Laughter on a Wednesday afternoon

Maybe I have a sick sense of humor, but I got a laugh out of this one: According to the UK’s Telegraph, a desperate man in Sweden called a suicide crisis hotline to get some help. The Lutheran priest on the other end fell asleep and began snoring while the poor guy was talking. Happily, the man got so angry that he lost the desire to kill himself.

It’s hard to believe, but this isn’t the first time this has happened, and the Church of Sweden has said it will now fire any priests who fall asleep on someone in crisis.

Black humor aside, there is an interesting psychological side to the story: Despair can sometimes be displaced (at least temporarily) by experiencing another strong emotion.

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Speaking of humor, apparently Tina Fey’s feminist fans aren’t finding her so funny anymore. According to Salon‘s Rebecca Traister, the women who used to think she was some kind of feminist comic icon are upset with her skits, characters, and comments. 

The most interesting part of Traister’s piece comes towards the end where she talks about the intersection of feminism and comedy. Where do the lines get drawn? Feminism is a broad term — I know — but it seems to me that secular, liberal feminism doesn’t have much of a sense of humor. Traister seems to agree:   

What was bad for the goose must necessarily be bad for the gander, and that’s not easy to swallow, especially for some geese who have spent a lot of time thinking about how goofing on women has historically been a means to oppress, degrade and objectify them. But if the playing field is to be even, there has to be some sort of give. Feminist comedy cannot always take as its targets the Jesse Jameses and the Richard Nixons of the world. Women also have to be able to mock — sometimes harshly, sometimes sexually, sometimes intellectually — the Sarah Palins and the Bombshell McGees, to laugh at our single selves, at our high-achieving selves, at our professional selves and our maternal and sexual and idealistic selves, or we will quickly re-earn a reputation for humorlessness. We can’t expect to escape all the mean jokes, or the mean girls. And we can’t lay the blame for the often ruthless nature of equal-opportunity mockery at the feet of a woman who never promised to do anything but entertain us.


  • Zoe Romanowsky

    Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in “Catholic Digest,” “Faith & Family,” “National Catholic Register,” “Our Sunday Visitor,” “Urbanite,” “Baltimore Eats,” and Zo

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