Sunday, September 20, 2015

Comedy Humane

Ben Sinclair, co-creater with Katja Blichfeld of television sitcom High Maintenance, appears in every episode as The Guy, a bicycle messenger who distributes marijuana throughout Brooklyn. Show’s name is a double entendre that describes both his business to maintain buzz and personalities fraught with ordinary dramas. Its message to decriminalize and normalize pot use naturally ignores border violence and turf wars that harvesting and smuggling entail.

Thousands die every year because users want to drown sorrows and dull pain. Yet another transference, typical of, “Better nameless foreigners die than we suffer,” how is that any different than Big Oil killing activists and lummoxes obliviously driving wasteful SUVs? Or sex trafficking and teens indulging in porn instead of being productive and earning for college? The net loss of tobacco after all profits is $200 billion each year, but smoking a related alkaloid-laden weed not so well documented likely costs more than users want to admit. Anyway, can you trust their suspect math?

Lapses seem innocuous until you calculate resulting losses. With cheap electronic access but no shot at being employed, you’ll spend months trolling websites and watching television, in either case, zoning into 15 minute clips between commercials, just enough time to get aroused and swell guilt. Childhood oppositional defiance leads to adult conduct disorders that emerge as casino gambling, road rage, substance abuse, and unread blogs. Who can call odd lifestyles meaningless? Everyone impacts everyone, what they do, or not do. Aggravation releases aggression into community, contorted faces of motorists trying to cut you off so they don’t have to share road with a struggling cyclist. Disgust turned inward might urge good deeds and grand activism.

Alaffia Soap fairly trades and focuses charitable attention on the plight of women is West Africa. It has collected and shipped over 6,300 bicycles to them. Turns out, odds are against them even surviving if they don’t complete school. Cycling enables them to make the long commutes from and to remote villages where most live in poverty. Hopes include democratic reforms in each dictator dominated country, economic justice, and gender equality. Things could be a whole lot worse. Be thankful and count your blessings. Just don’t expect gratitude when you impose aid upon others.

If comedy is the best medicine, why isn’t it prescribed by doctors? AMA and Big Pharma promote profitable dependencies. People seek conflict, not cures, as recent GOP debate argues. Analogies using “is” usually make no sense. They falsely assume parity between A and B, only a comparison, not an equivalency. Hard to be happy when others suffer much, or to suffer those stuck upon agreeable fluff, cheery clich├ęs, and inoffensive pap.

Saroyan wrote in The Human Comedy, “...there will always be pain in the world, knowing this does not mean that a man shall despair. A good man will seek to take pain out of things. A foolish man will not even notice it, except in himself, and the poor unfortunate evil man will drive pain deeper into things and spread it about wherever he goes.” Saroyan, an avid cyclist, knew that physical challenges involve pain, but repeatedly taking them on builds body’s stamina and raises pain threshold. Settling for convenience mostly transfers pain onto someone else in ways intentionally unexamined. Better to laugh off tragedies than prevent them? Does comedy acquit inhumanity?

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