There is an old adage about laughter being the best medicine. We know that when we laugh that the body produces its own happy hormones, that out pulse rate and blood pressure drop and that we produce less of the stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. In my book Dr Joe’s DIY Health, fun purpose is listed as pillar of health.
In these days of political correctness laughter is a scare commodity and our health is the poorer for it. Yet it wasn’t always so. Movies and TV shows from the 60’s, 70’s and even through to the 90’s remain funny. Fawlty Towers, Cheers and Seinfeld come to mind. More recently Two and a Half Men remains laugh out loud funny. Most of these programs would not get made today.
So, it is great that we can step back in time to a place where not every word had to be self-censored lest somebody somewhere take something the wrong way and complain to a gaggle of government “rights” agencies.
It was great that just prior to Easter, Monty Pythons Life of Brian was “we-weleased” on the big screen to celebrate its 40thanniversary. The movie may well be one of the funniest of all times. Made on a shoestring budget, backed by the late former Beatle George Harrison, like many great movies it almost did not get made. Every studio had turned it down as was deemed blasphemous and too controversial.
In fact, the movie is heretical but not blasphemous. It does not attack god but lampoons how humans can be easily led. The ease with which people are currently led by false prophets is a concern.
Today the film would also not be likely to be made but for different reasons. While Christianity is now regarded as fair game, the Python crew would be regarded as not sufficiently diverse. And of course, there would be huge outcry about Eric Idle’s character Stan wanting to be called Loretta as he wants to have babies.
Despite laughter having many health benefits there is a war on laughter by the PC brigade. Comic genius Barry Humphries had his name removed from an award named after him due to having made remarks that somebody deemed “offensive”.
Humour will always by its nature be potentially offensive if people choose to take it that way. It looks to make light of seriousness. It used to be that the Irish told the best Irish jokes and the Jews the best Jewish jokes as they had the ability to laugh at themselves. I am sure this is still the case. However, self-appointed moral guardians now seek to take offence at everything and often on behalf of others so as to be able to virtue signal their “woke” credentials.
Society suffers as a result of the rule of the humourless. As Voltaire is claimed (by some) to have said,” To know who rules over you find out who you are not allowed to offend”.
Tragedies such as the Sri Lankan bombings on Easter Sunday and Christchurch shootings in March remind us all is not completely well in the world. However there has never been a better time to be alive. Not every problem has been solved but progress over the last 50 years has been exponential.
Laughter never killed anyone. As noted at the outset, the notion that laughter is the best medicine still has validity. Offence can never be given, it can only be taken. There is a real need for many people to lighten up.