Comical Interlude
We Can’t Fly With Broken Wings

We Can’t Fly With Broken Wings

I’ve always been a fan of the “extraterrestrial observer” rhetorical technique, so this comic seemed like a real smart-ass little concept… right up until I actually sat down and started coming up with observations for Holt to make. That kinda sucked the humour right out of there, eh? So yeah, sorry about the un-funny comic. Most of them won’t be like this – but this comic does actually provide a bit of foreshadowing about some of the themes I’ll be dealing with in the future, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Also, yes, Holt is obviously being a massive hypocrite here (which is perfectly in-character) – and he’s only half-right about the reason why humour exists, too. It has at least one other important function.

Anyway, since this was such a downer, here’s a Carl Sagan quote to help maintain the proper perspective:

“An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth—scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books—might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it, and through constant repetition many of them finally get it. What kind of society could we create if, instead, we drummed into them science and a sense of hope?”

Discussion (11)¬

  1. Lemel says:

    SPELLING ERROR in panel 6!

  2. JNgaio says:

    To be perfectly honest, I actually thought this was the funniest comic so far. I know, I know, he talks about a whole lot of depressing shit but I love their reactions and the final panel is gold.

    Tragedy and comedy make fine bedfellows. This was funny. Sorry!

    • Tim says:

      That was kind of the point, though – tragedy is literally the reason why humour exists in the first place. It’s a way of dealing with problems indirectly, so that you don’t become overwhelmed. But there is always a trade-off, because it allows you to coexist with these problems rather than solving them, which can lead to further problems when people would rather ignore the issues than face them directly.

      I mean… humour is complicated, even simple jokes actually involve a complex collision of lateral thoughts, and there are a variety of reason why you can find something funny. The main point I was trying to make here is that we shouldn’t lose sight of what humour actually is: a coping mechanism. It might work in the short term, but it eventually runs out. (Hence the Pagliacci joke reference in the alt-text.)

  3. JNgaio says:

    Yeah, I got the point. It kind of screams loud and clear in this comic.

    But in the actual comments you say “sorry for the un-funny comic”. Hence my comment :)

    • Tim says:

      Hmm, maybe we were having two separate conversations there. The thing is, after I wrote the initial draft of this comic, I specifically rewrote it so that it wasn’t intended to be funny. I selected topics which were (mostly) largely systemic and difficult to change on an individual level, so humour would be an attractive way of dealing with these problems, but I was actually trying to highlight the harmful effects of this approach, in these particular instances. So, I don’t know, I don’t want to dictate what is funny or anything, but you just seemed to be interpreting it rather differently than what I intended.

  4. JNgaio says:

    I only just noticed this response.

    I think sometime can be funny -and- have a message which comes through. In fact, the humor helps delivery the message and stops it from being just annoying preaching. While I was laughing, I was aware of the message which made me feel guilty which made me laugh more which made the message more poignant. Or, you know, something!

    • Tim says:

      Yeah, humour can be used to highlight problems, but it requires a different approach. For example, whilst rape jokes are never funny, this list of rape prevention tips is amusing because it flips things around and demonstrates where the real problem lies. That’s not the sort of humour I was using here – the jokes being made were at the expense of my better judgment, rather than the problems at hand (like how I made a crack about Twitter even though I use it). That’s why you felt guilty about laughing: because you knew it was wrong but you did it anyway.

      I could go on for ages about this (man, if only I had some kind of blog, am I right?) but basically, this type of humour doesn’t deliver a message at all – the only reason you perceive it that way is because you already know these things are problems and you are able to maintain that judgment despite laughing along with the jokes. There are far too many people who don’t have that view, and humour is exactly what allows them to maintain their apathy.

  5. JNgaio says:

    Er, sometime = something. Curse you, lack of an “edit” button!

  6. Stig Hemmer says:

    Carl Sagan rocked.

  7. Mouse5 says:

    I’m sorry, but by the end I was laughing very loudly.

    I filed this one under, “It shouldn’t be funny, but…it is.”