Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lighten Up, Francis

It was a Friday night and I saw a lame joke on Facebook that had been posted by one of my more Conservative friends.

I reposted the joke, because it struck me funny. And it was late.

Moments later I got an abusive response from someone I used to know.

It's a joke. The reason why the joke works is that the race card has been overplayed for the last 5 years.

Any time anybody has said anything critical of that half-white fellow who lives in the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue, or noted the similarity of the US economic performance to that during the decades of FDR's administration, the response has been a charge of racism.

I do my best to be indifferent to politics. The only politicians worse than Democrats are Republicans. I want a government that I can safely ignore.

Yet the above pattern of rhetoric ires me because it is like the little boy who cried wolf. Think of it like quantitative easing. The coin of moral outrage is debased by overuse.

Getting angry about that debasement won't do anybody any good, so I choose to respond with humor.

After the abusive response, I replied "Lighten up, Francis."

This produced even more abuse. I realized the fun-loving person I had known and laughed with decades ago had been replaced with a humorless scold who thinks "shut up" is persuasive argument.

Maybe some invasion of the body snatchers scenario was responsible for draining away this person's humanity. More likely something else. All I know is that this was not the person who I used to know.

I had not realized it at the time, but I was administering an anti-Turing test.

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