“Look at the bright side,” I say to him. “When Roe v. Wade is overturned, you’ll be a hot piece of ass with your vasectomy and all.”
He cracks a smile. Chuckles. “You’re terrible,” he says.
“Maybe,” I say, “But you laughed.”
“I did indeed.”
It’s maybe not the best way to deal with the feeling that the world is ending any day now. Or could easily if we don’t get the Hell off the track we’re on. But it’s the one that comes easiest to me. Make a joke about it. The more inappropriate, the less sanctimonious, the better.
They did a study a while back about emotional contagion. Hell, they’ve done a lot of studies on emotional contagion — the tendency for emotions to spread among people. I’ve even written about some of that work occasionally on the weekend Psyched feature — for example, one that found that the emotional effects of rainy weather will spread among social networks to places where it’s sunny out, from friend to friend.
As I mention in that article, positive moods also spread. So that’s nice.
The problem is that the work has found that negative emotions are more contagious. And one emotion spreads faster than all of the others: Anger.
Oh crap. Not anger. Bad news since anger is a really neurochemically addictive emotion and carries a bunch of nasty side effects when felt in excess (which is easy to do because it’s incredibly neurochemically addictive and good at distorting cognitive self-stories to speciously convince us of its righteousness).
So the odds aren’t good for a person who is trying to make people laugh or feel good about their lives heading out into a larger arena where others are raging against one another. Whether I agree with any given crusader or not, I do note that they tackle the issues quite differently than I do.
As I’ve said before, I don’t know what kind of fighter I can be, but I’m here.
And there are some mornings when I wake up and read the news that I feel like I’m doing a boffo comedy act on the Titanic. Helping people learn to crochet during nuclear winter.