Day: 2015.01.22

A Very Brief Art Lesson

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal', by Zach Weiner, 21 January 2015.

Sometimes the problem with pointing out that something isn’t funny is that such a statement simply does not suffice to convey what is actually happening. To wit, Zach Weiner offered up a variation on a classic theme, the guardian angel versus the devil attendant.

And it’s true. This is not as funny as the gag is usually intended. And while one might suggest that it is not as funny as Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal usually is, that might be erroneous.

SMBC, quite often, simply isn’t funny.

But that’s the point.

There’s a grim irony to the chuckle, sure, but the adjective―grim―is sort of the point.

And this is something that art can do.

Irony is not always funny.

But sometimes, the joke seems nearly sublime.

Click the bait. Read the strip. Really, it’s not funny if you’ve ever actually experienced that sort of here and now, or then and there. But it is also of tremendous comfort to many, who might not otherwise be getting the message that they’re not the only one who feels this way.

And that essential communication? Well, it is true that we expect “comics” to be funny. Which is why we laugh at morbid editorial cartoons, or even the punch line this time around.

But comics do, in fact, fall under the paradigm of art, and sometimes artistic communication―even in the humor sector―requires that the art be something other than hilarious.

It’s a good punch line, following a great setup; but it’s not necessarily funny.

Nor are we in any condition right now to expound on the concept of pathos.

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Weiner, Zach. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 21 January 2015.