Monday, April 27, 2009

A Cautionary Word.

If you are not a funny person, you may well be seized by the notion, over the coming days, to make a wry reference to The Pig Pox.

You should refrain.

The thing about The Pig Pox is that there isn't that much humorous potential in it per se (it's no Sarah Palin, to be sure!); but because it's in the news, many feel that simply making tongue-in-cheek reference to it is an automatic means to becoming thought of as "funny".

This is to fall prey to the common Fallacy of Edginess. The Fallacy of Edginess causes one to presume that if two people are aware of the Pig Pox, and one party makes reference to the Pig Pox, then the other party is obliged to either laugh or be offended, either of which will make the initial party the Winner of the exchange.

The reason that the Fallacy of Edginess is so hard to combat is that telling a would-be Edgy person that they are not being funny will inevitably be misinterpreted. If you tell an aspiring Edgist, "that's not funny", he will merely presume a silent "man" at the end of your sentence, and pat himself on the back for having freaked out someone not as Edgy as himself1.

If someone in your vicinity attempts Edginess with a Pig Pox joke, the best thing you can do is perform a conspicuously half-hearted grin and say, with a note of resignation, "yeah". This will make clear to the budding iconoclast that he hasn't offended you, he's just failed to make you laugh. He will then take his Pig Pox references elsewhere or, if he is an accomplished Unfunny Edgy Person, refer to Bea Arthur in a sexual context.

1 The continued reference to this hypothetical person as masculine is not a mere matter of linguistic convenience.


Robyn said...

Stuff has gone to the trouble of collating the finest pig pox jokes.

My favourite is this one:

"Will there be a mass outbreak of Human/Avian Swine flu? When pigs fly."My reaction to this joke is not to laugh (passe!), but to be one of those people whose response to a joke is to say, "Oh, funny..."

Meanwhile, as you know, I am collecting the finest pop culture pig pox lolz. I intend on eventually publishing a book of them, with which the five remaining humans can entertain themselves.

Homage said...

I look forward to A Robyn's Garden Of Pig Pix Lolz taking pride of place on bog-side tables in the Smallest Rooms of the land, where it will provide many hours of consolation through the Pox-induced chronic squits.

Uninspired said...

Hey Tom,

I really wanted to express just how small of an issue I believe this swine flu is going to end up being.
Unlike the avian flu which remained as a single stabe virus which self mutated to cross species, the swine flu is actually a product of two separate recombination events. Now if you know anything about viruses you should be aware that they have a very conserved genetic code contained within a very tight protein coat. This means any recombination which makes a virus more virulent comes at the cost of genome stability. Viruses prefer to be stable, so over the next few weeks I personally believe the virus will rapidly lose its virulence factors leaving a rather harmless flu.
I also think the induced hysteria the virus has caused will do far more damage than the virus itself.

Sorry for the long boring comment, I just so badly wanted to express something that I have learnt in my four and a half years at uni.

Kind regards

Homage said...

Dear Simsty,

That was anything but boring! I knew your cleverness would come in handy to me sooner or later, that's why I keep you on the payroll.

someonefromsometime said...

what simst said sounded smart and i agree is will soon pass and future us' will be like damn we were dumb back then