Monday, April 2, 2007

Another Advocate for Ridicule

The byline said April 1, but I am inclined to believe that Greg Sandoval's "Newsmakers" interview with former pornography star Ron Jeremy (for CNET was the real thing (even with its headline "Ron Jeremy sticks it to tech sector"). If there has been any virtue in "reality television," it is the way in which it has made us more aware of the nature of reality: enduring over long stretches of time, repetitive, sustained boredom punctuated by occasional flashes of interest. That pretty much captures Jeremy's "voice" in the interview; if, if this was an April Fool's joke, it was a very good parody.

On the other hand, if it was real, then I am glad to report that one of those occasional flashes of interest provided a favorable reflection of one of my currently favorite attitudes, what I have called the virtue of "ridicule as an alternative to indignation." Much of Jeremy's interview involved repetitive bursts of indignation over our prevailing obsessions with technology, particularly Internet technology. However, if Jeremy did not appreciate how ineffective those repetitive bursts were, he may have found a better way with his new gig for There he will be performing satirical comedy skits, and his primary target will be the technology sector. In introducing the interview, Sandoval wrote, "Some of his funniest material comes when the 54-year-old tweaks the attention-starved crowd at YouTube." Well, it's about time! The more one learns about Jeremy, the more one appreciates how shameless he can be; and perhaps we need someone really shameless to give our technology obsession the ridicule it deserves!

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