True Myths And False Lies
True Myths and False Lies
Americans are loud. Germans drink lots of beer. Italians are passionate. Chinese eat live baby mice. Every stereotype has a grain of truth --- The Meddlesome Priest
Nothing is genuine anymore. Even our fakery is fake. It’s now admired in the mainstream. They call it ‘media’. Myths are facts and facts are lies. Lies are true when they’re false and truth is a myth when it’s false. Take for example the recent ‘fact’ proclaimed from the dais of the Okeechobee County Commission meeting recently by commissioner, Bryant Culpepper (third from left below). In answer to the question about how to kill the CORVID-19 virus.
“You hold a blow dryer up to your face and you inhale with your nose and it kills all the viruses in your nose.”
--- Bryant Cullpepper (source: https://nypost.com/2020/03/23/florida-politician-says-coronavirus-cured-by-blowing-hairdryer-up-nose/ )
Which raises the philosophical question, “Are there grains of truth in all myths and stereotypes? And is that the essence of Comedy?” Yes! I say yes! The essence of comedy is misperception. That’s why we laugh at Commissioner Culpeper. While it might be true that sticking a blow-dryer up your nose will kill ‘something, probably you, it was instantly hilarious.
Why? Well, in the first-place, Aristotle put it nicely “Man is the only animal that laughs.” (in the Latin:Homo risibilis-laughable man). Laughing is an abstraction from the real, the true, the good, and the beautiful. Laughter only happens spontaneously. It comes as a shock to the perception. It catches us by surprise. It’s preceded by a moment’s confusion. It’s unexpected. “We didn’t see it coming.” It’s out of the ‘ordinary’. This is most true of visual laughter stunts raised to an art form by ‘slapstick’ comedians. Perfected in the 16th century exaggerated physical comedy commedia dell'arte the term refers to an actual "slap stick" which consists of two thin slats of wood, which make a "slap" when striking another actor, still popular in the Punch and Judy puppet shows to amuse children.
No one laughs deliberately except to deceive or entertain. We need something unusual to happen either physically or mentally to prompt out laugh. Millions of YouTubers are addicted to clips of people, dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and other exotic animals physical slipping, falling or otherwise hurting themselves which we see as ‘comical’ just because it’s ‘out of the ordinary’. The biggest laughs come when these mishaps are the result of human stupidity, drunkenness, and/or debauchery. Men and women dressed in ‘drag’ are always good for a laugh. It’s unusual, unnatural and that makes it funny. Quite often when we see a corpulent human body stuffed in yoga pants, we just chuckle to ourselves, “Ah…20 pounds of potatoes stuffed in a 5-pound sack.”
Something disturbing in human nature triggers our impulse to laugh at the misfortune of others, be it circumstantial or physical beyond the victim’s control. Why is that? Is it because we’re glad not to be that person we laugh at, that ‘fool’? This is the mean side of humor making us think we are ‘better’ than someone less fortunate. After all, we did not choose our physical circumstances at birth. We can only make the best of what we have been endowed. Humor gets dark in the mind.
Mental prompts for laughter are more elaborate than physical misadventures. Even though there are no ‘races’ in human biology, nevertheless we laugh at ‘racist’ jokes. When we look at a menu in a Chinese restaurant, we mentally muse if anyone in the neighborhood has reported a missing pet recently. Thought police condemn such humor as ‘racist’, but, it’s rooted in some grain of truth otherwise it wouldn’t be funny to think about. Anyone familiar with the WET MARKETS in China knows with certainty that the putrid conditions in the Wuhan, China meat markets are a swarming petri dish for viral pathogens occasioned by exotic fish entrails and animals closely caged and kept alive until slaughtered in front of the buyer creating putrid conditions of blood, entrails, sinew, and awful.
Mental stereotypes are inevitable. If every time you left your home you were viciously attacked by a 7 foot tall beaded oriental man dressed in a green and pink polka-dot dress and wielding a baseball bat, what do you suppose your reaction would be if you moved to another country and the first person you met was a 7 foot tall beaded oriental man dressed in a green and pink polka-dot dress and wielding a baseball bat? Would we blame you for running away from this creature? Would we condemn you and try to shame you as a racist, xenophobe, homophobe? Surely not! Would you run up to this person and extend a warm welcome? Perhaps, you would if your last name were Gandhi or Christ. ot only do stereotypes have some truth in their foundation that is invalidly predicated on all other members of that ‘type’, but there could be no humor, jokes, and comedy in general were this not so.
Our syllabus of false lies is as long as it is troubling. A man cannot be a woman, nor a woman a man. But that’s a lie if we replace feeling for logic and biology. In this way the lie becomes true for a moment until it’s judged false. We have Ludwig Wittgenstein to thank for that. He thought of himself as a philosopher. Many concur in that designation. But that’s another false lie that becomes a true myth in the minds of the mad. How could someone actually be a philosopher whose whole life bent towards destroying not only the very basic concepts of philosophy’ reality, truth, goodness, and beauty but the very philosophical inclination itself to find these jewels of intellect? Ludwig Wittgenstein (April 26, 1889–April 29, 1951) was a young man fresh from the gory fields of WW1. In his seminal work, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Ludwig chops reality, truth, goodness and beauty down to; “The limit of my language is the limit of my world”. Rubbish! Fiddle-faddle!
Then, between the World Wars he writes coded diaries about his secret boyfriends; mathematics student David Pinsent, philosopher Frank Ramsey, the much-younger medical student Ben Richards, architect Francis Skinner, and one boy in particular, Ben Richards. The homosexual guilt grew like barnacles on a boat with every seduction. Then, a few months before he croaks, he recants the Tractatus drivel with even more cryptic drivel in ON CERTAINTY, “If I want the door to turn, the hinges must stay put. My life consists in my being content to accept many things." - Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty, 1950, Sections: 341-344; published in 1969.
So, which is it Ludwig? Is it there are there things and we can know them? Or can we only know our words and nothing more than language? To claim both are true is pure Balderdash! Eyewash! Tummy rot!
That said, Ludwig certainly knows his doors and his hinges. I’ll give him that. He should have taken up carpentry like that Nazarene lad...what’s his name. No wonder cupcakes are traumatized in philosophy class with bullshit like that being slung about like a stripper hiding her titties doing a fan dance for drunks at the Old Howard Theater in Scally Square’s 1950’s Boston. Though Ludwig was from one of the wealthiest families in Austrian, half Jewish and half Catholic, there was not enough money on the planet to pay for his psychiatric therapy to purge all his furtive guilt.
Alas, he died a peaceful death, we are told, at the tender age of 62. “Tell them i lived a wonderful life.” are said to be his last words. Sure, the cupcakes want to know, but their professor has left the classroom for good. Was old Ludwig just playing a word game when he said it? Or, was he swinging on a door stayed put by objective, universal, absolute hinges of reality, truth, goodness, and beauty? And if there is no objective meaning why in the world would he want to “Tell them I lived a wonderful life?” Queer, is it not? If there is no reality, truth, goodness, nor beauty, then what difference does it make that he lived a wonderful life?
Only Aristotle knows for sure.
What we do know is that our contemporary Syllabus of False Lies and True Myths sprang from the conflicted mind of a man who wanted to be a philosopher by destroying philosophy. But, at least he never stuck a hair-dryer up his nose to kill a Chinese virus.
So, remember kids. If a Myth is true, then it’s a lie, and if a lie is false, then it’s true. Got that?
As one of the smartest people I know, Alex Madajian, once wrote; “An intellectual is someone for whom you must explain what common sense is.”
--- The Meddlesome Priest