Laughing places

Elliot Milco at The Paraphasic has a good piece today, called “Joke Theology,” which begins,

When things get especially bad, and seem to be on a downward trajectory, it’s easy to get bogged down in outrage and bitterness.  Outrage and bitterness, unfortunately, tend not to do anyone any good, and they tend to create an attitude of passivity and victimization.  Developing a habit of passive victimization merely tends to perpetuate one’s passivity and victimization, so you can see that when we get bogged down in our outrage and bitterness, it only tends to magnify our problems in the long run.

(Emphasis supplied.) We have commented, elsewhere, about the increasingly frantic, even toxic, vibe in tradition-minded circles, especially on Catholic blogs and on Twitter. Just look at the Synod coverage, which has gone from outrage over the heterodox Relatio post disceptationem last October (the “Forte Intervention,” perhaps) to a sense that the fix is in and that orthodox prelates should abandon the Synod before it reaches its preordained conclusion. In other words, just as Milco says, we have reached a point of passivity and victimization, where the only acceptable option is, as they say, to take your marbles and go home (or to the nearest camera).

He goes on to say,

But one of the best things to do with error is to make a joke of it.  The Most Reverend Archbishop Blase Cupich tells us that conscience is inviolable.  Now whenever someone asks for permission or advice, I joke “I’ll accompany you in whatever path you choose to take.” or “Who am I to judge?”  Someone asks whether the weather is nice.  I joke: “The sun is always shining—in our hearts.”  One of my favorite lines is “We are Church!”  I repeat it frequently, often at random.  Spontaneity adds to its intrinsic silliness.

(Emphasis supplied.) Now we’re talking! The correct response to almost any self-serious, deeply committed idealist who happens to be wrong is usually a joke. Because you’re not going to win an argument with them on the merits. There will always be an exception or a different interpretation of a prooftext in support of their argument. But a joke—so long as it is actually funny—is fundamentally unanswerable. The best they can do is huff “That’s not funny” or “This is no laughing matter.” But, of course, it is.