Humor and Flippancy

Two and a Half Men is a very well written, well-acted, well-produced show.  It’s clever and witty and at all the right times the in studio audience lets us know when to laugh.

Also, I don’t watch it.

I’ve seen enough episodes here and there to appreciate how good it is, but despite it’s merits I’ve lost my taste for flippancy.  As with many shows, it’s flippant about sex, though there are other shows that might be so about religion or any number of other things that people historically have taken, and ought to take, seriously.  And being such a well written show makes that fact all the more dangerous.  Which brings me to a good thought about humor from C.S. Lewis:

…[flippancy] is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against [God] that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy. It deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it.  ~The Screwtape Letters

At this point in my life, flippancy in entertainment wears me down.   But maybe I’m the only one who feels that way.


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About Keith

Christian, Conservative, Husband, Father, Writer.

2 responses to “Humor and Flippancy”

  1. William O'Flaherty says :

    The passage you quote from C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite from The Screwtape Letters.

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