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Read this post.  And remember - 90% of the world's population is just not that funny. 

Nor, for that matter, am I. Occasionally, I am lucky enough to come up with something that raises a vague chuckle, but it is rare and seldom. At the most, I hope for a slight turn of phrase, an inelegant segue, that makes my readers say "huh! That was kind of amusing". Mostly, I fail.

(Except with Bob, who is contractually obligated to laugh at every single one of my jokes.)

I am as guilty as anyone of LOLspeak, I find certain things just awesome with a topping of awesomesauce, and if there's a stupid annoying intarwebs thing that amuses me into little fits of giggles whenever I think about it, I will make you listen to variations of it until your ears bleed and your eyes follow suit in an overwhelming display of bodily unity.

The article, though funny (funnier than me, dammit), has an essential truth running through it: A funny/cool thing ceases to be funny/cool once more than 50% of the population has latched on to it. By my calculations, LOLspeak ceased to be funny about 18 months ago (not that that is stopping me - I can haz funneh nao, plz? kthxbai). Once someone terminally uncool has latched on to it, it's over.

Sadly, none of us realize that we're terminally uncool - we are all the cool kids, in our own little minds. There is no-one cooler than us - we make LOLcaptions! We do all the cool memes! We are up on all the hottest YouTube bits! We have even seen "Two Girls, One Cup".

(No, don't. It's coprophagia, emetophagia, and goes on too long. The girls seem happy, though, I'll give them that.)

But we're not. I'm not. You're not. We're all way behind the curve. The fact that I manage to make some of you laugh is a happenstance of hitting the right phrase every once in a while, but I haven't written anything funny in months (yes, I am slacking. The Attack Laurel Convocation will be happening at Pennsic, and I'll be funny then).  Everyone thinks they're cool when they latch on to something, because it is new for them, but the sad truth is that no matter how cool you think you are, someone who found the same thing six months ago is looking at you and going "wow, are you lame, or what?".  It is a recognized social phenomenon that If I think something is cool, it is totally mega-rad, but if you decide it's cool, too, I will now find whatever it is ineffably passe.

(ETA:  In case of possible confusion, what I'm talking about here is the making of jokes and trying to be the person making the funny.  If you are simply enjoying what others hath wrought, have at it.  Comedians need an audience, and an appreciative one is very nice.  Just don't try to be the comedian if all you can do is copy others.)

This phenomenon is to blame for bands being accused of "selling out" the instant they actually start to earn a real living, enabling them to continue producing music for their fans.  Humour is similar, but follows a sadder path, as the edgy coked-out comedian who was so funny twenty years ago is reduced to starring in excruciatingly unfunny Patch Adams-style movies.

To make it even more unfair, there are some damned funny people out there, but you can't become funny by copying what they do.  Originality is key to good humour; something that still needs to be learned by a whole crap-load of bloggers who think their road to fame and fortune is paved with "snark-the-blank" posts.  

(This is why I very seldom do a review of a movie or mini-series; Television Without Pity does it better a lot of the time.)

(Well, that, and I try not to watch too many movies that will rot my brain that bad.  Me likey functioning brain cells.)

That's the awful thing about humour; it works once. Any more than that, and it takes on all the charm and freshness of a three-week-old haddock in a teenager's gym sock. All over the 'web, bloggers and webbers are desperately trying for the next new humour thing - snark site?  Millions of 'em.  Parody site?  It had better be damn good.  Photoshops?  LOLs?  YouTube?  90% of them reek of stale fish-sock.  

The desire to be funny is in part driven by the desire to be the center of attention.  When wit doesn't work, pratfalls substitute (see:  99% of YouTube).  And when you're so unfunny that even getting smacked in the crotch by a baby panda on crack doesn't work, well, creating massive amounts of manufactured drama on your LJ will have to do.  

(This actually explains why everyone is such a fucking drama queen - if you can't be funny, then screaming at the top of your lungs about some imagined slight will get you the attention you so deeply crave.)

We can't help it. None of us can. It's awful. See what the internet has reduced us to, and weep salty, bitter tears of shame.

All your shame are belong to us. 


( 31 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
May. 22nd, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
You are so right.

Unfortunately. It's the end of civilisation as we know it. We're being reduced to illiterate grunting barbarians banging rocks together.

Oh the woes!!

May. 22nd, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC)
Barbarianz. 8)
(no subject) - hugh_mannity - May. 22nd, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - May. 22nd, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 22nd, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
coprophagia, emetophagia
My sense of humor may not be improving, but your posts are doing wonders for my vocab.
May. 22nd, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Re: coprophagia, emetophagia
*giggle* I'm not sure you really want to expand in that direction...
May. 22nd, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
darn it... does that mean that now that I've found a bunch of LOLcats icons I love, I'm totally uncool to use them? Ack! :P
May. 22nd, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC)
We're all uncool. Roll with it. 8)
(no subject) - spranglady - May. 22nd, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 22nd, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
I'm perfectly contented being behind the humor curve, and as such, totally uncool. Errr... unKEWL... umm... whatever.

It's not just humor. Keeping up with the latest pop culture in general is massively time consuming. As is being a technosexual (HA - there's a current buzzword!) and trying to keep up with the latest gadgetry, game platforms, etc.. I'm over 40 - I'll leave that to my kids, when they start to care about such.
May. 22nd, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
Your kids will care sooner than you think. My 3 year old can reprogram the TV remote and play all manner of computer games and my soon-to-be six year old is incessently chanting "I'm getting a DS for my birthday". They both think I'm terribly behind the power curve. It's sad, really.
(no subject) - chargirlgenius - May. 22nd, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jljonsn - May. 22nd, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sewloud - May. 22nd, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - May. 22nd, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 22nd, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
When uncool people find other uncool people, and make them laugh, they’re still uncool, but it at least feels good.

If you’re uncool, and you’re hanging out with cool people, you’ll just feel really uncool anyway.

So, might as well be queen of the geeks and enjoy yourself! :-D
May. 22nd, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Even among the geeks, there are layers of cool...

ETA: And I've clarified the post; enjoying the funny is fine, whenever you find it. Trying then to be the funny by copying someone else's funny is the lame part. Be original!

(Says the woman who does LOLcaptions constantly)


Edited at 2008-05-22 02:13 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - lorebubeck - May. 22nd, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 22nd, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC)
I got about half way through your post (after reading the article, thankyouverymuch) before falling victim to
"What happened to you China? You use to be cool."
"No, China still cool! You pay later! You pay later!"

But I've never denied I'm a geek. I just deny that I need look like one (at least out here in the RL. Of course, since I'm surrounded by computer programers all day, I am cool...well, in comparison...).

On no, youtube! Now to go watch the Harry Potter Puppet Pals a few million times again....::giggles::
May. 22nd, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Pulling out the commedia credentials, as limited as they are.

Humor is tricky. At most, anything will be funny for three times in the course of a post, a standup routine or a play/show.

When something is able to remain funny after the third time, the phenom is quickly copied and becomes the humorous fad. The originator must then continue to let the joke evolve and add new facets (eg: "Here's your sign" and "You might be Redneck")

But we are all funny in our own minds, and LOLspeak is easy to keep going because our cats continue to entertain us, especially when they have no intention of doing so.

Frankly my dear? I find your posts to be hilarious, but then I love dry wit. :)
May. 22nd, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks! and yes, you're right. When a thing grows, it's good, because it means it has reached the funny bone of a lot of people.

But most things aren't funny enough to bear the onslaught of people screaming with laughter at themselves as they yell "no soup for you!" over and over again.

And, try as I might, I simply can't sound as funny as Eddie Izzard when repeating his material. The same goes for other people. I think the apotheosis of this is Monty Python's Holy Grail; the sparrow routine is no. longer.funny.
(no subject) - semy_of_pearls - May. 22nd, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 22nd, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
Reminds me mostly of an article I once read where a linguist analyzed the conversation patterns of geeks at cons... there was a repeated pattern of self-worth through knowledge, and not wanting anyone in the room to miss that one knew something, as though people were keeping score-cards. "Doesn't get Dune reference. Mark five demerits for John."

Some of these jokes are references just become a way of identifying yourself as a member of the group - of excluding those who are not 'geek culture'.

or.. yeah. The LOLz comments to your post are better, aren't they?
May. 27th, 2008 09:57 am (UTC)
Often, as long as it's a one-liner, it can be good - but when one's acceptance in the group is predicated on reciting the entire bit about "help, help! I'm being opressed!", then I get eye-rolly. :)

May. 22nd, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
I do not get the lulz speech outside of a lulz caption.
Someone explain this to me!

I have a friend who I went to high school with and now her daughter and my daughter are best pals. She sends me emails every now and again and the entire email is written in lulz (I am sure there is another word for how she types but I do not know what it is) She uses 2 for to, 4 for for, symbols, abbreviations etc. She is not a 13 year old kid on a black berry (I have a 13 year old cousin who appears to have her cellphone surgically attached to her thumbs), she is a college educated 33 year old woman with 3 children. It probably takes more time to think about how to write your note like that than it would to just do it normally. I do not find it cute OR funny and typically have a time deciphering what she means.
May. 27th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
This may help explain some of it:


(Look! I can haz Wikipedia!)

Txt is different from LOLspeak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOLcats), but similarly annoying. This, of course, has not stopped me from picking it up. In certain situations, it works as a kind of spoken shorthand, but should only be done with others of a like mind, not to random people who are not obligated to laugh at one.
(no subject) - bantiarna - May. 27th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 23rd, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
sca and coolness
Dear Attack Laurel,

One of Silverwing's Laws provides a model for how coolness (and uncoolness) works in the SCA. "All you need is a cool mug. Without a cool mug, you are some slob drinking a beer. But put the beer in a cool mug, and you become cool. And everyone around you becomes cool, too (and will want a cool mug so they can be cool)." (abridged version)

It's interesting that authenticity is implied but not stated; it is also interesting that no time period is chosen. If coolness in the real world means staying ahead of that 50-percent mark, and not using something hackneyed to everyone else because it's new and fresh to you, then how does coolness work when a fresh new thing is in fact a 400-year-old pair of knitted garters? Would a Norse persona recognize the coolness of a "new" (i.e. old) Elizabethan thing, and vice versa?

Perhaps it runs along craft lines instead, like the fad for pewter pilgrim badges (which were meant to be cool back then, and which are now cool again). Perhaps it runs along personality lines, as when Attack Laurel makes a frog purse and suddenly everyone at Pennsic has one.

-- Johannes
May. 27th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
Re: sca and coolness
People copy my stuff - I can haz powerz?

I suppose I would define a "fresh new thing" as anything that is not already in the mainstream that suddenly everyone wants. Under that definition, "cool" can also be read as "fashionable"; fads for various objects run through re-enactment and costume communities just like anywhere else, and sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad.

In the case of humour, one a bunch of people have beaten the joke into the ground, it ceases to be funny. One tie-dyed kilt at one party where such things will be accepted is outrageous and funny; ten tie-dyed kilts being worn everywhere is simply annoying. :)
Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Quotation of Plato

There's a victory, and defeat; the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats which each man gains or sustains at the hands not of another, but of himself.
Quotation of Plato
( 31 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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