Steven R. D. Henderson
The left is starting to get better at comedy and it’s making righties nervous. For laughter holds hopeful seeds of a different world.
Humour and democracy are similar. Adam Krause explains the former requires, “An understanding of, and an ability to move between, various modes of speaking and being.” The latter needs cooperation with that same difference. It’s for this reason those with power — unable to see society as outsiders to the dominant culture — are usually less funny than those without. As utopians, Srsly Wrong are a good example.
In a recent episode, Shawn Vulliez and Aaron Moritz spoke with social ecologists. The discussions explore different areas of this field with periodic amusing breaks. From the Bumper Sticker (B.S.) Bros failure to fit an ideology in a single slogan, to old friends talking about problems with class reductionism, the recording has a wide scope. But what made me chuckle the most were the skits mentioning Boss Spot, Pyramid Goggles and 1% Escapes.
The first of these is a podcast within a podcast—one from the perspective of bosses and anti-social, anti-ecologists. Here arguments for hierarchy in human society based on nature are revealed as the absurdities they are. Deeply ironic, this section reminds us that these sorts of claims are as ridiculous as the notion your white blood cells are little landlords carrying out pandemic evictions.
Pyramid Goggles are the pretend sponsors of this episode. A product promising to align your vision with the most important shape, this section reminds us of the nearsightedness that hierarchy inflicts on the way we see things. One example might be how women are generally funnier than men—a simple yet unrecognized fact running counter to sexism’s common sense.
The final sketch is on the 1% fleeing the climate crisis. Set during worsening problems over the next century, it looks at advertisements targeting the wealthy avoiding social unrest; underground bunker promotions; a commercial aimed at the surviving subterranean inbred ultra rich families; and finally an announcement from the computer overlords of dome-enclosed workcamps warning against escape.
This robot-ruled future is not set in stone. An idea presented with humour is more persuasive than if it were shown seriously. When the issue at hand is imagining alternatives amidst environmental catastrophe, this is reason for optimism.
 Adam Krause. The Revolution will be Hilarious & Other Essays. New Compass Press. 2018.