Laughter as Nutrition | Jeff Schweitzer

August 13, 2014 5:18 PM

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Humor is an essential part of the human experience. We tend to think of comedy as frivolous, a side show to the miseries of hunger, disease, and poverty that visit the vast majority of the global population. In the face of humanity's enduring travails, humor is often seen as a prerogative of the privileged. But that is not quite right; humor can ease even the greatest suffering; without the ability to laugh, in the face of tragedy and depravation, our human experience would be terribly diminished. What often strikes me when we see the aftermath of war, or scenes of desperate hunger, are the sounds of children laughing and playing in the rubble and devastation. Humor is embedded in our DNA.

We are reminded of the important role of comedy in our lives when a titan of that genre dies unexpectedly. Robin Williams's suicide hit hard because he was our national court jester. That term is often used pejoratively to dismiss someone as buffoonish or unworthy of serious attention; but that too ...

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