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Lousy Jokes, Lousy Thinking

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One Liners Bring Mental Impotence, Kakistocracy, & Bin Laden’s Silencing

Americans love & fascination for one-liners does not make for a mood propitious to learning how to appreciate, let alone forge, long views.

Glenn Andrews: This is, I think, a brilliant observation, and possibly difficult to appreciate for anyone living in the U.S. The one-liner style of verbal exchange has meant the near-extinction of actual conversation.

Patrice Ayme:  Thanks Glenn. What got me to this conclusion was to watch French comics versus American comics. A joke that has to appear within a few words, cannot be that deep. In France a joke can build up for two minutes before the punchline.

Glenn Andrews: I’m afraid it’s worse than that. American speech patterns have been so heavy influenced by TV situation comedies that regular conversations are now little more than one-liner exchanges. In other words, no really conversations at all. Cleverness and quickness trump continuity.

Patrice: Yes, indeed, Glenn. I am experiencing this all the time, and readily getting into clashes with so-called “friends” about this (both the fleshy kind and facebook types). For example one cannot go on so-called philosophy groups without experiencing the glib, or the half-liners. It’s not just the one-liners straight out of Hollywood soap operas, it’s also the fact that “smart” people are “cool” if they can pick up the “cues”, from “body language”. I remember, long ago, the Department Chair at Stanford University Math Department, who could not explain some administrative decision at all. He could not find the words, or the ideas. Not at all. Finally he mumbled: “It’s hard to say”. I was stunned: after all, math is a language: was a mumbling clown the best that one of the (supposedly) best universities could present to the world? Somebody who talked only by saying nothing? With non-saids? Little did I know that, in the following decades, I would be increasingly confronted to mumbling fools, incapable of expressing themselves besides getting red in the face (under my prodding, I must admit).

Last week the president of the USA himself spent like forever, officially listening to lousy jokes in a huge room, during a long dinner. Jokes such as: “Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic as he carries a fox on his head.

Thinking Superbly Is More Morally & Vitally Crucial Than At Any Time Before
Thinking Superbly Is More Morally & Vitally Crucial Than At Any Time Before

Thinking Superbly Is More Morally & Vitally Crucial Than At Any Time Before

However now supporting tyrants consists into learning to think in such an ineffective way that one cannot even see them for the tyrants they are.

One-Liners are to thinking what junk food is to correct nutrition.

The present system of mind control is more sneaky than at any time before. As Montaigne’s friend. la Boétie pointed out five centuries ago, the reign of plutocracy (so-called then “nobles”, or, later, “aristocrats”) depends upon the accord of those it oppresses. Contemplate his “Discourse On Voluntary Servitude”. it was also entitled: “Contr’Un” (“Anti-One”), or “Anti-Dictator

Here is an extract:

“The Grand Turk was well aware that books and teaching more than anything else give men the sense to comprehend their own nature and to detest tyranny.Why dictators burn books. I understand that in his territory there are few educated people, for he does not want many. On account of this restriction, men of strong zeal and devotion, who in spite of the passing of time have preserved their love of freedom, still remain ineffective because, however numerous they may be, they are not known to one another; under the tyrant they have lost freedom of action, of speech, and almost of thought; they are alone in their aspiration.”

Sounds familiar?

Books and teaching are bad for dictators. One-liners are much better: expose enough people long enough to enough of them, and they won’t know how to think. Appreciating one-liners is a form of religion, as it ties minds which learn to become so inclined, together. A religion of the superficial, short and canned.

Difference with five centuries ago? Or any times before? The stakes are much higher now.

Patrice Ayme’

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