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Miniblog #128: Comedy’s Value, English Culture & John Cleese’s Satirizing of Extremism

by Carson T. Clark on September 19, 2012

Comedy at its best is not only entertaining but intensely thought-provoking. It brings down our prudish defenses, lulls us out of our entrenched positions, and causes us to see the world in new ways. This sentiment was perhaps best captured by Oscar Wilde. He mused, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” Speaking of which, as far as I’m concerned no culture in the world understands comedy’s value better than the English. The ability to humorously and critically dissect one anothers’ beliefs, opinions, and perspectives while at all times remaining civil seems to be part of their cultural DNA. Their criticisms are every bit as strong as our oafish blunt force trauma, but they seem to do it without losing their composure and coming across like raging lunatics. It’s a thing of beauty. For example, check out the video below. John Cleese brilliantly satirizes extremism–offering a wonderful socio-religious and political commentary on strident conservatives and liberals alike. In an inverted way, this is the best argument I’ve ever seen for why people should be hardlining moderates.

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