Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Theatre of the Ridiculous

Okay - drop everything, even if expensive, and watch this masterpiece right now:

Everything we do is fundamentally ridiculous. From our pointless jobs through our institutionalised obsession with hearing people's made up stories to the elaborate culture and values built around and towards the moronic spasmatic movement of sex and even disturbing phenomena like child-soldiers - everything enshrined in culture as a convention or value is essentially a joke we all too often forget to laugh at.

Nothing deserves or justifies or transcends ridicule, because everything is already ridiculous, and anything else it can be it can only be in addition to ridiculous.

I find this thought inspiring. And a promising avenue out of a cultural economy of fear and pretentiousness and complicity and repression. And it is probably what basically all comedy is about, but I feel like it's distilled particularly articulately and beautifully ridiculously in the mind-blowing parody of life here above.

One of the interesting advantages of being bilingual and sort of more or less bi-national, is seeing quite clearly how ridiculous people sound when talking in a new language. It has also probably made it much more difficult for me to speak in newly learned languages without feeling acutely my ridiculousness while doing so. What secret Zen master Nathan Fielder is demonstrating here is both that one should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about this ridiculousness, and could and should feel free to literally broadcast it, and that, by clumsy extension towards my previous anecdote - that speaking a language "well" only serves to obscure the inherent ridiculousness of everything.

A good working definition for secularism in a profoundly religiously saturated culture, I think, is the ability to treat something as worthwhile without needing it to be unridiculable. It is at any rate a good working definition for not being a pretentious arsehole, like fucking Baudrillard.