What Will the World Be When We All Stop Laughing

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What Will the World Be When We All Stop Laughing
What Will the World Be When We All Stop Laughing

We often exercise the power of persuasion in very subtle ways. I saw this happen recently when I made a new acquaintance, who I will call Phil, at a Washington eatery. He served our nation during time of war, and we agreed on many issues.

He explained that he is Catholic and recently began to understand the importance of devotion to the Blessed Mother. We then had a very interesting discussion on Our Lady, and the misconceptions people have about her role as intercessor and related topics.

Suddenly Phil did something odd. During a serious conversation about religion, he let out a big belly laugh. Something I said reminded him of a new TV sitcom he loves called Lucifer. I had heard about this program before. (Yet one more reason I’m glad I don’t own a television.) I was struck by how Phil found humor in a show portraying the Prince of Darkness.

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Humor as a Psychological Weapon

For some time, I have been convinced that humor can be a useful tool to change people’s opinions about serious cultural issues, almost imperceptibly. The moment people laugh at things they should abhor, they soon end up accepting that which they should reject.

The use of humor can be seen in the long process which preceded the passage of homosexual “marriage” in America. Long before Obergefell v. Hodges, sodomy had been normalized by the TV programs that caused people to laugh at situations of unnatural vice. The result is a dampening of their natural aversion to the sin of sodomy. TV sitcoms piped into American living rooms played had an enormous role in this process. The first time a homosexual character appeared in a comedy sitcom was the 1973 show, The Corner Bar.

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Since then, Google data reports over 170 such programs with an LGBT character to amuse viewers. In the field of “trans” characters, some will be familiar with the Klinger character in the sitcom MASH (1972) who dressed in drag as a means of being discharged from the Army for mental health reasons. Audiences laughed as he pranced around injured warriors who bled for their country in a dress and high heels. At that time, many viewers might still have had enough common sense to know that a man in the Army who dresses like a woman is an absurdity. Another example with a drag storyline was the 1993 movie premier of Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams dressed as an overweight nanny.

There has been a slew of other sitcoms with LGBT characters such as Will and Grace (1998), Two and a Half Men (2003) and Murphy Brown (2018), to name a few.

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Google’s list of movies with such content is immense. Readers might be surprised to know that one of the first motion pictures with a transsexual theme was three years before Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal. Why the Mother of God asked for an amendment of life is understandable when knowing the storyline of this 1914 silent movie, A Florida Enchantment. It is about a young woman who discovers a seed that can make women act like men and men act like women. The protagonist, Lillian Travers, decides to take one. She then slips one to her maid and another to her fiancé.

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Actual transgender characters made a debut in 1977 with the comedy Desperate Living when a character wins the Maryland lottery and uses the money to get a sex change operation.

The common denominator of all these TV shows and movies is their ability to get the viewer to laugh at that which is grossly offensive to our Creator. They also helped neutralize viewers on issues, which they might have otherwise militantly opposed.

Sophie Quirk, author of Why Stand-Up Matters, explained the political and social impact of how audiences of stand-up comedy allow themselves to be manipulated. She further states that “joking is a way of bonding” and that laughing together at issues, which in a broader context are marginal, is a way of affirming them. “I think comedy can be a way of passing on nasty ideas.”1

How many people who laughed their way through the movies and sitcoms of the twentieth century imagined that one day drag queens would be welcomed in public libraries across America to read pro-LGBT stories to innocent children?

Would anyone in 1914, who laughed at A Florida Enchantment, ever imagine that the progressive perversion in entertainment would reach the point of this year’s release of Rocketman? In this movie about the life of Elton John, the homosexual act was viewed by theatergoers for the first time ever.

…And to think it all began with a laugh.

Taking a Principled not a Personal Stand

As practicing Catholics, we are filled with compassion and pray for those who struggle against violent temptation to sin, be it toward homosexual sin or otherwise.

We are conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weaknesses and strive to overcome them and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride, and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. However, we pray for them too.

According to the expression attributed to Saint Augustine, we “hate the sin but love the sinner.” And to love the sinner, as the same Doctor of the Church explains, is to wish for him the best we can possibly desire for ourselves, namely, “that he may love God with a perfect affection.” (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, No. 49, www.newadvent.org/fathers/1401.htm)

What Will the World Be Like When We All Stop Laughing?

This line of reasoning which began with my shock at Phil’s appreciation for the humor in the Lucifer sitcom was not intended to equate Satanism with sodomy. Instead, it was to share a simple observation on the care we should take with what we watch and more importantly, what we laugh at. These observations also were not meant to imply that those who watch Lucifer will end up making a pact with the devil or that those who watch Mrs. Doubtfire will question their true sex.

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Rather they are meant to point out a subtle mechanism that contributed to the world we have today and the widespread indifference to objective sin. Indeed, the question we need to ask ourselves is, “What will the world be when we all stop laughing?”


  1. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160829-how-laughter-makes-us-better-people

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