Hat tip to Chris Trommater for this one…
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“They laughed at my genius! They laughed at me! How dare they laugh…I’ll destroy them all! MuaHaHaHaHaHa!”
On top of this, skeptics are often thought of as humorless curmudgeons, which really doesn’t help much for our PR when we occasionally lend credence to it by being scowlers.
It’s also time to admit that there are a lot of people who, while not innately stupid, knowingly & willfully embrace illogic, stupidity and ignorance as virtues, and worse, promote the same to others as well, using some very effective marketing strategies and fallacious rhetorical techniques that resonate well with those untrained in critical thinking skills.
Many of the claims such people promote are so absurd that they deserve a wee laugh now and then, to be showcased as the seething, brain-numbing idiocy that they are…
…especially when NOT mocking would be lending a dangerous amount of credibility to claims to those who might then uncritically accept them.
Humor as a weapon of skepticism, done rather well by skillful communicators like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Tim Minchin, George Hrab, and Dara O’Briain in performance and in the skeptical literature by fellows like James Randi and Richard Wiseman.
A rule I try to follow: Humor should be in good taste, even if the targets don’t “get it.” — never stoop to their level and adopt their tactics.
But a joke well-crafted and executed is a reward in itself, to be enjoyed as a fine work of art, ever more so if the one it’s directed at reacts well to it, that is, defensively and with much thin skin, for that shows it has its desired effect, perhaps even with their clientele.
What are your views on the use of humor as a tool to criticize nonsense and for public outreach?
How effective to you think it is or can be?
MNQ is a question that I pose to you, my readers, and is posted each Monday at 12:00 PM. Do feel free to comment, and don’t worry yerselves overmuch… I’m not an ogre and I don’t bite…much.