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Thread: Morbid Humor

  1. #31
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Has anyone seen the movie Funny Games? There are two versions: one in English and the other in German.

    Is that the product of morbid humor or is it sick?
    Ohgod, I heard about this recently. I start losing perspective when it gets into recursive patterns like this ("okay wait, are they really making fun of torture or are they criticizing a culture that takes torture lightly? but they're kind of taking torture lightly so are they criticizing themselves? AARRGGHH!!").

    This is a topic I've long struggled with- the morbid and the disturbing are interesting and horrifying to me. When I was 18 I read American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. I didn't finish it at that time, so I didn't get to the ambivalently redemptive ending which I won't spoil here. I could not at that time handle the descriptions of brutal torture and murder alongside passages cataloguing the work of Phil Collins, the art form of business cards, and so on. I actually threw the book away. As a bibliophile, having done that bothered me for many years so a couple of years ago I steeled myself and tried it again. I'm better able to detach and review the social commentary now than I was then, and while it was most definitely disturbing, I didn't consider it evil or defiling like I did before.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  2. #32
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    Excellently explained. Yes, that's about it. If you don't agree with the view of the subtext, you probably won't find it funny no matter how much you get the joke. It's created as an all-or-nothing joke, I guess. Either it hits home or it misses completely, and in the latter case it will seem cruel to use such heavy ammunition.
    I don't know if I agree with the subtext 100%, but I can see where the artist is coming from. I think it's a perfectly valid opinion and that they are right to 'say' it. Society needs people who don't pretend the Emperor is wearing clothes and who aren't afraid to speak up. I mean, so what if from where I'm sitting the Emperor is wearing a thong? It's not exactly a tuxedo.
    Last edited by cafe; 04-03-2008 at 12:10 PM. Reason: added quote for context
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  3. #33
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Ohgod, I heard about this recently. I start losing perspective when it gets into recursive patterns like this ("okay wait, are they really making fun of torture or are they criticizing a culture that takes torture lightly? but they're kind of taking torture lightly so are they criticizing themselves? AARRGGHH!!").
    Lol, I know. It irritates me when people aren't clear on exactly what they're making fun of. I normally skip it all together if I can't understand what they're trying to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    This is a topic I've long struggled with- the morbid and the disturbing are interesting and horrifying to me. When I was 18 I read American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. I didn't finish it at that time, so I didn't get to the ambivalently redemptive ending which I won't spoil here. I could not at that time handle the descriptions of brutal torture and murder alongside passages cataloguing the work of Phil Collins, the art form of business cards, and so on. I actually threw the book away. As a bibliophile, having done that bothered me for many years so a couple of years ago I steeled myself and tried it again. I'm better able to detach and review the social commentary now than I was then, and while it was most definitely disturbing, I didn't consider it evil or defiling like I did before.
    Oh, a book is too much for me. I can withhold judgment for a while, but not for that long. I probably won't read the book or watch the film. Too disturbing. It has to be a quick reaction or nothing for me. Feel too confused and dirty otherwise. Still, I can totally understand why others come to a different conclusion. I'm just a bit too sensitive, so though I can rationally see why it's probably a great book, my Fi will make me put it somewhere low on my "books I should read" list and keep putting new books above it.
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

  4. #34
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I consider it a "great book," actually- it's interesting, and it makes a number of salient points, but it's certainly not on par with, say, Faulkner IMO. But I feel pretty strongly about the power of language and communication and blah blah blah, so I felt like I had closed off a part of my mind when I threw a book in the trash. (That would be my idealist streak, I guess.) So I had to make peace with the book. I won't be reading it again though.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I can't watch real horror. I mean, I don't even enjoy The Three Stooges, so anything depicting someone (or something) being hurt repeatedly is not something I can do. I can handle fight scenes, but only if they are fast and light. Buffy the Vampire Slayer kind of stuff is about the worst I can handle. I run out of the room crying if it's real, like once in a documentary when a stallion was killing a sick colt and another time when my husband was watching something about the aftermath of a tornado. That stuff just tears me up.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    Senior Member JustDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Maybe a good example of morbid vs disturbing:

    Morbid: Edward Gorey
    Disturbing: Francis Bacon

    Morbid: Lemony Snicket
    Disturbing: H.R. Giger

    Morbid: Al Gore
    Disturbing: George W. Bush

    Any questions?
    I've a good example of what I consider morbid.

    One of my coworkers has car crash pictures on the wall of his cubicle. Its funny yet at the same time, distinctly creepy.

  7. #37
    Senior Member JustDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    Lol, I know. It irritates me when people aren't clear on exactly what they're making fun of. I normally skip it all together if I can't understand what they're trying to say.



    Oh, a book is too much for me. I can withhold judgment for a while, but not for that long. I probably won't read the book or watch the film. Too disturbing. It has to be a quick reaction or nothing for me. Feel too confused and dirty otherwise. Still, I can totally understand why others come to a different conclusion. I'm just a bit too sensitive, so though I can rationally see why it's probably a great book, my Fi will make me put it somewhere low on my "books I should read" list and keep putting new books above it.
    I know I will get in trouble for this as it's off topic, nevertheless I think you probably have the coolest avatar ever. I always knew those bears were little hell spawns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix
    There are several people on the forum who use morbid humor very well like Mort Belfry.
    I think that's because he doesn't actually follow up with any morbidity --
    Morbid humor is not so morbid, unless it's really morbid.
    Not really.

  9. #39
    Resident Snot-Nose GZA's Avatar
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    Morbid humour?

    The Perry Bible Fellowship


    !!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Morbid humour is great because it turns something that is specifically not funny into something funny. Anyone ever heard George Carlin's explanation of how rape can be funny ("imagine Porky Pig raping Elmur Fudd", he says)? Hilarious. Or his rant on how Micky Mouse embodies everything wrong with America and how he hopes Micky dies? Hilarious.


    So why is morbid humour so funny? I don't really know... all I can think of is that it takes soemthing that isn't funny and makes it funny, which magnifies how well you receive it. This also relates to how a poorly placed morbid joke is met with anger.

  10. #40
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    From reading and talking to people I know that morbid humor aka "gallows humor" is prevalent in jobs that deal with death, suffering and just plain ole fucked up things (police, EMT, Fire, etc.). I know this has been mentioned but it's a detaching mechanism, used to try to preserve the mind from letting it have a lasting affect. If you can find a reason to laugh at something it helps make the situation more comfortable. This is one reason people use it but for others it's just naturally funny I guess.

    The point has already been made but I wanted an excuse to introduce the phrase "gallows humor."

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