The laughter that pisses me off.

Posted in blog post on May 1st, 2011 by Merrill Markoe

I am usually kind of slow to anger. I weigh a lot of possible reactions before I give in.  I move chess pieces around. I argue pros and cons with myself.
So when something instantly enrages me, it gets my attention.  And I had that experience the other morning when I watched this video, which is entitled ‘Ha Ha Ha mantra’ .  Okay I know what my reaction to it is SUPPOSED to be. I’m supposed to look at this and think “She’s so smart. See how she is teaching everyone that laughter is the best medicine?”  But only a few seconds into watching  this video,  I started to get angry.  About half way through, I was so furious I had to turn it off.

So I sat down to analyze why. After all,  I read enraging things in the news many many times a day. Most of them I file under the heading of that Serenity prayer.

Why does Gita piss me off SO MUCH?

Because of the importance I place on humor and laughter and all the elements that go into both. They are among my very favorite things in the world.  When I watch this video, I feel like I am witnessing a power mad woman who is totally co-opting the real actual release that laughter brings, when it is naturally caused by reactions of astonishment, surprise, delight or shock to a wide variety of things…good, bad or just plain nuts… that happen in life . There are few things I hate more than orchestrated crowd reactions, except possibly any occasion involving forced spontaneity and/or people telling you what to feel. This goes triple for someone saying “Very good. Very good. YAY.” after you do as they ask.

So here is someone suggesting that the answer to life’s mind boggling insanity is not to actually look for ways to find things funny but instead… to pretend to laugh, mindlessly, when she cues you. Despite the fact that she has done nothing at all to change your point of view or earn your laughter.  She is also missing what I think is the main point: that an attitude that sees the absurdity and humor in real life situations, and therefore allows someone to view the bewildering things that are everywhere in a whole different way,  is where the answer may lie. Not in a  forced version of the same thing cued by a crowd manipulator trying to forge a personal brand for herself.  There is a famous  book, in which Norman Cousins repaired his health with laughter… But he did it by watching The Marx Brothers and other stuff he found funny. Not by pretending to laugh at his own name.

And this despite the fact that his name certainly set him up for plenty of easy laughs.

Though now that I think about it, if Ms. Gittelman conducted her classes in the front rows of open mic nights, maybe she could still do some good.  Except that would be giving bad comedians the wrong idea. And in that case no one wins.

Got it. How about this: For a sequel, she can branch out in to teaching groups of people how to fake orgasms?


9 Responses to “The laughter that pisses me off.”

  1. Robin says:

    Her earrings kind of say it all, don’t they?

  2. John says:

    “I’ll have what she’s having.”

    This is precisely the sort of person that I hate (strong word, I know. But I use it in lieu of…a weaker word). Then I think about how: essentially she is trying to help people. So then I start to hate myself for hating. But then I re-watch it and think “Nah…this makes me crazy.”

  3. Tina says:

    Well… this vid left me completely speechless. And if you’ve read anything I’ve posted here in the past, you’d know that’s pretty much impossible.

    • Tina says:

      I had to come back to this page to show a friend who couldn’t believe it until she actually saw it. After watching the video again, Merrill’s orgasm suggestion made perfect sense to me. Because then, the “Very good. Very good, YAY” thingy would come in real handy.

  4. Prevailing Wind says:

    I think her teeth may be as fake as her laugh.

  5. LillB says:

    That video makes me feel profoundly uneasy. Imagining Githahaha explaining this approach to Iman al-Obaidi only to have a room full of people cackling uproariously in response is so bizarre. Could be a scene right out of The Snake Pit. with the din of maniacal laughter in the background of the ‘asylum’ as Olivia DeHavilland starts to clutch at her hair. Don’t feel like laughing? Wrong! Fake it till you make it. How anything except a bad case of claustrophia happens in that room, I don’t know.

  6. Shira says:

    So, it turns out that laughing hyenas are just actually trying to heal you with laughter before they eat you. No doubt the best hyena scientists have found that, in addition to making you feel better, it also has a tenderizing effect.

  7. MJ says:

    Laughter Yoga? Ha,ha, ha… Holy smokes… How annoying. Is this vid from the Midwest or valley/country folk?

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