Just for Laughs

When Television Becomes Mythology

It is always better to be the subject of a joke, than the subject of nothing at all. If you're the subject of ridicule you're still the centre of attention, rule them in a way. If you don't know what I mean, look at Conan O'Brien. The man is one meme away from forming a fully fledged fight force.

This is why all press is good press, and why the satirist is the tyrant's best friend. Is it any coincidence that we marvel over the intimate eccentricities of great and awful rulers? Intimacy is influence. What better way to influence a people than to broadcast a caricature of one's humanity?

It's interesting how we can now use television as a bank of commonly held stories, archetypal characters and dilemmas. I mentioned Conan O'Brien. Conan O'Brien doesn't exist. Nobody knows Conan O'Brien; there are probably a couple of dozen people who really know him. The Conan O'Brien who has thousands of people harass a television network is a fiction, a shtick, an image.

It is weird how we can use catchphrases like blasphemies, talk about Don Draper like Gilgamesh. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing, perhaps in living and breathing a world of broadcast fiction, a strange rippled reflection of ourselves, we can once more inhabit a world of enchanted myth. Maybe this is the solution to the problem of reason, really really distracting myths.