Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pornography on NPR


Well...if THAT title doesn't get this post a few extra clicks, I don't know human nature at all.

But it actually happened.



I was running some errands...well...driving around doing some errands on a recent Saturday, and had NPR playing on the radio. It was an interview with the outgoing (as in leaving his position, not as in gregarious and extroverted, though he kind of appeared to be both...but I digress) cartoon editor for The New Yorker, Bob Mankoff. And he used the word pornography, so there you have it...pornography on NPR.


But you're wondering, I hope, what the context was and why it was "important" enough for me to write about.

It was just one sentence, but it was all I could think about the rest of the afternoon:


"Jokes are the pornography of humor."

Truth is...Mr. Mankoff wasn't trying to make a profound point. In fact, the line was just kind of mumbled at the tail end of a longer thought, and the interviewer didn't respond to it at all. But for me? For me, it deepened my understanding, not only of what a sense of humor is, and its relationship to a go-for-the-guffaw joke, but also my understanding of pornography's relationship to sexual intimacy...how it cheapens and spoils the concept of romance, turning it into a commodity instead of a relationship.

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