Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On the Paris Shootings.

I don't often post about tragedies because statements like "My thoughts are with ______" or "Pray for _____" just feel empty and hollow to me. It also seems that sometimes when people post social updates about tragic events they are... really trying to make that tragedy about themselves. Like "look how sympathetic I am! Love me for my sympathy."

I sound like I'm being really harsh towards people who post stuff like this, and I'm not. If that's what you need to make sense of an often confusing world, then please post away. What I'm saying is this is why I don't post stuff like that. This is how I feel.

But the Paris shootings, as physically far away as they are, hit close to home because the shooters killed satirists. As someone who thinks of humor as a tool for problem-solving, and telling deep, sometimes painful truths in a way that makes sense to regular people, I am truly, deeply saddened. And I feel like I should say SOMETHING.

Have you ever heard the phrase "When all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail?" It's a statement explaining why violence happens and condemning that violence. Many people all over the world are raised to believe that problems can only be solved with fists or guns. They are incapable of imagining a world where problems can be solved in any way that doesn't involve injury or death. Yet in the end, not every problem is a "nail." Most problems are not "nails." The actions of the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo solve nothing and will only perpetuate more violence. The only thing violence does is perpetuate itself, making the world worse for every single person who lives on it.

Humor is another tool, like I said. Music is another tool. Diplomacy is another tool. Economics are another tool. There are so many better ways of viewing the world than through a lens of fear and hatred. There are so many better tools to solve problems than violence. When we equip ourselves with these tools we enable a more peaceful, nuanced understanding of the world that makes life better for everyone.

So I'm angry. And I'm sad. I'm sick of reading about violent, unnecessary deaths.

But here's how I'm going to deal with it:

I'm going to make jokes. I'm going to write satire. I'm going to punch up. I'm going to be funny. And I hope that in a very small way I can leave the world just a little bit better than I found it.

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