Thursday, December 22, 2005

We are not amused

Came across this interview of Woody Allen via a link from Uma, where the man obsesses about how he's not a serious enough film maker and how he wishes he was doing something more dramatic or tragic.

Now understand, I say this as someone who WORSHIPS Allen, has seen pretty much all his movies (except for a couple made for TV), relates insanely to his characters and in general thinks the man is one of the most profoundly funny people around: His serious movies suck. I mean, September had all the poetry and tension of a poem by Percy Gorringe, and if the video libraries in hell ever run out of copies of Ishtar, I'm sure Another Woman will be next on their list of selections to offer their clientele.

Bottomline: Allen is not Bergman, no matter how much he would like to be. And conversely, Bergman is not Allen, Smiles of a Summer Night notwithstanding. Allen couldn't have made The Silence any more than Bergman could have made Zelig. It's just division of labour - it makes sense.

Imagine what would have happened, for instance, if the great philosophers had decided that they'd rather be funny. Think of the disaster it would have been:

Socrates: "The only thing I know about being funny is that it's serious business. Get it? Serious business. Ha! Ha! But seriously, folks. What's that? You want me to what? Drink what? Oh wow! you're a tough crowd, aren't you? Ha! Ha! Very funny! What, you're serious? No, no, wait. Have I told you the one about Aesculapius's cock yet? Oh, damn!"

Plato: "Man walks into a bar and asks for a Bud Light. The bartender tells him they don't have any. The man says he'll take any other light beer. The bartender says all they have is Guinness. The man look at him and says, 'What? No Light? What are you - cavemen?"

Sartre: "What do you call a consciousness of the self that doesn't exist? A super model. What do you call the existence of a self that isn't conscious? Drunk."

Heraclitus: "Why did the duck cross the road? Because the river just wasn't the same any more."

Kant: "How do you get an elephant into a refrigerator? You reason it in. How do you get an elephant out of a refrigerator? You ask yourself if this joke would be any funnier if it was all the elephants in the world instead of just this one elephant. It wouldn't, so the elephant shouldn't be in the refrigerator in the first place."

Nietzsche: *Nudge-Nudge* *Wink-Wink* "God is Dead. Pass it on."

Hegel: "Knock! Knock! Who's there? Thesis. Thesis who? Not this is who, you moron, who is this?; Knock! Knock! Who's there? Antithesis. Antithesis who? Aunty this is Bunty from next door, I was wondering if Raju was in?; Knock! Knock! Who's there? Synthesis. Synthesis who? Syn this is the last of these stupid jokes I don't really need to be funny do I?"

Hobbes: "What do you get if you put a small monkey, a pair of scissors and your favourite trousers into a washing machine? Something bloody and brutish. And shorts."

Descartes: "So then I said to the waiter - 'What do you mean? This is Chinatown isn't it? Cogito ergo dim-sum."

Marx: "Then I said to her, I said: Honey, (mark this), Honey, you look beautiful just as you are. You don't need all this jewelry. You're in class for yourself as it is. Come away. You have nothing to lose. Except these chains."

See what I mean? NOT a happy thought.


Heh Heh said...

hmm.. philosophy for dummies. Not that dummies care about philosophy, but still..

Cheshire Cat said...

Not all imagining. A great philosopher who was also an excellent stand-up comic: Kierkegaard

And a contemporary philosopher who is lousy at philosophy but is a pretty good stand-up comic: Slavoj Zizek

Falstaff said...

heh heh: Ya, exactly. Think of it as chicken souls for your soup.

Cat: Kierkegaard? A comic? Really??!!

Next you'll be telling me Schopenhauer was a can-can dancer.

Cheshire Cat said...

Melancholics make the best comics. Woody-worshipper, you don't agree?