To be able to laugh
Even if we know that the best way to deal with issues is to make fun of them, it is difficult to adapt this to our own lives.
Otherwise, I don’t think anybody would want to miss the opportunity for a hearty laugh whenever there is a collective environment of humor, as it happened during the Gezi resistance. From the list of champion tax-payers, which we scroll up and down as a pastime, we know comedian Cem Yılmaz is one of Turkey’s highest earners.
It is pleasing that a comedian is among the rich. Other rich people may be serving the community by creating jobs and through social projects.
However, a comedian is accumulating his fortune by making people laugh. Could there be a bigger service? I personally prefer it to double-wide highways.
Especially in such a grim country.
Actually, I have more respect for those who are able to laugh despite the disasters happening to them than the ones who make us laugh. If I could go back to childhood, if they were ask me what I would be when I grow up, I would answer, “A person who is able to laugh while mad with rage.”
In a panel the other day, I watched my academic colleague Cengiz Aktar draw an extremely pessimistic picture about very boring, but vital issues: the country’s agriculture politics. My surprise was not because of the darkness of what he explained, but that he was able to laugh and make fun of it. “How do you manage it?” I asked him, “How do you still maintain a humorous attitude, knowing all of this?”
His answer was this: “Look, I have lived in sub-Saharan Africa. Then, a kind of wisdom came to me. I recommend it. Such an experience could also be good for you.”
I seriously thought about it for a few days. Was it possible? Could I live in sub-Saharan Africa? I went through all of the details in my mind. Not sub-Saharan Africa, but maybe India. But then I could find myself surrounded by yogis, but I cannot even stand yoga for the moment.
Later on, indeed daily life and comforts prevailed and I closed the sub-Saharan Africa chapter by saying, “It could have been if I were in my 20s.”
Following this, I came across an article in The Guardian, titled, “Britain’s anger issues.” Look, now, that made me laugh; because I lived in that country for four years and I was not angry at one single thing. In a country where people even thank you while they are giving you the change, there has to be special effort exerted to get angry.
Well, it seems that, in time, they have also arced up. The writer wrote about the British getting angry at everything… For instance, a parliamentarian shared in social media that he wanted to punch a female journalist, and then the social media was up.
Or Change.org was running a petition against gender-stereotyped notices about toddlers’ shoes. The petitioner was “horrified” that girls’ shoes were described as stylish and boys’ shoes as strong. The writer asks “How strange to be here, in a world where the description of shoes for tiny children [who can’t read] elicits horror…”
It comes to this; as the author Michael Chabon put it: “Outrage was a moral position … it has become a way of life.
The reason I drifted from an academic’s speech on agricultural policies to sub-Saharan Africa, to Cem Yılmaz, to Britain’s anger issues has been the search to be able to laugh at things that draw me crazy…
Since now, to be angry at Burhan Kuzu, to have a medium shock against Şamil Tayyar’s words, to be dragged into crisis with public discourses have all become a monotype and does not serve any other purpose but drive one mad.
Since we all cannot go and settle in sub-Saharan Africa, we have to stay here and wait for that wisdom to conquer us, without losing our sensitivity.
Meanwhile, we will learn to laugh even if it comes by force. There seems to be no other way…