Our culture-wide quest for authenticity

wordsmithy“One of our great problems today is that we have gotten caught up in our culture-wide quest for authenticity. We want our jeans authentic (pre-ripped at the factory), we want our apples authentic (grown locally instead of somewhere else), we want our music authentic (underground bands nobody ever heard of), we want our lettuce authentic (organically manured), we want our literature authentic (full of angst), we want our movies authentic (subtitles), and we want our coffee tables authentic (purchased from a genuine peasant while we were on some eco-tour). In short, we are a bunch of phonies. We are superficial all the way down.”

Doug Wilson, Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life16

Humor: the all-consoling (all-excusing) grace of life

Humour is for them the all-consoling and (mark this) the  all-excusing, grace of life. Hence it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame. If a man simply lets others pay for him, he is “mean”; if he boasts of it in a jocular manner and twits his fellows with having been scored off, he is no longer “mean” but a comical fellow. Mere cowardice is shameful; cowardice boasted of with humorous exaggerations and grotesque gestures can passed off as funny. Cruelty is shameful—unless the cruel man can represent it as a practical joke. A thousand bawdy, or even blasphemous, jokes do not help towards a man’s damnation so much as his discovery that almost anything he wants to do can be done, not only without the disapproval but with the admiration of his fellows, if only it can get itself treated as a Joke.

C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters

Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”

— Proverbs 26:18-19

Together for the Gospel guys playing ball

This is hilarious.

C.J. knows what he’s doing, even though Thabiti is all up in his grill.

Chandler, at 6’5” you better be getting a lot of put backs like that.

Could someone inform Dever of the triple-threat position? He looks lost out there.

You call that defense, Platt? Piper’s 65!

If we were on the playground, here’s the order they’d get picked.

  1. C.J. He’s got the skills and the team-first attitude.
  2. Thabiti. He looks like he knows how to throw his weight around.
  3. Chandler. For the height (and lankiness…gotta love lankiness).
  4. DeYoung. Probably a decisive play-maker. (I can just see him yelling at Piper, “Just DO something!”)
  5. Platt. Needs start making some radical changes in his defensive stance.
  6. Lig. Probably solid. Not enough offense to go top 5 though.
  7. Piper. He can preach, but he dribbles with his head down. And he’s little.
  8. Dever. Watch his defense at 14 seconds and notice how no one’s guarding him at 28 seconds. Nuff said.

Mohler on the bench playing with his iPhone is priceless!

Thanks Happy for sending me this. I keep watching it over and over again.

You may not finish watching this…

Oh my. This is bad. Worst speech ever.

If you have hypersensitive sympathetic embarrassment reflex…

I defy you to finish watching this campaign speech.

Favorite part at around 2:54


Small voice from the audience: “drastic measures.”


Cow Tools: Why is Gary Larson So Funny?

I have always loved The Far Side. I think Gary Larson is an insane comedic genius. Yesterday, while I was helping my wife re-organize some boxes, I came across a Far Side collection I forgot I had and became very distracted.

The collection I was reading was called The Prehistory of The Far Side: A 10th Anniversary Exhibit where Larson comments on some of his cartoons and gives background information like what was going on in his mind when he wrote it, why he thought it was funny, and some readers’ responses to them.  I find it absolutely fascinating. And laugh-out-loud hilarious.

He mentions his famous cartoon titled “Cow Tools.” In the early 1980’s, I read, this cartoon stirred a response Larson had never imagined. People wrote him begging for the meaning behind it, saying they had asked everyone they knew to try and identify its punchline, but to no avail. Gary Larson says he regretted writing the cartoon afterward, saying that it wasn’t funny; it was pointless. For months after “Cow Tools” he wanted to hide under his desk and avoid people seeking answers. He also feared he might lose his job as a cartoonist. Nevertheless, later, he acknowledged that all the outcry “Cow Tools” created actually bolstered his career.

Here’s the cartoon:

A blogger said:

What do you make of “Cow Tools?” Questions beckon.

The cow itself is very zen, very much in the moment. This is an in-your-face, right now cow. He looks at you directly, confronting you straight on with his own goofy existence as if to say, “Here I am, a being that makes no sense, yet here I am. Deal with it.”

Read the whole thing here. It’s pretty good.

My question: Is “Cow Tools” funny to you? If so, why?

For all the Gary Larson you can handle: The Complete Far Side 1980-1994 (2 vol set)