Monday, August 18, 2008

The Radical Conformist Humor

There was a post on The Unrepentant Marxist on Robert Greenwald’s documentary “The Real McCain”. Here is my comment:

I think people watch these allegedly political videos for the same reason they are fascinated by lolcat humor. It is the obscene pleasure of witnessing the triumph of life, of its overwhelming flow that tears down all the barriers. In one of them, common human stupidity prevails over the nature by zealously reflecting its symptoms to another living thing. In the other, disturbing contradictions of human dimension invades the social order: people sometimes get confused, yes, although McCain is a politician, he can get confused too. Terry Eagleton is right to say that in satire and irony the hero is inferior to the rest of us, but I think, we should add that, in comedy the hero is inferior to each of us individually, but replicates our common weakness and confusion against our environment. I think this is the elemental trap of comedy: We typically get the inferior impersonal frame without the individual picture. Here what we got, I mean, with the sarcastic McClain movies, jokes, etc. is an empty frame of standard human stupidity, without the original, individual political picture of McCain. This is why, although it seems extremely critical to the state of affairs, comedy, parody, etc. in fact, often radically reproduces the conditions of the unpleasant individual situation.

It is amazing even if the sense of humor is one of the most exceptional qualities among humanity, modern dominance of white collar narcissism and the Internet machine remarkably decreases the expenses of its reproduction and increases the productivity of banality. At first it seems contradictory to spot pathological narcissism in conjunction with the sense of humor, but, considering the performative capability of narcissism to observe and act according to what people laugh at, along with the fact that comedy is the shortest way to objectify people, to reduce individuals to empty frames, it is understandable that the widespread shortage of creative humor itself produces infinite amount of homogeneous jokes. Now, we have countless Holden Caulfields everywhere supposedly surrounded by numerous stereotypes, stupid girls, perverts, Yale-looking guys, lazy bastards, dirty bastards, nosy bastards, phony bastard, etc. etc. they obsessively point out each other, seemingly expose their bullshit, but for what motivation? To demonstrate that I’m the the only NORMAL bastard: “I was probably the only normal bastard in the whole place--and that isn't saying much. I damn near sent a telegram to old Stradlater telling him to take the first train to New York. He'd have been the king of the hotel.” (The Catcher in the Rye). In a paradoxical fashion, the misleading element in the pretentious sense of humor of modern narcissism is its illusory radical aggressivity. As Zizek puts, the pathological narcissist “is a radical conformist who paradoxically experiences himself as an outlaw”.

I’m too fed up with this tedious lolcat style political humor.