Laughter is very important to me. Simply put, it just makes me feel good. I can use laughter to heighten an already amazing experience, but I can also use it to find comfort during difficult times. Laughter is a powerful ally to help deal with the absurdity that constantly exists around you. Laughter presents clarity.
Jon Stewart’s “America: The Book” came to me at a very important time in life. I was 17 when I received it as a Christmas present in 2004. I was in my junior year of high school living in a small rural farming community in northern Kentucky. There, small town conservative values were everything.
Stewart’s “America” didn’t just serve as a liberal outlet for me. The book’s clever satire of both sides of the political spectrum was both funny and honest. This approach was powerful and encouraged me to think critically of all aspects of news and journalistic media. Reading this book also made me feel different. No one at my school would read something like this let alone actually watch Stewart’s show. It was like being in my own secret club. I got the book and the book got me.
Over a decade later, this book still leaves an impact. Social media has advanced exponentially since 2004 and has allowed for more opinions to travel and at a faster rate. Humanity has created the perfect venue where people can be irate about something and express their feelings instantaneously while reading the thing that is pissing them off. And all of this comes from our news media telling us what to be afraid of and where we should direct our outrage.
Life isn’t perfect and it never will be. It is a big looming monster that exists only for the sole purpose of crushing our dreams and leaving us to live in fear. However, that monster can only grow if you breathe life into it. The monster lives on fear. Laughter kills the monster. The media spews fear. Laugh at media.