Wednesday, July 28, 2021

EU's war on humor

Willie Soon sent us an incredible document that is hosted on the European Commission's server and labeled as a pretty official document of the European Commission (i.e. The European Union) and its "Radicalisation Awareness Network"
It’s not funny anymore. Far-right extremists’ use of humour (PDF, 18 pages)
The first sentence boldly proclaims:
Humour has become a central weapon of extremist movements to subvert open societies and to lower the threshold towards violence.
After 2+2=4, humor had to be finally identified as a tool of racist sexist transphobic homophobic torture by climate deniers, too. It's coming.

Just years ago, you would be sure that something like that had to be a parody. Everyone would agree that only a true pile of human crap may overtly denounce humor. However, the times have changed and a simple background check of the two authors makes it almost certain that this document is meant seriously: 18 pages of garbage that is comparable to the first sentence above.

The authors are two grad students who seem to "specialize" in stuff like "repeating that humor is just another extremist weapon" (by extremism, they mean things like "there are two sexes, men and women"). I find it almost certain that these two young dudes have actually gotten a nontrivial amount of money from the European Union budget for this utterly toxic garbage. I am shocked by that and I am shocked that someone may be a PhD student – and maybe even a paid postdoc, in one of the two cases – just for his repetition of the disgusting and profoundly idiotic thesis that humor is an evil tool of extremism. People doing these things are just scum and parasites and it's just absolutely wrong if these creatures become capable of directly robbing money from the taxpayers in the European nations.

The document contains lots of anti-humor repetitive gibberish but also some short explanations of some memes, namely the Wojak, the Doge, and Pepe the Frog, plus an introduction to the red pill and the blue pill in the Matrix. But the main goal is to prepare the far left warriors – trash of the European population that is clearly being elevated by the unelected nasty EU politicians – to a possible encounter with humor which is indeed a great tool to fight tyranny, a combative entity that almost always beats and mocks any SJW.

And yes, humor has played quite some role in the Czechs' ability to cope with Nazism and communism, aside from other regimes (we could include the beloved Austrian monarchy to the list). It's questionable whether humor has really contributed to the decline of the totalitarian systems; but I think that humor has undeniably contributed to the bulk of the population's ability to preserve some common sense and avoid extreme radicalization. It is not too surprising that people who want to shove lies to the people's throats and who are wrong about everything – and who completely lack both sense of humor and creativity – find the existence of humor inconvenient. Humor is indeed directly standing against them, lying fudged up would-be tyrants.

Twenty years ago, the U.S. initiated the War on Terror. These days, the EU is preparing to start the War on Humor. So far, this is an experimental paper that is probably released to measure the reaction of the people. But it is completely possible that within months or years, the EU will make this War on Humor an official policy, just as it declared its batšit crazy gr@tinism (or the Merkel Welcomism) an official policy.

Such a War On Humor may be understood as a war against a totally vital part of the universal human culture – an important trait that makes some of us human (or human) and some of us (or them) less human or inhuman. However, we are often reminded that things like humor aren't as universal as the previous sentence makes it sound. The dependence on the ethnic identity and/or the national culture is so strong that I have almost no doubts that much of the sense of humor must be encoded in the DNA.

Sir Michael Palin (a key guy in Monty Python) understands humor extremely well. So when he was asked where in the world he could see the highest sense of humor, he didn't need to hesitate (he's been a great practic of humor but he unavoidably became a great theorist, too). The greatest sense of humor may be found in Dalai Lama (1:02) as an individual and then the Czechs (1:15) as an ethnic nation. ;-) (This weird combination reminds me of the blonde sexuologist's answer in the train that the greatest lovers are Native Americans and then Hungarians. Let me introduce myself. My name is István Winnetou.) The latter is true because for Czechs, everything is fair game when it comes to humor. Nothing can be protected. Because of the relationship between humor and Czechs, the War on Humor is unavoidably a War on Czechs, too. Because of the omnipresent training and stiff competition at the humor as a discipline of sports, the Czech humor therefore ends up being multi-dimensional but very many Czechs are naturally rather demanding when it comes to humor. Some easy jokes may be created by a significant fraction of Czechs; a more selective group can do really good jokes; the professionals really need to do things well, not just "attempt jokes" or "do things that vaguely resemble humor".

You may hear some good dry English jokes and the Jewish humor; and there are lots of great French and Italian comedy films, and so on. Of course, humor is a part of Hollywood, too. America has turned the European humor into a huge industry. But I think that no other nation can compare to Czechs when it comes to the omnipresence of the quality humor. Almost every Czech that is dealing with the creation of the written or spoken or sung text – presidential speeches or song lyrics – is expected to be good enough at humor. Humor has probably been with us for centuries but it is the modern Czech nation – since the 19th century – where the humor seems omnipresent and essential.

In the 19th century, a brilliant Czech politician and intellectual – and a self-made millionaire (through the publishing industry) – Karel Havlíček Borovský was inconvenient for the Austrian authorities because they knew damn well that he was a global star at making humor and satire; they had to confine him in Tyrol. Jaroslav Hašek wrote the Good Soldier Švejk. Comedians Voskovec and Werich defined the "funny theater" of the interwar Czechoslovakia (where lots of other writers were really funny) and this funny duo of men got "emulated" many times in subsequent decades – Šlitr, Suchý; Šimek and Grossman; Šimek and Krampol; Lasica and Satinský in Slovakia; Skoumal and Vodňanský, Kaiser and Lábus (a bit less intellectual pair than the previous ones LOL), and many more legendary pairs like that who basically continued in a genre that may be said to have "quite some nontrivial theoretical foundations" etc. – you might really deserve a college degree if you become good at this humor and its history and examples. Of course, some actresses or similar women became excellent comedians as well, like Jiřina Bohdalová or Iva Janžurová. Although women are underrepresented, even the Czech women are, I still think that Czech women are wildly ahead of most other women of the world in the creation of humor.

In many other nations (but not all nations), you may find a similar number of people "whose primary job is humor or comedy", and whether they are equally good may be a subjective matter. But what I find much less subjective is the "mandatory ability to do some humor" even among the cultural elites that are not "primarily" creators of humor and comedy. The popular songs turn out to be an excellent class of examples. The real point is that even the "totally serious" authors of lyrics simply do include some rather sophisticated humor into their lyrics; and correspondingly, "totally serious" interpreters end up singing songs that are actually funny if not hilariously funny.

So Ivan Mládek is surely close to being an author of lyrics and singer of songs where humor is a big part of the value, arguably a majority of the value. You may find numerous people in different genres of humor. But it is really the "normal mainstream" singers that make the omnipresence of humor in the Czech culture obvious. So you may find tons of really funny songs by Karel Gott, Helena Vondráčková, Hana Zagorová, Lucie Bílá, Vojtěch Dyk, ... lots of the truly top singers who were apparently selected according to their voice and musical skills, not their humor. But they still have great humor. Even Karel Gott was very good at humorous sketches etc. They were often a part of projects that were funny and even the songs that aren't "primarily funny" usually have some humor in them.

This omnipresence of humor in the culture simply isn't a universal trait of mankind, as I can see often. Of course, most nations adjacent to ours have no sense of humor. For Germans, it is a stereotype and while the SJWs want to obfuscate (or criminalize) this fundamental general principle, the stereotypes are among the most important approximately true assertions that you can find in the world and that you must learn and understand if you don't want to be clueless and easily manipulated. But hours ago, I ran into a rather interesting tabloid article about the Czech and Polish lyrics of Ewa Farna's songs. She is a self-described ethnic Pole but otherwise Czech (citizen) singer. Let me emphasize that she speaks both languages flawlessly, may define an accent-free pronunciation in both; and she also has a full-blown Czech sense of humor like other refined Czech female workers of culture.

OK, I am pretty much a great fan of hers and I have heard dozens of her Polish songs, too. Some of them could be perfect remakes (and in many cases, I would still think it would be the easiest and best way to proceed) but in reality, the songs aren't equivalent. I think that her Polish songs are harder rock; she is softer pop-music-style singer in Czech. But a big point in her answer during a radio interview was that she can't really sing any humorous things in Polish because the Polish language (or its interpretation) seems unprepared for that. Whenever something humorous appears in a song, Poles consider it as a parody. By a parody, I mean something that is "not the original" (it only wants to mock the original). The real leading musicians can't sing parodies; only the second-class, derivative musicians can sing parodies.

The difference from the Czech cultural elites couldn't be more striking. The real difference is that in Czechia, you can't really be considered a full-blown first-class popular singer if you don't demonstrate some sense of humor; while in Poland, you can't be considered a first-class pop-music singer if you do! ;-) In effect, humor is really politically incorrect in the Polish environment and the same reality applies to very many European and non-European nations, indeed (and I guess that in the Muslim World, you may be basically murdered by the government for something that we consider innocent humor in Czechia). Except for the Englishmen, I think that Germanic nations generally lack the sense of humor, so do Poles and others. For somewhat different reasons, it is actually true for Italians as well. Slovaks have a culture of humor but I think that it only exists to the extent to which Slovaks have been retrained as bonus Czechs. The previous sentence fuzzily implies that I think that most Hungarians have almost no sense of humor, either, although I have known a very major exception.

OK, a particular song that doesn't exist in Polish at all is "Hips Like a Wardrobe" which is her 2015 remake of "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor. Both songs have nearly equivalent lyrics ("it is OK to be fat because I have more fun while getting fat") but I still think that the threshold for a professional humor was still more demanding in the Czech version than in the English original. Well, this song doesn't exist in a Polish version at all (even though you can listen to a version sung by your humble correspondent through a tomcat filter+app, it has almost 100,000 views by now LOL but it isn't my most viewed singing on YouTube).

One reason is that Poles are probably (even) more OK with fat women than we are; another reason is that it is not politically correct enough for Polish tabloid-like media to analyze whether this or that celebrity is still fat (I am often annoyed by this kind of tabloid press topics but I still think it is an advantage that we enjoy the freedom of expression even in these matters); but the most important reason is the general absence of everyday humor. Various lines in the lyrics are funny for numerous rather sophisticated reasons, the Poles and other nations haven't developed senses to detect most of them or to understand them. They don't really want to develop it, they prefer to get insulted by most types of humor etc.

(To avoid misunderstandings, Ewa Farna was never disturbed by the Czech tabloid comments about her physique and the song correctly conveys this fact. Well, one reason is that she has never been hopelessly pathologically fat, it was always hot to quite some extent and one may be almost 100% certain that her physique remained more attractive than that of the tabloid writers' at all times. For this reason, I also think it's BS when she appears along with the badly shaped fat women on the Times Square big display as a warrior against fat shaming: The other women are repulsively fat while she is not, although she pretends to be one of them, especially that fat ones in her new song about Her Body. I sincerely hope that most of you see through similar tricks and the motivation pushing various people to cooperate on them.)

Poles typically consider Czechs to be funny Pepíks (a Czech slang name for Joes) who don't take anything seriously but even if they are doing seemingly analogous things, it's not the same thing. OK, so in 1978, Ivan Mládek composed the song Joey from the Swampland about a monster living in Eastern Moravia which mostly eats the tourists from Prague. During a journey with his Škoda, the singer develops a remarkable plan with the boss of the local collective farm (who promises the hand of his daughter plus one-half of the collectivized farm [which was probably not an allowed change of ownership in communism]) and using a crop duster, he catches the monster and gets some bucks from a zoo for the new animal.

Mládek got a jar of slivovitz for that in the late 1970s. It was funny, I considered it my most beloved song when I was approaching the graduation from the kindergarten. But exactly 30 years later, the song (plus the funny video with the weird dancing by Ivo Pešák) got to Poland and Poles were really thrilled by it – it actually got much more popular in Poland than it had ever become in Czechoslovakia. The most famous Polish parody is Donald Marzy (Donald Is Dreaming) about the impossible promises by Donald Tusk, a Polish ex-PM who was later the President of the European Union, whether or not this job still exists (I honestly don't know and who is that, I only know Leyen from the current top EU bosses) and who was recently chosen as the boss of the main (pro-EU) Polish opposition party again.

The video looks similar, the Polish dance is even more exaggerated, but some things are not equivalent at all. The Czech song is a child-like song in some way and it is completely apolitical. Millions of Czechs really want to avoid politics, it may be an obsession of the majority (a rather stupid obsession), they are proud to be apolitical. Other nations know that you can't really avoid politics and it's important. But the Czech anti-politics sentiment has positive consequences, too. It helps to nurture the apolitical humor and most of the humor is ultimately apolitical, anyway.

With some threshold for humor, the lyrics of the Polish song actually isn't humorous at all. It is a pure criticism of a politician who is promising things that he won't fulfil. I think that the previous sentence sounds utterly non-humorous and serious and the lyrics is only slightly more humorous because it offers some ludicrous examples of the promises. But this is not enough for "good humor" according to the Czech standards because of the complete absence of some "logical twist". It is just some satire, a critique (and a rather aggressive one) with some flavor of humor which is mostly added by adding ludicrous things, gibberish. But the point is that the good humor doesn't have to be aggressive. It may be peaceful and one could argue that it has to be peaceful. Aggressiveness can't outshine humor because the latter would become invisible. I think that someone's not understanding the difference between humor and aggression is a proof that he or she has no sense of humor whatsoever. As the authors of the toxic EU document at the top actually understood very well, good humor is something that allows the people to look calmly at arbitrarily serious questions. So most of the Czech humor has such a high quality exactly because it is not being mixed with aggressiveness or with someone's political or ideological opinions. Good humor is something that is naturally appreciated by listeners (almost) regardless of their political affiliation (they may appreciate it even if it is unflattering towards themselves or their groups). Like science, humor is a craft that exists independently of political and ideological camps.

This peaceful type of the Czech humor has consequences. I think that it may contribute to our being irreligious – and disbelievers in most kinds of the "causes" that almost play the same role in the contemporary world as religion used to play (such as the genderism and climate alarmism). Most Czechs just don't consider most values (something that people fanatically believe) to be infinitely valuable. This real, non-aggressive humor (which always encourages you to have hindsight) is a reason why Czechs are very unlikely to get fanatical about anything; of course, in many cases, Czechs may be said to be too detached, indifferent, or passive. Of course, I don't understand the causal relationships perfectly well. A more correct explanation could very well say that Czechs were non-fanatical and therefore they have developed a better sense of humor than almost all other nations. The causal relationship is a bit uncertain but the correlation between these two traits – having good humor and having hindsight that prevents people from being fanatical – seems indisputable to me.

As I have mentioned, the Czech humor has flourished during the good times and the bad times, too. One could argue that the production of humor was higher in the bad times. Lots of very good jokes were created during the Nazi occupation; other jokes were born during communism. None of the two regimes has ever openly declared a war against humor as a general, a priori politically unaffiliated, invention. Either Reinhard Heydrich or Adolf Hitler himself came close to that when one of them (or zero of them?) declared Czechs to be the laughing beasts. This label was obviously based on the correct observation that Czechs are unlikely to be turned into real believers even though they could be rather usable otherwise; and they are just better at making humor (which may sometimes weaken you, assuming that you are a top Nazi official).

But it would be rather suicidal for the Nazi regime to ban humor e.g. in the Czech movies that were shot (or at least allowed to be shot) during the occupation. Of course they still had the ambition to make things better – which also meant the efforts to make more humorous movies than those in the "weak" interwar democratic Czechoslovakia. It's debatable whether this succeeded, the concentration of humor remained approximately constant during the occupation (it was more determined by the Czech national character, not so much by the political conditions). And of course, there were tons of humor on the communist TVs and in movie theaters. Communists understood that some humor is needed for the people to forget about their dissatisfaction. For this reason, I think that ex-president Klaus is right when he says that (using my favorite words) the would-be "revolting" comedy films such as those from Mr Svěrák were actually pillars of the totalitarian entertainment. These funny movies just made the Czechoslovaks believe that everything was still fine, everyone could still make jokes, and jokes may make you satisfied with what you have because it's not so bad. That helped to prolong the Czechoslovaks' indifference and passivity and that's why the Velvet Revolution started after the changes in most other European communism countries. I think that makers of such comedies with "slight glimpses of anti-regime humor" were neither too cowardly, nor too courageous, but they surely did very well financially in communism and the communists didn't think it was a fatal problem. It still seems more accurate to count them as "loosely affiliated tools serving communism" than as "parts of the generalized anti-communist efforts" but of course things are subtle.

The 1990s were the freest decade in the Czech history and the humor (e.g. the TV humor in the Czech Soda program) was correspondingly unbounded.

At any rate, with its War on Humor that is apparently being prepared, the European Union is entering a completely uncharted territory. It is really an attack on a fundamental building block of the humanity (and especially our national character), something that was believed to survive (and exist independently of) all conceivable regimes. Needless to say, humor wouldn't be the first similarly essential value that would become a target of these disgusting worthless unelected parasitic fanatical sourballs.

And that's the memo.

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