Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In Defense of Teasing

Everyone should read this excellent article in defense of teasing. Bans on teasing and other forms of social communication are all part of -- and an enforcement of -- the post-existentialist, postmodernist world view that we are all socially isolated atoms. In the end, this is a dehumanizing ideology. Certainly it has brought us many good things, like attention to sexual harassment and bullying, which, as the author of the article points out, are not at all the same thing as teasing. It shows a suspension of judgment to insist that they are the same -- but then, postmodernism is all about suspending judgment as well. When postmodernism becomes politically correct bullying, as is the case with rules against teasing, laws against smoking in bars, etc., it poisons the well of humanity. If you want to believe that we are all socially alienated atoms amongst true communication with others is impossible, that's your business. But don't force it down the throat of all the rest of us who know better.

I"m increasingly convinced that one of the key features of postmodernism is its humorlessness. Even with people, like Kurt Vonnegut, who use humor in their work. Now there's a postmodern ironic stance for you: humorless humor. Yet how can you read someone like Vonnegut and not come away with that opinion of him? And while it seems that most postmodernists are on the Left, such as the ever-increasingly humorless Al Franken and Jeneane Garaffalo, the Right-leaning neocons aren't exactly the exemplars of humor (Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are decidedly not neocons, by the way). Teasing is a form of humor -- thus the postmodernist must ban it, since it is nothing like them, and nothing they seem to understand.

Even more importantly, the author suggests something very interesting: teasing and poetry both have the same origin, in ritual designed to stave off aggression. Ironically, then, the attempts to get rid of teasing to stave off violence are likely actually causing aggression to become violence.

My objections to postmodernism come from someone on the other side of it. I see postmodernism as a necessary stage to go through -- in this sense, postmodernism is much like the metaphor Nietzsche gave of virtue being a tree: the taller the tree, higher the limbs of virtue, the deeper the roots of evil. Postmodernism is a necessary evil to pass through to get to a better, more virtuous, more beautiful existence. One must descend lowest to ascend highest. Unfortunately, the postmodernists don't realize they are in Hell -- and worse, being in Hell, they are busy making life Hell for everyone else.
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