desire, death, destiny."
This is the man he should have studied under, the great Professor Cuthbert Bean
There were five of these in the series. I'll show the others here when I take the notion. The words are actually a quotation, but I rather sinfully didn't say so, and I can no longer remember from where I stole them.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

"Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it."

or

"The only honest art form is laughter, comedy. You can't fake it... try to fake three laughs in an hour - ha ha ha ha ha - they'll take you away, man. You can't."

-Lenny Bruce

17 July 2009 9:18:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh topic again, but as you mentioned movies not so long ago thought you'd be interested in this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/jul/17/stephen-frears-tamara-drewe-gemma-arterton

Ben Smith

17 July 2009 10:40:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or indeed 'Off topic'

BS

17 July 2009 10:40:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Phil said...

And you think you're a cranky old bastard! http://www.elliott-design.com/gimbley/gimbley_1_068.html

trouble is, I drew this some 20 years ago! You might just recognise yourself and Lew Stringer in the window of the pizza bar.

some nice use of zipatone there tho'.

Bah Humbug!

17 July 2009 1:20:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Hey, Phil,
I'm just scanning one of the earliest Bacchus pages , where he is in jail, and on the wall is scribbled the line "Gimbley was stuck here"

17 July 2009 9:01:00 pm GMT-5  

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