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Monday, March 5, 2012

And now for something completely different

This blog gives me an unfortunate excuse to buy every word book that crosses my path. Yesterday, it gave me the excuse to buy From Hue and Cry to Humble Pie by Judy Parkinson, to which I owe this post.
According to Parkinson, the Monty Python comedy troupe borrowed the catchphrase, and the title for their first feature film, and now for something completely different from the evening news. Parkinson says that news programs used to use the expression "as a jolly link between two unconnected items." This is how you know that this book was written in England; Parkinson is too polite to say that news programs used the expression as a jolly link when they were too busy to come up with a segue. Myself, I like to start new and unrelated paragraphs with Also and hope nobody notices. Or hope, at least, that my readers will find me capricious and whimsical and forgive me. But I digress, another thing I do because I'm capricious and whimsical. 
I didn't really like Monty Python upon my first experience; please don't hurt me for it. I'd had no exposure to the Pythons until I saw Monty Python's Meaning of Life in college, and it didn't really do anything for me. I realized later that the reason was that I'd heard every single line quoted by everyone I knew. The problem with that is that Monty Python is funny because it's utterly absurd and unexpected (nobody expects the... wait a minute, that's what got us into this mess in the first place). Every Sperm is Sacred is hilarious, except when a bunch of college kids who aren't original enough to come up with their own shtick burst out singing it with no provocation on a daily basis. 

Now before I gave up worrying and learned to love the Pythons, people would look at me like I'd ordered the veal every time I said I didn't like them. People often intimated what one silly gentleman once came out and said, "Monty Python really does take a certain amount of intelligence to appreciate." Meaning that apparently, one needs an advanced degree to appreciate "I fart in your general direction."

And one must be a member of MENSA to laugh at silly walks.

I didn't put those examples up to support my previous, unenlightened opinion, by the way. They're there to show that it's not the supposed heady intellectualism of the performers or the audience that make these things funny, it's the seriousness with which the Pythons approach the absurdity that makes them hilarious. And, of course, the absurd amount of talent that the Pythons had amassed between them. They were funny, if you'll pardon me for saying so, because they were completely different. See what I did there?
Of the guy who accused me of being an idiot for not liking a thing that he liked, a similar point could be made. It's not his heady intellectualism that made him an obnoxious twit, it's the absurdity of his thinking that his interest in a sketch comedy show made him a better person than people who do not like said sketch comedy show.

And now, for something completely different. 

(It was between this and the very angry cat, and I went with this because I hate Titanic and I feel very bad for the very angry cat, who probably had to be put down. Or, like another cat I know, fobbed off on some poor suckers who now have to lock their cat away when guests are over so that he doesn't horribly murder them.)

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