Friday, September 9, 2011

A Fireman, an Airplane Passenger, and a Trapped Office Worker Walk Into a Bar

Last night in my nonfiction writing class, the instructor was discussing how tragic events require a significant passage of time before one is able to write about them. A woman who miscarries, a victim of crime, or a soldier returning from the battlefield sometimes need years to process and to heal before they can begin to express their points of view through their writing. She used 9/11 as an example—how after a decade we are starting to see a slew of essays, books, and films on the subject, and comedians are now able to parody the events of 9/11 . . . hold on . . . whoa . . . back up, lady. WHAT?

My professor was in the middle of her lecture to the class, so I couldn't interrupt her, but I really wanted to ask her for her sources. Comedians? JOKING? About 9/11? Now, I can believe that some moron might post stupid, profanity-laced quips on his facebook page. I can imagine a group of wannabe Al-Qaedas chilling in a basement somewhere, chugging down fermented cactus juice and drunkenly bragging about all the Americans they're going to kill some day. But a professional performer attempting to find humor—even the darkest—in an event that ripped the heart out of this country? Career suicide, if you ask me.

Maybe someone is standing on a stage somewhere riffing into the mic about radical Islam or US government conspiracies or orphaned children. Perhaps a sketch comedy group in Los Angeles or Chicago or New York City really believes that there's nothing too sacred to joke about. I don't believe it. I WON'T believe it.

If you're not laughing yet, you can read my notes from a couple years ago on where I was and what went through my mind on 9/11.

Dinner last night: pork chops and stuffing

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly three years ago:


Karen Mortensen said...

9-11 was not funny. I can't believe people are joking about it. Glad I have never heard any of it. I don't watch tv that much any more.

Unknown said...

I am not sure what they would find to joke about either.

Making It Work Mom said...

A agree career suicide. I can't believe they could find anything funny about 9/11.

Karen M. Peterson said...

It's not funny and it never will be. And I don't want to have anything to do with a comedian who jokes about it or an audience who laughs.

motheroad said...

Humor is a coping mechanism. It's not a denial of tragedy; it's a way to process the unprocessable. When people make jokes about something horrendous, it's - well, it's a very human response. It's an acknowledgment that there's a light, however small, in the middle of the darkness.

If you don't personally use humor to process tragedy, at least have the grace not to think yourself superior to those who do.