Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Blogger: John Konecsni on Catholic Humor

(Welcome this week to my friend and fellow Catholic Writers' Guild Member, John Konecsni.)

Of course, the first thing that everyone thinks about with comedy is that the Catholic Church is filled with drop-dead funny people.

No, it's not what I think either, but consider it a moment. Catholics are an exceptionally laid back group of Christians. We don't forbid drinking, or smoking, or any other fun activity banned by the health police. Catholics also enjoy – gasp – sex. Who knew? So, we're an exceptionally laid-back group of people. And, let's face it, if you can't laugh about the bureaucracy of the Vatican, what can you laugh about?

Not to mention: we'll let anybody in. Seriously, anybody. Oscar Wilde, who had been thrown in jail for being homosexual, converted on his deathbed; the Marquis of Queensbury, who had him thrown in jail, converted within the year.

And we have great writers – even if you want to dismiss Wilde. GK Chesterton, for example, covered the entire spectrum, from fiction to news articles and back again. His humor was more subtle, and I would say almost mischievous. He enjoyed his paradoxes almost as much as Gilbert and Sullivan, and one could always get a sense that he just enjoyed life in general.

If you want strange writing, for fun, you have also authors who are Catholic, like Vince Flynn, or John Ringo. Vince Flynn writes books about a CIA assassin, Mitch Rapp, a topic you wouldn't think covers “Catholic fiction;” however, most of the kills are justifiable under the Thomas Aquinas definition of Tyrannicide (ie: killing someone who really, really earned the privilege). In the case of Flynn, the humor is cynical, dark, and political.

For example, one politician (a botoxed, plastic surgeon's dream from San Francisco who is *not* Nancy Pelosi), when telling Mitch Rapp that “killing people is wrong!” Rapp simply takes out a sheet of paper, rattles off all the children who have been aborted since said politician upheld the latest “pro-choice” bill, and concludes, “At least the people I kill had it coming.”

Like I said, Catholic humor doesn't all have to be sweetness and light.

Take my book, It Was Only On Stun! (please, take it, only $9.54 at B& right now ), which is a murder mystery set at a science fiction convention. Typically, dead bodies are not usually that funny, unless you have taxidermist or coroner's humor. However, culture shock is hilarious (just take Crocodile Dundee), and, in the case of It Was Only On Stun! the hero is a security expert. He's not a science fiction fan as a rule, and here we are throwing him into the deep end of the SF universe, and he feels like he's been hurled through the looking glass.

Besides, where else can you collect people from all over the planet, and their own common language isn't English, and it isn't even Latin, but Klingon or Elvish? Or a bar fight with people in costume? And did I mention everybody has a sword?

At the end of the day, Catholic humor is much like the Catholic Church itself – we will take all comers. From the military humor of a John Ringo, to the political humor of a Vince Flynn, the lighthearted zombie humor of a Karina Fabian, or even simple culture shock like It Was Only On Stun!, we Catholics are a varied group of people. And, like the spokes on a wheel, we are all unique individuals, but we are all connected by one thing in the center of it all. And that is the Great Comedian, the source of all joy and laughter. And this we call God.

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