To see another side of Stephen Colbert, see Stephen Colbert Honoring his Mom: A Process Appreciation
The Guy Behind "The Fox"—The Summer's Funniest Music Video—Talks About Going Viral
—By Asawin Suebsaeng Thu Sep. 5, 2013 3:33 PM PDT
That's the music video for "The Fox," an infectious, wacky, and exuberantly funny new song by Norwegian entertainment duo Ylvis. It was posted to YouTube on Tuesday and is already a hit. Gawker hails it as the true "Song of the Summer," beating Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." BuzzFeed praises it as perhaps the greatest music video on the internet. The Week thinks it might be the "'Gangnam Style' of 2013." USA Today has weighed in, proclaiming it "the next viral music-video sensation."
The video (directed by Ole Martin Hafsmo) depicts a man in an orange fox costume who dances and belts out noises a fox might make, including "gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!" and "fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!" As you can tell, the lyrics (posted below) get creative and sort of insane with its answers.
For the vast majority of Americans, "The Fox" will be their introduction to Ylvis, a musical-comedy act inspired by artists such as The Lonely Island, Tenacious D, and Flight of the Conchords. But the duo (brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker) is an established act in Norway, where they have their own talk show. The music video was meant to promote the show's new season, but to the shock of its creators, it's taken on a life of its own....more
-- from Mother Jones
Spirituality and Humor
Let the word "spirituality" name a gladness in the heart which can last for a moment or a month or a lifetime. Whitehead calls it satisfaction or enjoyment.
Spirituality is like art and science and music. It is a generic tradition which is embodied in different historical contexts. It is not supernatural but rather natural, and beautifully so. And it is variegated, too. Just as art and science and music can be found in different cultures in different ways, so spirituality can be found in different cultures in different ways. Sometimes it is joined with religion and sometimes not.
Understood in this way spirituality is not always good. At least it can be distorted and expressed in violent ways. People can love people for spiritual reasons, and they can also kill people for such reasons. This is one reason that skepticism and doubt are so important. As forms of spirituality in their own right, skepticism and doubt offer a corrective to potential abuses of other forms of spirituality.
Roger Gottlieb on Spirituality
In our time one of the most articulate proponents of universal spirituality is Roger Gottlieb in Spirituality: What It Is and Why It Matters (Oxford University Press, 2012). Oxford University Press offers the following description, which can give you a feel for the book.
Spirituality is a unique account of spirituality from traditional religion to the present that reveals the common thread that joins Mahayana Buddhism and Hasidic Judaism, the Sufi Rumi and the Catholic St. Thomas a Kempis, people of all faiths and those who are "spiritual but not religious." Roger S. Gottlieb argues that spirituality is the simple but extraordinarily difficult attempt to face life's rigors and disappointments by becoming more mindful, accepting, grateful, compassionate, and lovingly connected to others. These virtues oppose both the social ego's attachment and arrogance, and any habitual, unreflective religiosity; and the path towards them can be shared equally by people inspired by belief in one God or many, the divinity of nature or the sacredness of life.
Spirituality examines the promises and perils of spiritual life as understood both within and outside of traditional faiths, explains the rise of the widespread spiritual detachment from institutional religion, and offers illuminating accounts of yoga, meditation, and prayer. There are also insightful studies of spirituality's relation to modern medicine, nature and the environmental crisis, and political activism.
Gottlieb is most interested in what he calls the spiritual life. For him the spiritual life is informed by what he calls spiritual virtues: mindfulness, acceptance, gratitude, compassion, and a sense of connection with others. His focus is on how spirituality entails a dropping away of the ego and a welling up of these virtues. He believes that spiritual disciplines such as yoga and meditation can help, and that communities of support and religious traditions can do so as well.
Laughter as a Form of Spirituality
In the diagram on the left you see sixteen forms of spiritual experience that have their own qualities and that can also be blended. Some of them are what Gottlieb would call spiritual virtues: kindness and a sense of interconnectedness, for example. Others are kinds of experience which, in certain circumstances, can nourish the virtues: appreciating local community and discovering new ideas, for example.
Each form of spirituality can be enjoyable in its own right; each form can help yield the kinds of spiritual virtues important to Gottlieb; and each can reveal something truthful about the universe and life on earth.
Some among the sixteen forms of spirituality force us to be honest about the tragic side of life, the terrors and brutalities. For example, see Spirituality and Screaming: A Theology of Sludge Metal. If we envision the heart of the universe -- God -- as a soul who shares in the sufferings of the world, then sometimes we must scream, too. Our screams are protests against injustices.
But humans cannot live by screaming alone. We need humor and playfulness, too. So the question emerges, what aspect of reality does humor touch?
For those of us in the process tradition, there is a side of reality which is playful and exploratory, creative and open-ended, light-hearted and sometimes just plain silly. Call it the silliness of God. Or if we are not sure what we think about God, just call it the silliness of the universe. The point is that the part of the universe and the divine Eros within it is exploratory and improvisational, forever trying out new things in an ongoing experiment that has no pre-defined end. It is just waiting to see what happens because it delights in surprise.
There is something simply delightful about sharing in the silliness. In the midst of laughter, the ego drops away. This does not mean that all laughter is good. Laughter can be mean-spirited and cruel, in which case, for me, it is out of sync with the love of God and a healthy sense of connectedness. It is laughter at the expense of the well-being of others. It has intensity but lacks harmony.
Still, it is true that moments of laughter, like moments of crying, entail a dropping away of the ego, and that such moments are occasions for sharing in the playful side of a silly universe. These moments emerge not from struggle. but from spontaneity. In a sense they are moments of grace: that is, moments in which we receive a free gift, not requested, that lightens the load of life, helping it become, at least for a moment, easy. It is the gift of surprise and novelty, the gift of being able to look at situations that may be difficult in alternative ways, some of which are humorous.
Make no mistake. The humor can have an edge. It can contain a protest against life's injustices or, for that matter, against the humorlessness of overly-ethical people who are so principled they can never relax and have fun. But there is something simply sacred in the fun itself. A participation in divine playfulness.
Krishna, the puckish god of Hinduism, is known for playfulness. And perhaps even Jesus knew a bit of it, too. He went to weddings and changed water into wine. It is he who said: "For my yoke is easy and my burden light."(Matthew 11:30) Sometimes the lightness comes through struggle, through true grit in the face of hardship. There are crosses to bear. But sometimes the lightness comes through silliness. Playfulness is too sacred a subject to be left to philosophers and theologians. Sometimes we need comedians. They help us laugh even when we are crying. There's a love in the silliness, as deep as the sea.
-- Jay McDaniel