CSotD: Friday Funny-Not-Funnies

I would have used this Existential Comics discussion yesterday if I’d realized the concept of theft and/or compensation was going to be debated in the comments. I like our comments section and appreciate that the great bulk of entries are genuine conversation, whether I agree with them or not.

But theories don’t pay the rent.

Existential Comics gets much of its humor from exploiting the gap between theory and practice, the sort of absurdity Gulliver encountered in the land of Laputa, where, as Wikipedia explains, the brilliant inhabitants “are unable to construct well-designed clothing or buildings, as they despise practical geometry as ‘vulgar and mechanick’. The houses are ill-built, lacking any right angles, and the clothes of Laputans, which are decorated with astrological symbols and musical figures, do not fit, as they take measurements with instruments such as quadrants and a compass rather than with tape measures.

At roughly the same time, Bishop Berkeley was advancing the theory that all reality is subjective, which makes a great deal of sense as a metaphysical discussion point but ought not to be applied directly to the real world, as Samuel Johnson pointed out:

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, I refute it thus’.”

This is now condemned as a logical fallacy known as “appeal to the stone” because it contains more contradiction than actual refutation: By Berkeley’s theory, Johnson only thought he had kicked a stone but hadn’t actually proved it.

But that’s a Laputan approach. At roughly the same time, Rousseau was advancing the theory of the Social Contract, and if he was occasionally naive, at least he mixed a bit of humanity in with his reasoning. For that matter, even Hobbes, heartless as he may seem, considered human behavior along with his political theorizing.

Too Much Coffee Man boils it all down considerably, refuting one particularly moronic response to the theory of evolution and offering a riposte that likely offends the logicians but should delight those living on this planet.

Assuming that this is an actual planet and that we genuinely live here, which is impossible to logically prove but seems to have worked for me so far.

I was going to save Paul Berge’s piece for a day of political discussion, but it fits in so well with the battle between logic and humanity that here it is now, demonstrating the aforementioned gap between theory and practice, and the best part is Ron De Santis looking around to find out what he believes.

But enough serious talk. Let’s go to the funny pages:

Lovely timing on this Bliss (Tribune), because it came out just after a pair of young dog park friends got married, the discussion of which brought back the memory of my about-to-be wife and I wanting to get married on Mt. Evans but then recognizing the number of grandmas involved and the logistics of getting them to 14,000 feet in the first place, much less sustaining them up there for any amount of time.

We got married in Denver instead and most of the grandmas already lived at 6,000 feet or so, which made things easier.

My friends were planning to get married on an island where they have often camped, and had the good sense to limit their guest list to 10 people. But when they got to the boat rental, they were told the boat they had reserved was not available after all, and could they maybe come back the next day?

They managed, however, and here we once again see the humorous interplay between theory and reality.

One of the reasons I hate weddings is the frequency with which the build up of Barbie’s Theoretical Dream Wedding collides with reality and nobody can cope. The best weddings include a certain amount of wotthehell, which then extends into the best marriages.

High on the list of Best Marriages is the Maclellans of Wallace the Brave (AMS). He’s stranded at sea with a broken fuel filter and she’s going to bring him a replacement. Probably.

The strip manages to slip in a lot of practical reality, and certainly a multi-generational lobsterman would have such a tool shed full of things that might come in handy one day and would be critically important on the rare occasions that happened.

One of my favorite photos from my time in Maine is this shot of every dairy farmer for 15 miles around, who flocked to help at a fire. They got his cows and even his hay out of the barn, which was only scorched, not burnt.

But the tragedy was that it was his tool shed that was gone, along with all those generations of odd jars and drawers of things that probably would never be needed but would be critical if ever they were.

By contrast, most of us fill our lives with things we have never needed and will never need but can’t possibly live without, and Mike Stokoe (Spectator) supplies proof that British TV watchers are also inundated with those commercials in which the doorbell camera foils a burglar.

I’ve seen recordings of porch pirates, though not being captured as they are in the commercials, but most of what I’ve seen from doorbell cameras has been curious bears and firework displays that prove Too Much Coffee Man’s theory.

Yeah, I know — “Better safe than sorry.” Well, it’s safe enough where I live and I’d be sorry to waste money on paranoid crap, so there ya go.

They Can Talk makes light of a seasonal blight and thank goodness the geese here separate for breeding season and only gather when it’s time to go crap on golf courses and college campuses well to our south.

I used to visit a campus that was covered in goose poop, and my solution would have been a border collie or two that would visit regularly and run them off. But I guess that would lead to demonstrations by the Goose Rights Movement or somebody.

As the old poem put it, “Boy, I’m glad the cow can’t fly.”

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funny-Not-Funnies

  1. The September 4 /New Yorker/ has a Kendra Allenby cartoon in which a young woman is addressed by the odd-looking lidded carafe she is holding: “Save me for thirty years, bring me every place you move, and in return, at the end of that time, I’ll be exactly what you need for five minutes.”

    No indication she’s involved with either cows or lobsters.

  2. Whenever I walk past a certain house in the neighborhood and hear a robot say “Hi, you are being recorded,” I do a little dance. I just hope they don’t trademark my likeness.

  3. This one is the best EC so far: https://existentialcomics.com/comic/482
    Simone Weil Takes Ethics 101
    Why do the ethics teachers never ask ‘is it moral to hoard wealth in the face of poverty’?
    The author’s commentary is spot-on:
    “Simone Weil thought that all ethics, and even all religions, ultimately amounted to the same thing once they were properly understood. She pointed out that there were certain similarities between every moral system history. For example, every religious and moral system has always said that if a rich man walks by a poor and starving man, he is obligating to give him money and food. Another interesting one is that every moral system agrees that people in power should be punished for moral digressions more than people without power and responsibility. For example, more or less everyone agrees that a coach should be punished for cheating more than a player, because they have more power and authority, so their cheating is a higher level of corruption.

    Weirdly, when we look at actual societies, these universally agreed upon moral rules have never been applied. For example, in every society there have been rich men and staving poor who go unhelped. In every society the rich and powerful get away with crimes far more than the powerless masses. Why the disconnect? It’s almost enough to make you think society is not organized around moral principles.”

    1. “Every Old World society” perhaps. As I’ve mentioned before, the Lakota took good care of their poor and elderly, giving them hand-me-down equipment and tent covers as well as horses from successful raids. (I assume this applies to other Northern Plains people but have learned not to assume when it comes to cultural matters.)

      The point isn’t that we should go back to the 19th century but that it has worked and it can work and we just don’t want it to happen. That’s on us.

  4. In the whotthehell category of weddings, my wife’s niece, a chef, returned to her rural Wisconsin hometown for her wedding. A meticulous planner, she had the menu and everything else all set. The day of the wedding the caterer didn’t show up ,insisting the wedding was the next week. Someone ran to the grocery store and got pre cut trays of cheese and sausage. No one starved but, the point in mentioning this is that we all had a good time and they remain happliy married many years later. Plus, they’ve got this wedding story that makes others sound boring by comparison

  5. “and the best part is Ron De Santis looking around to find out what he believes.”

    No, the best part is DeSantis still wearing his Sailor Moon cosplay boots. That never gets old.

  6. Thanks, Mike — and you, too, AJ. You’ve made my day. (But frankly, every one of us but Varvel and Goodwin draws DesAntis with those boots.)

Comments are closed.