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What is funny, exactly?

I've spent a little time delving into the "science of funny." What makes something funny, and why is it different for different people? Why is it that seemingly un-funny things can be funny in certain situations? For example: A big fat man in an inflatable tube wearing Hawaiian shorts, goggles, and flippers. Not really that funny at the beach. But walking into the Metropolitain Opera House? Pretty funny!!! The simplistic pseudo-scientific analysis of what makes things funny seems to indicate psychological incongruity, in other words, things that just don't seem to fit our paradigm of reality. Drag queens/kings have historically been the subject of humor, even since Shakespearean times. Take a filthy, sweaty taxi driver and dress him in some high heels and a pencil skirt and send him into Bloomingdale's to buy a new purse, and it's high comedy. For the same reason, a beautiful, feminine woman who enters a club in in a slinky dress, but then walks to the bar, orders a whisky, and begins smoking a cigar while back slapping a couple of monkey suits at the bar is entertaining, not to mention threatening. It's just not supposed to happen that way. Two things just don't seem to fit together, and the brain perceives it as hilarious. I like to think of humor as a tickling session for the brain.

But good humor draws upon the dark, horrible, and macabre. This is the reason why "springtime for Hitler in Germany" from the musical The Producers is so horrifically funny, and from my own experience, it was much funnier for my 82 year old grandmother, who actually lived through WWII, than it was for myself. Certain types of humor may be generationally and culturally influenced. For instance, I see that there was much more of a predilection for slapstick and burlesque style humor in the early part of the century (Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis), which later gave way to a more intellectual brand of humor (Woody Allen,) and later gave way to more of an appreciation for ironic humor and sarcasm (Jerry Sinefeld)  and that special brand of Gen Y, punk rock, flippant and irreverent humor.

I have a different theory about what makes things funny, and it's a little more complex than the simplistic version offered during a show about humor on NPR. What is funny to one person or another involves a complex interplay between cultural, biological traits and personal experience. Just as there seems to be a biological basis for certain types of phobias, there may indeed be a biological basis for certain types of humor, and it is most certainly culturally influenced. Humor is inherently mean spirited, since it more often than not preys upon deep seated insecurities and vulnerabilities.  Lucille Ball is constantly finding herself in terrible predicaments, and we delight in each episode in which she sunburns and is forced into tweed suits for fashion shows, and when she gets pelted with grapes at a winery in Italy and turns entirely purple we find this to be vraiment drole. Let's face it, most people like to think of themselves as loving and compassionate, but when it really comes down to it, they're natural sadistic fucks who delight at the chance to enjoy fun at someone else's expense. 

The best humorists have a talent for understanding psychology and manipulating others, and it is even possible to use what I like to call "reverse-reverse psychology," which is basically saying what you really mean, and making a joke out of it so people don't take it seriously, but meanwhile leaving them to wonder how much stake you really take in that joke (George Carlin.) Humor is necessarily a punk on your audience, in the same way that those sexy birthday cards with promises of naked babes inside only end up proffering an inapropos insult. Humor is often necessarily offensive, and this is why comedians often find themselves "sitting at the children's table" at official events (Fran Liebowitz) and you can be fired for making the right comment at the wrong time (Gilbert Gottfried.) Try as one might, it is impossible to be funny and be entirely PC, because the fact of the matter is, someone's shortcomings are always a joke to someone, whether it be dumb blondes, cheap Jews, or low class rednecks. Hated groups are often the butts of the jokes, whether they have been blacks in the segregated south, Jews in Hitler's Germany, or the hard-ass right in libero-nazi territory. True, humor draws from our most unsavory and barbaric emotions, mainly hate, violent impulses, and rank sexuality, but even in spite of the fact that most people like to think of themselves as socially responsible humanists, no one wants PC humor.  It's like watching the censored version of the South Park dirty sex tape episode and wondering why it wasn't as funny as the first time you saw it.  One of the moms at my kids preschool mentioned to me that cookie monster no longer eats cookies on Sesame Street.  'Tis a sad, sad day when the morality police can prevent the enjoyment of a simple pleasure on a once wacky and playful children's television program.

Humorists always sit at the children's table -Woody Allen

NPR story on humor
Huffington Post- Brainy Comedians

Ha!!!You laughed you sick perv!!! 
(You know it's funny)


New photos from Anthelian Shoot

Photographer Anthelian did a community photo shoot at the Iron Bell Academy. Here are some of the Images from the shoot.

Words of Genius, Compiled for the Consumption of the Masses

Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. -Abraham Lincoln

Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities. -Oscar Wilde 
When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it. -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Great intellects are skeptical. -Friedrich Nietzche 

Genius must be born, and never can be taught.

-John Dryden

When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.  -Jonathan Swift

Talent works, genius creates.  -Robert A Schumann

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.  -Oscar Wilde

Genius always finds itself a century too early.  
 -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or Nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected. -Henry David Thoreau 

The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.  -Edgar Allan Poe

Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active.  -Leonardo da Vinci 

Genius goes around the world in its youth incessantly apologizing for having large feet. What wonder that later in life it should be inclined to raise those feet too swiftly to fools and bores.   -F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.   -Arthur Schopenhauer

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.   -Arthur Conan Doyle

In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous.   -Robert Green Ingersoll 

Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.  -Albert Einstein

He who seldom speaks, but with one calm well timed word can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius or a hero.  -Johann Kaspar Lavater

Talent may in time be forgiven, but genius, never.  
-Lord Byron

Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others.  -Mark Twain

Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form the headless monster, a great, brutish idiot that goes where prodded.   -Charlie Chaplin

The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.  
 -John Stuart Mill 

There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling.   -Victor Hugo 

Geniuses and supergeniuses always make their own rules about sex as on everything else; they do not accept the monkey customs of their lessers.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way. -Charles Bukowski 

Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe.
-Benjamin Disraeli

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do -Apple Commercial
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Musings on Jealousy

Aside from my innate alpha-ness compared to other females, there is probably one more reason that some of my closest friends in my lifetime have been men, and that is jealousy and backbiting on the part of other girls. Even if things start out okay, other women are bound to be intimidated by me eventually, for myriad reasons, including my intellectual superiority, my incredible physique which I maintain without dieting (fast metabolism), and my refusal to play the game. In fact, many men are intimidated by my presence and talents, firstly, because they want to cling to their deep seated and false beliefs of male superiority, and secondly, because I fuck their girlfriends better than they do.

I've been told that I have an aura of un-approachability; perhaps that is true, and my aloof demeanor comes across as arrogance. I've found that most of the time, since other women are basically pre-ordained to be threatened by me, that attempting to be nice isn't really worth the effort. When backbiting occurs, the vicious words, efforts to counter-intmidate me and bully me, are simply transparent attempts to deal with their own subconscious jealousy.  My apparent lack of concern elicits yet stronger fervor of passion. When I enter a room, all attention is directed towards me. I hear nervous twittering. What would normally be a friendly exchange at my kickboxing gym, poker tournaments, or a scrabble club, becomes a chance for one-up-man-ship. A normal mistake, such as dropping your keys or forgetting an appointment becomes the rare moment for a jab or a dig.

I don't feel the need to turn on the charm, although I'm extremely skilled at it when I choose to be. I've decided that I enjoy letting them marinate in their own insecurities and jealousies, and that the negative attention is yet further proof of my exceptionalness. I do not need to conform to mediocrity, nor will I kowtow to the mediocre in order to alleviate their sense of inferiority and make them feel comfortable. I can allow others to kiss my ass, and it's the most delightful feeling in the world.

Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.
Fulton J. Sheen

If you are great, be proud.  If you are not great, learn humility.

In China they say, 'The thinner the chopsticks, the higher the social status.' Of course, I got the thinnest I could find.....that's why people hate me.  -Martha Stewart

Psychiatry doesn't help when the problem is society
-Lady G

Democratic Parenting

I decided that I was willing to try a new approach, bending my usual authoritative ways and try "enlightened parenting." After all, children are just small versions of adults, with their own ideas and tastes, so I decided that we would decide things based on votes--majority rule.  For breakfast, I decided I wanted to feed my kids oatmeal, but the children outvoted me, two to one, to have rainbow fluff corn. Begrudgingly, I relented, remembering that I had decided to abide by democratic principles, and although I secretly grumbled about the insulin spike they were subjecting their bodies to so early in the morning, I decided to let it go and get them dressed. Given that it was raining, I decided to dress my daughter in a long sleeved cotton dress with leggings and rainboots, but the children outvoted me, two to one, to wear swimming trunks and sandals, and their favorite pj tops.  I packed them lunches of apples, salted nuts, and cheese sanwiches, but once again, it was a shut out when the children voted for pancakes with syrup, snickers bars, and fruit jellies.

When I picked them up from school, I decided that most likely, the children should have gotten in touch with their issues of control, and perhaps felt a little more comfortable, maybe even enough to try a healthy dinner.  However, the children overruled my suggestion for lemon marinated fish and vegetable pilaf, and instead demanded potato chips, pretzels, and ice cream.  By this time I decided to boycott my obligation as household chef, given that my professional expertise, training, and authority as a parent was being constantly overridden.  The children responded by monopolizing the television, and voting to stay up late to play Little Big Planet and pass that pesky ice bunker level.  They were too tired to go to school the next day, and slept in until noon, and I had to cancel my meeting with my client.  A bit frustrating, true, but it's all for a good children will be the most empowered of any of their friends, and never have to struggle through early adulthood issues with control.  I've also discovered that I'll never have to cook another hot meal.  Bravo for enlightened parenting!

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What is a "real" Dominatrix?

After moving to New York City and working briefly in various houses of kink, I was horrified to discover how little training most of the "dommes" had. I had come from a place where all girls had to move through the ranks before becoming a dominant, in the process, learning various skills, including safety techniques, and BDSM etiquette. Most of the girls who were working were lifestyle, at least to some extent, and their work was their passion and their art. In contrast, in NYC I discovered fly by night, glorified strippers who had no concept of what was entailed in power play, and girls who had been working for two days who decided to engage in play piercing, and even *shudder* medical injections. I think there is a lot of confusion over what a "real" Dominatrix is, so I decided to put forth a few criteria, which will enable others to discern what a "real" Dominatrix is.

1.) Real Dommes are lifestyle. This means that they attend play parties, and usually have at least one slave/bottom of their own, that they play with regularly.

2.) Real Dommes attend training sessions, and are usually members of at least one BDSM organization, such as The Eulenspiegel Society(TES), Lesbian Sex Mafia (LSM), Masters and slaves Together (MAsT), or Domme/Sub Friends here in NYC, or Threshold or Lair De Sade in Los Angeles.

3.) Real Dommes understand what a psychological/emotional powerplay is, as well as how to make one, and are deeply in touch with their dominant and aggressive energy. Simply putting on a latex catsuit and Louis Vuitton boots does not entitle you to call yourself a Real Domme, although you may qualify as a "fashion top."

4.) Real Dommes are proficient with the use of all sorts of equipment, and will be familiar with most types of devices and tools used in sessions. This means that they can use them skillfully, hit their target with 95% accuracy (nobody's perfect) and do not cause permanent markings unless specifically intended, such as in branding.

5.) Lastly, if the Lady in question has taken the time to develop advanced skills, such as how to do piercing safely (using sterile needle technique), other types of medical play using sterile methods, how to use a singletail, or how to do suspension bondage (safely, using the appropriate knots and precautions), and if she happens to have some sort of medical background, this qualifies her as a Top Domme.

Of course, I am not so naive as to discount the fact that certainly, chemistry matters. Just as I would never want to take on a lifestyle sub unless I had chemistry with them, even if it was simply personality chemistry, I think that certainly, there must be a sexual charge of some sort between Domme and sub. I simply wonder if some of these poor schlubs know how they're taking their lives in their hands allowing some of these dumb bitches to perform surgical techniques on them. Then again, perhaps that's part of the appeal...

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