On Humor as an Antidote for Pride

     “A common trait of dictators, revolutionaries, and ecclesiastical authoritarians alike is the refusal to laugh at themselves or permit others to laugh at them.”
     – Conrad Hyers, Holy Laughter

     “Humor is a proof of the capacity of the self to gain a vantage point form which it is able to look at itself. The sense of humor is thus a by-product of self-transcendence…This means that the ability to laugh at oneself is the prelude to the sense of contrition.”
     – Reinhold Niebuhr

    “Humor plays a large role in keeping those in power humble, self-aware, fallible, and accountable. The court fool could be an object of derision (downward humor). But the fool could also, via his lowly status, get away with commentaries about the king that no one else could make (upward humor).
     In short, a part of prophecy is about “speaking truth to power,” and because humor is intricately linked with power, it is often a great mechanism for this. By ridiculing or joking about those in power, we “bring them down a notch.” And many times this is very important to do. Apparently, the Crow nation thinks this is so important they have embedded a mechanism for “upward humor” into the very fabric of their society. Other cultures do a similar thing only more informally. The late night talk shows come to mind.”
     – Richard Beck, The Theology of Humor (Part 2)

    “Never make fun of someone unless he’s bigger or stronger than you—and then as you please.”
     – C.S. Lewis, from the mouth of King Lune of Archenland in The Horse and His Boy

     “A comic character is generally comic in proportion to his ignorance of himself.”
     – Henri Bergson

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