Humor: A Christmas Tale


In the next few days I will (hopefully) be posting the presentation I did over humor in Professor Hobo. Once posted you can see how much you disagree with my own flimsy analysis. However, having given the presentation twice, it has had me thinking about the subject of humor. What makes something funny?

One technique in humor is to take something to its logical conclusion. You could call this the “slippery slope” approach, but that relies on exaggeration. For example, if we pardon all the illegal immigrants, then next thing you know we’ll have to pardon all the guys trying to marry their goats! Wait, I think I got two arguments confused there.

Anyway, back on topic, recall for a moment all the ads that run at Christmas of Santa doing last minute shopping in retail establishments. The setup is usually the same, for some reason Santa has to fill some gifts by stopping by his local Radio Shack. That’s the premise, but let’s take it to its logical conclusion. First, why Radio Shack? Of all the major retailers, why would Santa choose a place best known for being in the strip mall in the shady part of town for purchasing a remote controlled car? Also, what happened with his toy workshop? Were the elves slacking off, or did a particularly well-spirited year throw off his estimates? If the toy shop burned down, then surely Santa must know a solitary Radio Shack isn’t going to fill the needs of six billion people worldwide. If he’s going to hit them all, wouldn’t it have just been easier to call the distributor? I can’t figure if Santa is dumb or lazy, though this reeks of both.

What if that run-down strip mall by the old skating rink has finally been shuttered, then where does Santa turn? A quick fix might be gift cards from Applebee’s, but I’m not sure how exciting the thought of Fiesta Lime Chicken will be for little Billy come Christmas morning.

Why if the insurance settlements with the elves from the workshop fire cleared out Santa’s reserves? There’s always the free clinic, Santa. Who wants vacuum-sealed hypodermic needles? Who wants a free pass for a mammogram? Look, kids, Santa’s in a rough place right now and these MMR vaccinations will have to be your Pokemon this year. Look, it’s Squirty-eye!

Santa shouldn’t be schilling for products he wouldn’t actually buy. If he is actually buying from these places, I’m not so sure I want him visiting me this year.


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