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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Last #Laugh. By John von Daler

                        I sometimes sit quietly while everyone around me is #laughing. A good exercise, I suppose, in personal integrity: be true to your own beliefs and feelings.

                But laughter is such an unintellectual thing. It explodes from inside you when certain elements react together. I am not talking about the Huh, Huh, Huh of people who want to be heard by their companions, to make clear that even though the joke was in French, they got it easily. No, I mean the unhindered eruption of good humor that allies whole audiences into one organic, gasping, spewing roar.
                This happened once when I saw Carl Th. Dreyer's movie, "The Word" ("Ordet") in Princeton with my fellow students. In the movie a miracle takes place. A man wakes up from the dead in his own coffin. In the Christian universe this is an important point: if you do not believe in miracles, are you really a Christian? The men in the audience found the miracle to be so ridiculous that they responded with peals of bellowing laughter. I remained silent. Not that I believed in the miracle. But I do believe in the sacred right of a story to be told and understood within its own internal logic.
                The same thing happened at the end of Dr. Strangelove when the crazy cowboy rode his bomb to oblivion. The audience burst into laughter. Again I could not follow suit. This time I did the story no honors. I think I just hated the thought of that bomb exploding. As a matter of fact, the death of even just one person depresses me no end. Sorry, Kubrick.
                So the unhindered eruption sometimes gets hindered in me. That separates me from a group of which I have been a part. Always to laugh together with them would be the easy way out, but sometimes you just have to laugh alone.

My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is now available. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Click to buy Pieces HERE. Please feel free to write a short review of the book in your own language at or GoodReads. Thanks for your support!



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