Skip to main content

Gallows Humor

I was talking to a friend on gchat the other day and noticing my jokes, which normally trend towards subjects like debtor's prison and being flogged at the mast, were getting rather alarmingly gruesome (it was the point where I said something involving a slurpee made of human kidneys, I think). It was hard to avoid this kind of talk, even when actively trying to rein it in.

Gallows humor has a long and storied history, of course, for the simple reason that it's an easy way for a person to relieve psychological pressure and reassert some control over a situation, however hopeless. Lincoln was famous for his inappropriate stories and dark jokes—those that knew him said it was a critical stress-relief tactic.

Internally, the hyper-violent imagery I keep producing feels like something that needs to be vented. I've got a fairly bottomless well of bitterness and hatred, but normally it's not the artesian kind. But serious emotional turmoil can change that, and I think various subsystems are trying to vent the contents onto ridiculous nonsense rather than just take it out on whoever happens to be closest. (Of course, grim jokes by themselves can be obnoxious too, so maybe it's just a passive-aggressive way of taking it out on people.)

But in any case, if you're talking to me and I keep bring up death by nerve gas or the like, rest assured it's just an emotional blowoff valve.


  1. Hang in there, Ryan. V Day is hard even for folk in a normal every day world. Try to see the present enjoyable things like today's sunshine, smells of Spring in the air and birdsong in the trees. They're small things, but nice things and you are blessed to have all the faculties to enjoy them, if you choose to do so. Of course jokes are nice too. : ) B


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

Caffeine Is Not a Bioweapon

I got into a discussion with Yves Smith about caffeine here , and somehow my comment got eaten, so I'd like to finish it up here. She said about this Raw Story piece about a girl who allegedly died from drinking two Monster drinks in two days, "The FDA lapse here is terrible. Caffeine is extremely toxic. We just happen to get highly diluted doses in coffee and tea." I commented: Yves, your implication about caffeine is incorrect on several levels. Most Monster drinks have about 10 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, which is much less than even drip coffee (18 mg/oz) and WAY less than espresso (51 mg/oz). ( Source ) The whole idea of dilution is misguided in any case. The relevant measurement for caffeine intoxication (and most poisoning generally) is the total amount taken, not the concentration. Concentration is something to worry about, as it can make a lethal dose easier to take on, but the main concern there is pure caffeine pills, not energy drinks which are mostl