Humour and the Revolution

I think I already wrote about how the revolution would be snarky, but I want to expand on that a little.

The stereotype of the humourless radical is pretty well-known, if very overblown and mostly bullshit; pretty much anyone could improvise wildly and claim that humour is a bourgeois tool used to control the proletariat, or something. (That said, at some point they'd then get corrected by someone who'd read all of this.) Actually, quite a lot of radicals have a pretty decent sense of humour; that said, I've known a lot of people who were, essentially, too angry to understand sarcasm and would start fighting if I breathed on them.

That's not the greatest thing - not because I'm some kind of evil reactionary who wants to patronise people by telling them not to be angry, but for two reasons. Firstly, infighting that can be started just by waving your hand a little does not bode well for getting shit done. Secondly, humour is a very powerful tool.

Yep, I went there. I said it - because I believe it. Humour isn't just that thing you use to paper over the cracks in uncomfortable social situations or that thing you use to make oppression acceptable; good humour works because it highlights the pompous and the illogical and points out just how pompous, illogical and absurd it really is. Hence it can be a very powerful tool not just to wake people up but also to ruin the reputation of things formerly considered established.

Fortunately, some people see that humour is needed; unfortunately, humour doesn't mix well with propaganda. Someone should tell these guys that:
@RadicalComedian: What do you call a piece of shit conservative who uses patriotism to sell profitable wars? "An imperialist"
Admittedly, the people running this account and others like it are known for being a bit shite, and they shouldn't at all be taken as representative of the left (no, seriously, they shouldn't, they're complete idiots), but they do illustrate my point about being funny. There's no snark in that pathetic excuse for a joke, no real bite - only naked propaganda.

And frankly, I don't find naked propaganda a pretty sight.

That said, they're not the only culprits:
Banks don't thrive on the starvation of the innocent! They're just the world's most "charitable" supporters of mandatory mass "hunger strikes" against poverty!
This isn't even snarky. This is just very obvious, in-your-face bank hate that works better at reinforcing your own beliefs than at reaching out to other people. Now, reinforcing your beliefs can do a lot, but it probably can't make you laugh at things that aren't actually funny.

Fortunately, there are ways to get it right: Brass Eye, I think, got satire very, very right and unfortunately paid the price for it. It showed us our own moral failings and hypocrisy, and got us to laugh while doing it; I think if it had continued it could have done a lot to open people's eyes.

I don't think humour is the only possible way to bring about revolution; nor should it be used as the only way, since every method has its limitations. But I think it's an important and frequently overlooked way to get people to change their attitudes.