Laughing in the face of doom

In Andrew Horton’s piece, I found it interesting how he reveals that comedy is more about perspective, rather than a mere genre- it is about the certain attitude one assumes in life that allows him or her to perceive comedy almost anywhere. This reminds me of how I sometimes watch horror movies because I find them funnier than romantic comedies. This idea also reminds me of the movie, Life is Beautiful, in which the protagonist- for the sake of his son- extracts as much humor as he can out of a tremendously tragic situation (being taken to the concentration camp). However, I still question the sentiment that comedy is about perspective- as much as I like Horton’s view. Life is Beautiful is a movie… but is it realistic? Was it possible that there were Jews actually laughing in the face of doom? Is there a point at which comedy cannot possibly be invited? Well, here is an excerpt from an article (link below):

Herzog’s study also reveals that Jews were “painfully aware” of their impending reality, as evidenced by the following joke told by German Jews:

How many types of Jews are there? Two: optimists and pessimists. All the pessimists are in exile, and the optimists are in concentration camps.

Humor did not cease even within the concentration camp. One joke told by Jewish inmates goes something like this:

The Gestapo is about to shoot some Jews when the commanding officer walks up to one of them and growls, “You almost look Aryan, so I’ll give you a chance. I wear a glass eye, but it’s not easy to tell. If you can guess which eye it is, I’ll let you go.” Immediately, the Jew answered, “The left one!” “How did you know?” asks the Gestapo commander. “It looks so human.”


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