Monday, October 15, 2007

Talking About Christian Humor Blogging, Part 3

Today the blog welcomes Jeff Miller of The Curt Jester ("Punditry, Prayer, Parody, Polemics, and Puns from a Papist Perspective"). If you have hidden under a blogospheric rock, I can tell you that Jeff is a convert, long time Catholic mega-blogger, and absolute master of puns (See the picture at right? Jesus the Mathsiah Brings Division here) who will never be accused of being wishy-washy on anything. That scripture where God says "the lukewarm I will spit out of my mouth"? No problem, Jeff. Disclaimer: I probably owe any readership I have to Jeff for generously linking to me as I was starting up shop over a year ago. So, publicly, thank you! Now, without further ado, Jeff, you're on...(and my few comments are in red...)

What is the role of humor on your blog?

Strangely when I started my first blog over five years ago it was going to be a punditry blog and humor and parody just developed. Now I use it quite often since it is a good tool to make a point while having fun.

Why is "Christian Humor" not an oxymoron?

Because God gave us humor and the oxymoron would be Christianity without humor. Several martyrs are known for good laugh lines in the process of their martyrdom. [Jeff, I know the St Lawrence line, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side" as he was roast on a spit. Do you know others?]

Are you funny offline?

I pretty much take every opportunity to pun and to joke. I have broken up multiple serious meetings with a well placed question in a comic mode.

Are there "BIG POINTS" in your humor posts, or are you just goofing around?

I think my funnier stuff all have big points. Parody is best that way when it makes serious points in a humorous way that can actually make comprehension of the subject easier.

What makes something humorous, in your opinion?

It really depends on the type of humor. Parody is funny when it is really close to the truth. Most things become funny when there is some dichotomy where sometimes it can be a likeness in the subject matter or something quite at odds with what would be normal.

What kind of humor crosses the line in your blog, if any?

This is a really important question and something that as a Catholic humorist I always keep in mind. Not every idea I start out with do I finish and sometimes a couple ideas that I had finished I decided not to post. I try to keep my humor very broad and to be mostly focused on
ideas and not the individuals. I try to ridicule silly ideas without attacks on a person and try to keep the emphasis on the idea. I doubt if this is something I always achieve so this is something up to others to decide. I hardly have large negative replies to any of my posts (excepting trolls), but when I do I certainly take a look at what I did and in a couple of cases yanked the post.

What humorous post did you create and really like that just flopped?

Sometimes you just never know that will catch on. You might craft something as almost a throwaway post and have a large reaction. Other times something you are especially proud of receives little or no attention. Though in the blogging world sometimes it is hard to gage
reaction since you depend on comments to do this and few people comment. I have thought that some ideas had flopped only to find later that it had been linked to by other blogs.

One that flopped was "Self defense for bureaucrats" which I was quite
proud of.

Are there any humorists (written or on screen) you really like?

Groucho Marx, G.K. Chesterton, P.J. O'Rourke, Terry Pratchett [I have to say, I have never met Jeff in real life but this list captures his blog perfectly to me!]

Humor: evangelization, frivolity, or neither?

This is where the Catholic both/and comes into play. Humor is both for evangelization and frivolity.

How do you keep it up online when you don't feel funny?

Well, my blog is largely reactive to news so I can be serious when I feel serious and funny when I do feel funny. Though comic block is not something I often get.

Name one thing Jesus probably laughed about.

My conversion. Not only were there those in heaven rejoicing, I bet some were laughing their halos off. Though the old joke is if you want to make Jesus laugh, tell him your plans.

It was joyful laughing, I'm sure.
Thanks, Jeff. Coming Tuesday: It Came From Allen's Brain!


Jeff Miller said...

Here is another example of saintly gallows humor.

St. Thomas More when he approached the headsmen and demanded that the guillotine cut off his head but not clip his beard, his beard was innocent since it had grown during the time he was imprisoned.

j.preece said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

St. Thomas More...



phbrown said...

Maybe the point of the line was that More wanted to die of old age—the guillotine wasn't invented for another couple of centuries :-).


Jeff Miller said...


It was a headsman's axe.

Meredith said...

I seem to remember St. Ralph Sherwin laughing his head off when chains were put on his wrists... obviously, being a Catholic priest, he had to be handcuffed at all times - or he might use his magickal powers to raise a zombie army and attack Queen Elizabeth!!!! Or something! St. Margaret Clitheroe was accused of having a "merry devil" because she was so indecently cheerful about her impending death sentence. So that makes three mordant English martyrs. Think that's a coincidence? ^_^