There is a popular comedian named Louis C.K. who has the typical routine of making people out for stupid. Much of comedy is made at the expense of others. This is nothing new. One of my favorites, Lewis Black, is notorious for these bits. I’ve been a fan ever since his IHOP sketch. Whenever I watch Louis, though, I have an intrusive thought: I want to slap his head like a buzzer from Family Feud. It’s not to be critical of his work, rather it’s the first thought that enters my head. If only he made this noise, when I did.
Louis has a routine about how everything’s amazing and no one’s happy. He goes on to talk about how we take everything for granted. Of course, everyone in the crowd claps like a seal at Sea World. Comedy often comes in half-truths, otherwise the comedian/comedienne couldn’t bend the everyday observation to suit his or her needs. That’s what it really boils down to: taking an ordinary observation and tilting it on its side for laughs.
Part of this tirade is about flying, and how we should all be hooting and hollering about “being in a chair in the sky.” Why, yes, Louis. We should all throw a party every time a flight happens. Never mind the less than great TSA treatment, or dwindling perks (i.e. paying $25 for the first piece of checked luggage), or the outrageous food prices. No, none of that’s important, as we’re supposed to be happy little zombies shuffling this way and that. Do what you’re told. Take what you’re given. Stay in line. Consume and obey.
In practical terms, just how long do we need to keep a super-enthusiastic-oh-my-God-this-is-tremendous attitude about technology? I can agree satellite communications are still fairly recent, but flight?! That’s generations old! What about fire? Should we get hung up over every advancement like a bunch of rubes? Well, GO-O-O-LLLY, that sure is a mighty fine improvement you got thar with your heat source and all. Come on now. Maybe I should stare longingly at my toilet and write it a poem to, you know, show it my utmost gratitude?
Do you really want to know why people aren’t happy, Louis, even with this “mind-blowing” technology? It’s because people can’t treat each other well, Louis. It has been that way for a long time. In my lifetime, I might be able to fly to Asia in a blink of an eye. If I’m not treated well there, why should I be happy about it? It’s the intangible things, Louis, that have a grip on our attitudes. Maybe we should work on that first and then complain about the lack of appreciation later?