Ever since a certain “documentary” was released earlier this year, we’ve been engaged in an awful lot of discussion and debate about framing and public relations. We’ve argued over the best way to get our message out there, how to get more people to be interested in understanding science, whether or not we should try to silence or distance ourselves from our more vitriolic comrades, or at least make them play nice, whether or not we should dignify creationists’ claims by agreeing to debate them, among a myriad of other items.
Through all of this (mostly productive) conversation, the idea that has stuck with me is that humor is probably our best bet.
My husband and I were fortunate enough to score tickets to see Eddie Izzard the other night. It was the second of two sold out shows at one of our historic theatres, and I left with a sore stomach (from laughing) and a refreshed spirit (figuratively speaking). Izzard has always found comedy in pointing out the absurdities of religion, especially Christianity (you know, they worship Chris!) but in Stripped, it represented at least a quarter of the act. He put new spins on some old favorites (Noah’s ark, etc), and also added a couple of bits about young earth creationism and the ridiculousness of the natural world (as in if a god did design it, he must’ve been on crack). While hard core believers would definitely have been offended, the material was gentle enough (and so undeniably funny) that I think most average sort-of-believers would go with it, and maybe even begin to think about it.
I find it very hard to believe that all 4300 or so people who came to the two shows were non-believers. While people like Eddie Izzard and George Carlin and Ricky Gervais definitely draw in lots of skeptical types with their ideas on religion, they aren’t just preaching to the choir, because there will always be people drawn to their humor for other reasons, who might otherwise have not thought about how ridiculous some of their religious ideas are if viewed objectively.
Comedy is uniquely equipped to open people’s minds, and honestly, more laughter in the world is never a bad thing.
Here’s some Eddie to kick off your weekend. Enjoy.