As I go back and look at this blog, I found myself writing about several subjects, taking the attitude of a bona fide know-it-all, when the reality is I barely know anything. This isn’t a matter of feeling sorry for myself, but an acknowledgement of self. It’s easy to be a know-it-all, but it’s far, far harder to become educated and knowledgeable about a subject. As blogging is becoming far more specialized and trend is for niche blogging, it is tempting to become a specialist and try to be an expert on one particular thing. People seek out the advice and knowledge of experts, even if the word “expert” is repellant in this day and age. The comfort in being able to fall back on the words of an expert or someone with above-average knowledge of subject matter is reassuring. It is comforting.
Which brings me to the biggest question question – who am I as a blogger?
My degree is in History, General History to be exact. I do have a separate history blog to which I haven’t posted in a long while (I intend to change that soon). I have been a semi-successful writer in my life, though it’s been a long time since I actually jumped headlong into the writing world. Being a proud father of several cats, I have a wealth of experience taking care of felines and, considering cats are one of the top searches out there, it would be natural to declare myself an expert in all things feline. Then there’s my comic strip art, which I mostly abandoned over the years due to a lack of an audience and the loss of joy in the work due to “life happening.” I am a Star Trek and Babylon 5 enthusiast, a lover of travel, and have a passion for cooking, the law, and politics. I possess all these qualities and abilities, some in abundance, some in plenty. The reality, however, is that I have no genuine expertise beyond practical application. So, in reality, you could argue I have no identity as a blogger except for one thing: humor.
I love to write funny and silly stuff. I find humor and laughter in the most idiotic things. Stories about “Florida Man” nearly make me wet my pants. A good meme involving a political topic which is both idiotic and hypocritical gets me chuckling. Family and friends often share amusing items about subjects ranging from sports to food. Everything from Smudge the Cat to Mordor to trolling tickle me. More to the point, I love to share those things with others. I enjoy knowing people can laugh at what I share.
A former colleague of mine on my school paper once came to my defense when I was attacked over my humor column. A reader and former staff member claimed that all I did was make stupid jokes when there were far more important things to write about in this world. He defended me in the most unlikely way one could imagine – he argued that humor was needed because we were all being so serious. He was right – humor is necessary, but not just any sort of humor. Right now, what is needed in this world is universal humor – the sort which makes light of any subject, no matter how serious, sacred, or slanted. Yes, there are plenty of websites and content creators out there who focus on humor at the expense of a political target in order to advance cause or ideology, but precious few creators who can take stuff they actually cherish – their own “sacred cows,” if you will – and poke fun at those things and make light of them not because those subjects are so funny, but because those who support those positions are often so over-the-top, a dose of humor is necessary to ease the tension. For every Onion, there’s a Babylon Bee. Political cartoons and satire are available in spades.
Let’s be clear, things such as the January 6th attack on the Capitol are definitely not humorous, but the notion that the firm Cyber Ninjas actually found more votes for Joe Biden following a QAnon and Trump-driven audit of votes in Arizona is hysterical. Issues with Critical Race Theory are not funny at all, but Terry McAuliffe losing because he managed to be more over-the-top than Donald Trump is a rib tickler. Misinformation and over-the-top thinking which says “if you don’t support my views, you’re my mortal enemy,” has grown poisonous to our society, so maybe I have found my online identity; using humor to educate and help heal. It’s easy to pick fights over ideology, it’s hard to generate belly laughs as a way to teach everyone that life isn’t all about who has the right idea and wrong idea. Of course, leveraging a chuckle to explain the minutia of the law is genuine art. Any sort of laughter is needed right now, but the most important sort is being able to laugh at ourselves. A little shameless self-promotion (see ad above) never hurts either.
So yeah, maybe I have found my identity. What’s needed isn’t the same old stuff, but something fresh. Maybe that’s what I can provide. Who knows?
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One thought on “Humor is my identity”
Reblogged this on Sheila's Corner and commented:
My friend John has so nicely put humor in perspective. As he points out, it is good to be able to laugh at oneself. I love his writing because I always tend to agree with his points of human absurdities and how we all miss the point that we have those moments as well. Maybe I’m biased, but nonetheless, I always enjoy his insights. Good to hear from you my friend.