Friday, January 26, 2007

the medium and the message

One of my favorite aussie comedians is Barry Humphries. He has managed to take satire to dizzying new heights throughout his career and at 72 years old, he is still performing on the West End and Broadway. I think his genius is his ability to expose the absurdities of life and the false pretense of things like wealth, glamour, and fame. In an article I just read (from the Melbourne newspaper, The Sunday Age - ‘Life Magazine’) he was quoted as saying something that made me think more widely about our own efforts as a community to undermine the false idols of our culture and even our Christian religion.

“My assaults on suburbia were my only defense against the creeping boredom that Melbourne in the 1950’s seemed to exude…There were plenty of angry young men in my youth but they always seemed to blunt their attacks by being too serious.

So here’s my confession: I felt this comment poke me in the chest…I have been far too serious about many things I care about deeply. Joy (again) is the right medium for all kinds of serious things. No doubt we need some seriousness mixed in but my own bias is toward morbidity and it has blunted the very message I hope to proclaim – the message of good news.


billy said...


Its great to see you sliding back into your native culture...I only wish that I could be there for the tour. We're trying to keep things here at home base light with the Stephen Colbert daily calendar. Ryan, Greg, and I have gotten a lot of cheap laughs from his jabs at everything and everyone (especially those in postions of serious power and influence). But what makes Colbert's work so funny is his refusal to take himself too seriously and his willingness to be lampooned along with those whom he is lampooning. Your point is well taken......if not easily practiced!

lisa said...

Geoff, this is why I tell stories. If I mostly wrote or spoke about what troubles me directly, I think the weight would become so great, I couldn't bear it.

I think I write stories to give myself hope as much as to anyone who reads them.