Several years ago, irreverent Maddox, of “The Best Page in the Universe,” created a guide on “How to become an obnoxious internet cam whore in five easy steps” (rated R). It is an oldie but goodie in internet pop culture.
One of the things that make Maddox, The Onion, South Park, and pretty much all humor funny is that they reveal to us something familiar in an unfamiliar way. In their own sometimes low brow and vulgar way, they apply the power of mind and of analysis on phenomena and thereby expose something that both surprises us and reminds us of what we already knew.
By nature, we seek to know, and we delight in coming to knowledge. In art, the mind delights in recognizing meaning in form; we appreciate painting more, for instance, when it engages our reservoir of knowledge. In mathematics, the mind delights in seeing the relations involved in number. In humor, the mind delights in discovering something latently but not consciously known. We laugh at that which is surprising and at that which is absurd, but I suspect that we laugh the hardest at being surprised by the absurd revealed in our daily life. Such humor is a comic three-fer.
So, I find Maddox’s take on cam whores hilarious because his post succeeds in all three ways. It is both surprising and absurd, and it presents the phenomenon of cam whoredom with insightful mockery. The old cliché is correct; it is funny because it is true.
“I am calamity.” Excellent!
I forgot to mention that we also take pleasure in thinking ourselves superior to fools. This is a special comedic relish for arrogant bastards, and Maddox clearly appreciates indulging in this sort of humor. I admit that it is delicious to laugh at some people; my pride convinces me that they deserve the derision.